Glue-On Without Glue: Part One

Submitted by EasyCare Product Specialist, Jordan Junkermann

I am sure each Easyboot user out there has endless stories, good and bad, about booting. Applying boots each time you go out to ride can be troublesome, especially if you have some of the tight-fitting boot styles such as the Easyboot Glove or Easyboot Epic. Many of us have just adapted to it, making it part of our saddling routine. Others go barefoot as much as possible and only use the boots on rare occasions. For those who want a longer hoof protection, gluing on products is a great option. We have a wide variety of EasyShoes to serve multiple hoof shapes and purposes as well as the Easyboot Glue-On and Love Child. However, if you don’t have access to a hoof care practitioner or if you don’t have experience with preparing the hoof for glue, using this method can be more hassle then temporarily booting. There are customers out there who have learned to modify our products to fulfill their specific needs. In this blog, I am going to talk about my experiences with modifying the Easyboot Glue-On using Mueller tape.

As the manufacturer, we prefer to stick to strict guidelines on how boots and shoes are used in order to get the best results. But as customers provide feed back on personal experiences, we are able to pass that information along. One of these modifications I have decided to try on my horses. I wanted to be able to say I have seen this method work successfully with my own eyes. Of course, this isn’t an EasyCare recommended modification but it is something that has been successful in a few cases with our customers and I have personally seen success up to this point.

In some instances, you want below the hair line contact you get out of a Glue-On product but you don’t want to actually glue it on. An example could be a two or three-day event, a barrel race, a trail ride, or an event that requires hoof protection below the hairline (dressage/jumping). The design will prevent any rubbing from occurring since it sits below the hair line. A boot would provide protection in this service but let’s just say you don’t want to use a boot in this situation.

If your horse’s hoof fits within the measurement of the Easyboot Glue-On you may want to give this experiment a shot. What you will need are a few items: two Easyboot Glue-On shells, Mueller tape, a hoof pick, and a mallet.

I started by cleaning out my horse’s hoof.

I then applied Mueller tape as shown in this Application of Mueller tape video.

This tape has been proven successful to create a suction with the Easyboot Glove which is the Glue-On with a Gaiter allowing it to become a boot.

Here I took the Glue-On shell and placed her toe into the shell and make sure to line it up straight. I pulled and wiggled the shell on as much as I could.

Next, I took the mallet and tapped the shell on at the toe and again on the sole to make sure the foot was seated squarely in the shell. I set the foot down to make sure the “V” was spread correctly and the boot looked snug.

With the colored shells in the pictures above you are able to see the process clearly. It turned out that those were a half size too small for Pistol at this point in her trimming cycle. There is clearly bulging at the sides of the shells. I did end up taking her out on the trail and I experienced no problems with the shells coming off. However, I ended up ordering the next half size up and have posted those pictures below. You can see a much more comfortable fit in the proper fitting shell. With those shells I applied them the night before the trail ride and didn’t worry about them coming off even once during my trail ride.

Although it is only February, it is already time for the barrel racing season to begin. Southern Colorado has had dry weather up to this point so it made it an easy choice for me to decide if I wanted to run in this first race. In the first full week in February there was still hardly any snow anywhere. This made conditioning and preparing my barrel horse Billie the week before more enjoyable. She is barefoot for the winter but she has been experiencing some tenderness. I had been keeping her in the Easyboot Clouds so that she could comfortably move around the paddock. I rode her the week prior barefoot in the pasture so she wouldn’t have to move out on hard ground. But I did want to make sure she had protection for the barrel race as the area outside the arena is all gravel.

The day of the race came and, luckily, my Easyboot Glue-On shells and Mueller tape arrived the day before. Before loading her up I applied the shells to her front feet with Mueller tape using the method described above. My original plan was to boot all four feet, but in all best laid plans not all follow through to completion. The size shells I was going to use on her hind feet ended up fitting better on her front feet. Sizing is definitely trial and error with this snug fitting boot. I ended up only booting the front feet. I loaded her up and away we went.

Both front feet.

Side view.

Frontal view. The above three pictures were taken by EasyCare Product Specialist, Devan Mills (iPhone 8).

Before getting on after tacking up I made sure to take a mallet to the toe area one more time for good measure. I walked and trotted her for a while to allow her to warm up slowly and in hopes of heating the foot up to allow for better traction between tape and boot before my run.

My run was a success. She felt like she had good traction in the arena and the Glue-Ons stayed on no problem! It was probably the smoothest run I have had on her, especially at the start of a season. It was a great start to the year! Don't be afraid to get creative and make modifications to make the boots work for you. We would love to hear your stories about how your boots are working for you, whether you try this method or another. You can click here to tell us your booting story!

Sister, the Mule, and her Boots.

Submitted by EasyCare Dealer and Hoof Care Practitioner, Eric Knapp.

A journey of 130 miles starts with the first step and a good pair of hoof boots. Each year I take a horseback journey, with a group of friends, from Central Illinois to a rodeo in Fort Madison, Iowa. The trek usually takes us about five and a half days to complete and includes crossing the Mississippi river. Needless to say, whatever animal I’m riding, takes a whole lot of steps from start to finish. For the past two years I’ve taken my wife’s mule, Sister. Yes, that’s the name she came with. You know what they say, “bad luck to change the name.”

I know that mules have gotten a bad wrap over the years about not being able to keep their boots on. I’ve never had any problems with mine staying put. In fact, this year I put her EasyCare Glue-On boots on a week before we left and they stayed on for about six weeks. You know what they say about cobbler’s kids not having shoes to wear? Well farrier’s horses are the last to be trimmed. I don’t typically leave them on that long, but I just didn’t have the time to remove them. When I did take them off, they were still on good and tight.

Being a mule and having a mule hoof, doesn’t mean that they can’t wear boots. Nor does it mean that those boots can’t be glued on and stay put. I really think the magic lies in the prep work. Whether you’re painting a car or painting glue on a mule’s foot, it all starts with the prep work. I believe in prep work so much so that I don’t use (or let my clients use) fly spray for 24 hours before I glue on a boot. The oils from that spray will run down onto the hoof and it won’t allow for a proper seal. I also need to have a clean, dry hoof. If an animal has been standing in mud and slop, that glue will not stick. But with a dry, clean, properly trimmed hoof even a mule can walk over 100 miles in an Easyboot Glue-On.

I rough up the hoof with my rasp and put a little Sikaflex in the bottom for a bit of cushion. I also run a line of Vettec glue around the outer edge for a good tight seal. I wouldn’t take that Iowa ride if I didn’t have a boot on my animal. The blacktop road is just too slick with a traditional metal shoe. Throw in some rainy days and it’s a recipe for disaster. The boots also keep road debris out of Sister’s feet. You would be amazed at what people will throw in a ditch and you don’t want to walk over that barefoot, no matter how hard the sole. Before you say it, I can hear what you’re thinking. “Well, sure. You only traveled on a flat road. You didn’t have any rugged terrain.” Got you covered.

We have also taken Sister to Shawnee National Park for several week long riding vacations. If you’ve never been to Shawnee, it’s one of the most scenic rides in the world. Sister has been there in both hot, humid summer weather and in brisk fall weather. Her boots do fine either way. She’s worn both the EasyCare Glove boots and the EasyCare Glue-On boots there. She’s also gone barefoot. She has good, strong feet and she does just fine on the rocks. Shawnee has very rugged, steep, rocky terrain. We were also there after several days of rain so it had some incredibly boggy areas. I was a little nervous about going through some of the bogs because I was afraid the animals could pull a muscle. But, in some spots, there was just no other way around. We had to go through and the boots did just fine. We took a couple of seven hour rides and several shorter ones while we were in Shawnee and we left with those glue on boots still in place. On one particular day, we were temporarily misplaced. Otherwise known as lost. We ended up walking in some non-horse areas that were nothing but large rocks and boulders. Through all of those twists and turns, she did just fine. Like I said, I don’t think Sister being a mule makes a difference with boots. The difference comes in the proper trim, fit, and prep work. If you don’t have that, don’t use boots because you aren’t giving them a fair shake. You’re just setting them up to fail.

But it’s not all about the boot. Sister walked a lot of miles through Shawnee and many other state parks barefoot. We have a paddock paradise at home and she does a lot of walking on small rocks, lime, and dirt. In addition to providing better digestion of her food, I think this really helps to toughen up her feet and get her physically conditioned. With proper nutrition, environment and trimming, I think nearly any horse can go barefoot. However not all horse hooves will have the same toughness and durability as a good ol’ mule hoof. So, I wouldn’t recommend going to Shawnee or anywhere else without carrying some “just in case” boots. I never leave home without a back-up pair of boots. I have a bag that ties on to my saddle that I use to store them in. EasyCare also has the Hoof Boot Stowaway that works well for carrying boots. You just never know what’s going to happen on a trail and you need to be responsible for your animal. Whether on the road or on a trail, Sister has walked all over Illinois and Iowa. She’s done it barefoot, in EasyCare Gloves and with EasyCare Glue-On boots. She’s never given us a misstep and I would love to ride that mule in her boots from Texas to Canada. For some reason, my wife doesn’t want to do that. I can’t imagine why. But if that day ever comes, I have no doubt that the mule and the boots will do just fine not matter what the terrain.  

Foreign Field Notes

Submitted by Christoph Schork of Global Endurance Training Center

Visiting new countries is always such a treat for me; meeting new people, new cultures and tasting local food never loses its fascination. Although my travels over the years have led me to several of the Scandinavian countries, I had not set foot in Norway til last November. Alright, November in Norway does not seem to be that inviting, knowing that the days in the northern latitudes are rather short. And skies are known to be mostly grey during these short days on top of it. 

But so be it. I was invited by Christina Bruhn to come and share some of my hoof knowledge with a group of Norwegian endurance riders, hoof care practitioners and equine professionals. The schedule was set to trim various hooves on day one, share my trimming thoughts and experience, and follow up on day two with a workshop on the proven and also newest hoof protections developed by EasyCare Inc. As luck had it, I actually arrived in Oslo on a blue bird day.

Brummundal with Lake Mjosa. Norway's largest lake.

For the following clinic days, though, late fall grey skies prevailed again. Well, not being tempted to take in the magnificent scenery hidden behind low level clouds and fog banks, we could all focus on the task what we all came for. About 20 of us gathered for indoor PowerPoint presentations which I had prepared for the event. During these indoor presentations, we looked at slides detailing the conformation of horses and the resulting hoof development because of it. We also spend a lot of time discussing the role of the caudal hoof on horses performance potential. Afterwards we all went to work in the barn, evaluating various cadaver hooves, followed by trimming. Each participant had opportunity for hands on work. 

Discussions regarding bar trimming rounded out the afternoon:

-How long should bars be left?

-How do the seasons and the substrates influence length and growth of the bars?

-Benefit and harm of long and short bars.

November daylight is waning around 4pm in the northern latitudes and temperatures are dropping by then as well, so we moved back to the warmer rooms inside to watch slides of Mongolian horse shoeing, which, I might add, is quite different from our 21st century hoof care in the West. You be the judge.

Comfortable at the fire, discussing horses, hooves and life.

The next day we started with an indoor presentation on EasyCare Inc. hoof boots and EasyShoes. Of particular interest was the new EasyShoe Flex. I did bring a few with me to show and discuss their advantages.

Riders in Norway are always concerned about snow, ice and muddy trails. So traction is of utmost importance for them. For icy roads and thin snow cover, the EasyCare Quick Studs work very well. 

Here, one of the Norwegian endurance riders discusses with me advantages and placement of the Quick Studs in the EasyShoe Performance N/G.

Practicing Quick Studs application is shown below.

For the real mud and deep snow conditions, the Norwegian riders prefer heavier armour. 

These heavy duty studs can get easily placed into the EasyCare Glue-Ons, Gloves or any other type of EasyCare hoof boots. 

Shown above are a pair of Easyboot Glue-Ons after we placed the snow and mud studs on during the workshop. These boots were then glued on some front hooves with Vettec Adhere and Sikaflex 227. 

I also demonstrated  the new EasyShoe Flex during the clinic. In a blog last June, The EasyShoe Flex in Action I elaborated on the benefits of the EasyShoe Flex. Garrett Ford also explained the EasyShoe Flex here in a blog last year. Again, I believe that the EasyShoe Flex will be a big and valuable addition to the line of EasyCare products.

Several of the Norwegian National Endurance Team riders joined the clinic.

When visiting Norway, one should take the opportunity to visit Lillehammer, if at all possible. Site of the 1994 Olympic Winter Games, Lillehammer has a special place in Norway. Arguably, these Games were one of the best in the history of the Olympic Games. Here the view from the top of the iconic Ski Jump in Lillehammer, with a great view of the town and Lake Mjosa. 

From Norway, my travels led me through England, where I had the opportunity to participate in a traditional English Fox Hunt.

Somewhat unusual outfit for an endurance rider!

From England my travels brought me to Austria and Germany and finally to the Elsass, nowadays a part of France. Here, Mireille Housencroft organized another Hoof Care Clinic for me, geared towards professional Hoof Care Providers and Farriers, as well as the interested equestrians of all disciplines from Switzerland, France and Germany.

Together in a group setting we trimmed, glued and nailed EasyCare Glue-Ons and EasyShoes. For gluing we used mainly Vettec Superfast and Adhere, with Vettec Equipak CS for packing. The whole palette of Vettec glues was introduced and practiced. Here again a big "thank you" to the Vettec Company for helping me setting up the clinics.

These yearly workshops and clinics help to spread the word about the superior EasyCare products throughout the world. I love doing these clinics. Meeting wonderful people and learning at the same time while helping horses and riders. More trips like that are planned for this coming year.

Christoph Schork

The Bootmeister

Global Endurance Training Center

Easyboot Original Equals Endless Possibilities!

For all of those who do their own barefoot trims, I have discovered that putting on Easyboot Originals have helped with making the trimming process much easier. I put a thin layer of sponge, add warm water and wait for an hour. This makes trimming the hoof like cutting through butter.

I am a 67 year old female with arthritic hands and using the Easyboot to presoak has made a challenging job easy to the extreme, even with my draft horses. I will also carry them with me on the trail, of course, as I always have, just in case of a sore foot.

I ordered the Easyboot Original size 5 for my Gypsy Vanners from the Bargain Bin. They look brand new. If you do your own trims, try this, you will be amazed!

Name: Karen
State: New Mexico
Equine Discipline: Other
Favorite Boot: Original Easyboot

The Most Amazing Journey of My Life and Now the Next Chapter

Submitted by Nancy Fredrick

I will be retiring from EasyCare as of December 31, 2017 with 16 years, 6 months and 6 days of the most incredible journey in this equine industry that one could ask for in life! I am blessed….for sure!!

My equine journey of love began when I was just a youngster. My best pals growing up in northern Wisconsin were farm kids that I went to school with. They had horses! Every year going to the county fair, my folks could park me with the ring ponies and they could go enjoy the fair with friends and family as they knew, "Nancy will not leave those ponies and we do not have to worry about her!" Saturday mornings, I would watch all the westerns on the TV. This was the mid 1950’s, so you could find me watching Gungmoke, The Roy Rogers Show, Fury, My Friend Flicka, Sky King, etc. Once again, my parents knew where I was and did not worry. I always told my mother, "I am going to go west and be involved with horses when I grow up”. So I did just that in 1972... on to Arizona in a car, not horseback or covered wagon like I would have totally enjoyed!

Life takes us all on various journey’s throughout our years and after many years of different career choices. My life long dream was to work for an equine business. Well, when you put your dreams out to the universe so many times, she answers back and connects you with something so great that you need to pinch yourself to make sure you are still awake!

In 2001, my good friend, Nina Knight, told me to check out a position opening at EasyCare Inc, the home of the Easyboot right here in Tucson. So I heard about our County Line Riders Club having a hoof boot presentation featuring Garrett Ford, owner of EasyCare and I knew I needed to go to this. After the presentation, I went over to him, introduced myself and said, “Hi Mr. Ford, my name is Nancy Fredrick and I would like to put my application in with your company and work for you.” He said, "Put the application in and we will look at it.” The universe was at work and I became part of the team.

           At my desk hard at work.

I started in customer service and used my knowledge and talents to eventually become the Office Manager for EasyCare. I wanted to take on all that I could to learn this business and give it my all.

At this time, we only had the Easyboot and the Medicator boot. We also had several items for the sport of endurance riding. I felt like a kid in a candy store with all of this equine “stuff” and knew I would become a sponge and learn about it all so I could share that knowledge with every customer I came in contact with. As the new boot styles and product that Garrett created came to life, I was so impressed and knew this is where I wanted to be. His love of equines and creating products to make equine lives better has been so inspirational and is very infectious to anyone who has a connection to EasyCare.

More learning in Durango at the research ranch.

From the very beginning of my EasyCare life, I have been inspired and learned more about equine hooves and different products than I ever thought was possible. To work for and be associated with the world leader of hoof boot technology is so mind blowing. This has made me smile every day and be excited about coming to my job each day to give more than 100 percent.

Private clinic in Durango for the EasyCare peeps.

Throughout my time here, I have been very blessed to have met and become great friends with some dynamic people in this industry, met and helped awesome customers, worked with really great fellow team members, gone to equine events, put on events to promote our product, and helped to get great businesses connected with EasyCare to help us be better at our jobs. I have learned so many things to better myself and be able to perform my duties with the best interest of EasyCare in mind.

I am sad to leave, but it is time to journey on to my next chapter in life. I am forever thankful and grateul to Garrett for taking the chance on hiring me and trusting me with everything EasyCare. I have always told him with much gusto, ”I fight de bull for you, Boss”, and I mean this with all my heart and soul.  You have made a difference in my life’s journey with my passion…horses.

And to my EasyCare family, I will always be connected with all of you. I am one of your HCP dealers now and will promote all things equine that you put out there. I also want to do hoof boot fittings in my little business to help teach horse owners that boots are great and horses deserve the best from all of us. I use EasyCare products for my horses and will continue because I believe in them completely.

I send humble thanks and love to each and everyone that I have been blessed to cross paths with in this equine journey…..Happy trails.

 

Nancy Fredrick

Easycare President-ceo-garrett-ford

EasyCare Customer Care

I have been on the EasyCare team since 2001, have been the Office Manager and done everything from A to Z. I have first hand product knowledge as my horses are barefoot, booted and I do their trimming. I can assist you with all of your booting needs. .

Still Going

Submitted by David Landreville of Landreville Hoofcare.

Sera, the buckskin mare in the video below was going to be euthanized for chronic lameness before she had reached the age of two. We found out about her through a client and brought her to our place. She was wearing steel shoes and pads that had been on so long that all the nails were gone and the walls had grow over the shoes keeping them fixed in place. She has been a tough rehab case due to the extensive damage done to her feet by poor and neglectful shoeing while her feet were still growing. Although I've never be enable to restore her feet to a sustainable shape and function I've been able to help her make slight but steady progress in form and function over the past 10 years. I can typically rehab most horses with minimal time in boots and pads but this mare has been a lesson in exhausting all options. Since originally pulling her steel shoes and plastic pads I've tried many different protective applications including: hoof casts, boots with Comfort Pads, and EasyShoes.

I've even tried combinations of these products. While I have had success keeping her comfortable from time to time (she's even been ride-able through some periods), I never had any good long term results improving the form and function of her feet. The biggest challenge that I've had with her is that her coffin bones were so badly remodeled at such an early age that I haven't been able to figure out how to fully eliminate wall flare or get her to produce an adequate thickness of live sole. I read some of Dr. Bowker's research on bifurcation of the lamina and I feel that this is one of the reasons that she can't produce a wall that has enough integrity to hold up her muscular 1100 lb Quarter Horse frame. The solar corium needs to be non-load bearing to produce healthy, thick, live sole and with such little support from the wall she is set up for continual crushing of her solar coriums and further bone loss. Due to the extreme wall flare from the bifurcated lamina, her toes grow super fast and require weekly trims. This is one reason that EasyShoes haven't been the right solution in the past. Her feet simply out grow them in a weeks time. Another problem that she has may be hormonal. One vet mentioned to me that there may be a connection to mares with bad feet and hormone issues. Every summer, after several months of progress building sole thickness and reducing distortion, her feet would collapse after our rainy season. The combination of heat, humidity, and possibly hormone imbalances would undermine all the progress made in the months prior. This has been a constant cycle for 9 years.

I've kept up on her on weekly trims for 10 years. This has helped minimize further structural damage. I tried something new about a year ago. I started using the Easyboot Cloud almost like you would use a shoe. I leave them on her 24/7 with frequent brief periods out of them. She has thin hoof structures but they are mostly live tissue due to the style and frequency of my trimming. Her feet stay clean and dry in the boots and she has no trouble getting around in any gait she pleases. The thick wedge shaped pads make up for her atrophied digital cushions and this was the first year that she didn't lose concavity over the summer. I'm always looking for continual progress with horse's feet, no matter what the rate of progress. I've never been comfortable with just making a horse appear sound and I'm careful when it comes to using boots for rehabilitation. It needs to be done thoughtfully. If there's no structural integrity it's not true soundness. To me, form and function are interdependent. Hoof distortion is just a problem waiting to happen. I'm still hopeful that Sera can have sustainable sound bare feet sometime in her future. I don't believe in quick fixes or keeping horses around with a poor quality of life. In my opinion, we are all here to express ourselves, including horses.

This is Sera expressing herself in our track system with her herd mates.

5000 Miles of Hope

Submitted by Chris MacLuckie

Roxy has never been shod. She uses Easyboot Gloves. I love them, she loves them, and it gives us the freedom for her to be barefoot every night during our 5000 mile solo horse ride fundraiser.

We first got the Gloves in April to replace another brand that didn't fit Roxy's wide hooves. Until this point, I rode Roxy barefoot in the roughest of terrain. The only reason I needed boots was to ensure her hooves weren't worn raw when I increased the mileage in preparation for the trip.

We tried the Gloves in a range of situations: swamps, roads, trails, rocks, gravel, at all speeds and with rough transitions. I even did a sliding stop on pavement once! They never came off. I like the simplicity of the design, less parts to break or replace.

The first four boots I bought were a little large, so I just kept Roxy's hooves longer to make sure the fit was snug. I knew that when it was time to replace the first set, I would go a size smaller. The 3rd week of September we went from the size 2 and 1 Wide in the front and the size 2 and 0 Wide in the back, to size 0 Wide in the front and size 0 in the back. This set works great with Roxy fully trimmed. I use them with the Power Straps, and most recently, the firm Comfort Pads and the Quick Studs for extra traction and longer wear. The Comfort Pads help a lot with concussion absorption. The studs help prolong tread by taking some of the direct pressure and wear off of the sole. They also give a bit more traction in some situations.

The second set of boots have been used exclusively during our trip on pavement and gravel. We currently have 600 miles on them. I expect to get another 150 miles at least. The next set will be used with the Quick Studs right from the first day. I'll report back on my blog at a later date to give an account of how long that set lasts, as well as future observations. From what we've noticed so far, the boots last longer the tighter they fit on the fully trimmed hoof. This includes walls, heel bars and mustang roll edging.

I encourage you to visit our blog to learn more and follow our story.
5000milesofhope.org

We are doing a 18 month solo horse ride fundraiser for Maya Pedal, a Guatemalan NGO that builds pedal powered machinery.

Our GoFundMe page for Maya Pedal is here:
https://www.gofundme.com/Maya-Pedal-Horse-Ride-Fundraiser

Fitting the Back Country

The new and improved Back Country boot has evolved into what I like to call the “Black Knight” of boots.

With it’s rugged, warrior-like good looks, tough as nails rubberized upper, and extra-thick neoprene comfort cup cradling the heel bulbs, this boot is the best of both worlds. It combines the fit, comfort and convenience of the Glove with the ease of application of the Trail. At the back of this boot is the Snug Strap and its job is to hold everything together in a strong, but tender, embrace. This strap is now standard equipment on every Back Country boot, ensuring a super-secure fit.

Though this boot begins its life as a Glue-On shell, the fit requirements for the Back Country are vastly different from those of the Glue-on shell or for the Glove boot.

Thanks to the Back Country’s innovative design and robust construction, even if your horse’s hoof measurements don’t fall perfectly into the parameters of the sizing system, the forgiving qualities of this boot’s 3-lap Velcro closure system can make up for various hoof shapes, conditions and pathologies.

Here's an excerpt from the Fit Kit application guide:

"Although the size chart for the Easyboot Back Country is the same as one for the Easyboot Glove, the fit does not need to be as snug. Customers who are unable to use the Easyboot Glove due to length of trim cycle or lack of hand strength should consider the Easyboot Back Country. If your horse is on a trim cycle longer than 4 weeks, we recommend using a 1/2 size larger than the snug fit required for the Easyboot Glove. Sizing up a half size also allows for ease of application." 

Therefore, when using a Fit Kit to fit your horse for the Back Country, find the boot shell that “fits like a Glove”, where the "V" at the front is spreading and it's like a second skin. Then, try the next ½ size up. Keep in mind that the actual Back Country boot, with the upper and comfort cup gaiter attached, adds to the strength and rigidity to the boot, making it seem a tiny bit smaller than it actually is.

That being said, here's some more food for thought:

If your horse's measurements fall in at the low end of the sizing system, it IS possible that it will be a good fit for the Back Country. This is especially true if your horse's hooves fall into the wide sizes. This is why I always recommend using a Fit Kit whenever somebody expresses interest in either the Glove or the Back Country boot.

FYI, whenever a horse's hoof width measurement meets or exceeds the length measurement, we consider that a wide foot. 

Here’s my horse in his size 1 Gloves. 

He is a rock-solid size 1 in Gloves, measuring 114mm x 123mm after a fresh trim. I've had these boots for about a year. I'm thinking of adding Power Straps pretty soon. I normally apply Mueller Tape to the hooves when I ride in Gloves and have never lost a boot.

Shown below, I am trying to stuff his right hoof into a size 1 Back Country. It's a bit of a struggle, but I got it on.

After I set his hoof down, I noticed he caught the Comfort Cup Gaiter between his heel and the boot, creating the dreaded "wedgie effect". His heels could not seat properly into the boot. Even after I fixed it, I am not happy with this fit, so I will go up a 1/2 size to the 1.5 and add a Comfort Pad if necessary.

From the back, you can see that the closure system of the size 1 on the right only has about a 1/2" of Velcro overlap, while the size 1.5 on the left has a much better purchase. The Snug Strap on the size 1.5 is also getting a better overlap compared to the size 1. See what a difference 4 mm makes? That’s the difference from one boot size to the next.

 

Size 1

 

Size 1.5

I like to maintain a left and a right with my boots and pads, so I will switch the Snug Strap on one of the boots so that, at a glance, it's easy to see which is which. Plus, it keeps me safer because as I tighten that strap, I'm pulling away, keeping my body out from under my horse. 

Here is the final test to be sure your boots are fitted properly:

After applying the boots securely, walk your horse a bit, then come to a stop and pick up each hoof and try to twist the boot.

Give it a good hard twist. If you can feel a small amount of twisting around the hoof inside, you may need to add a comfort pad at the beginning of his trim cycle to snug things up a bit. If there is more twist  than an inch or two, you may be better off with a 1/2 size smaller.

Fitting your horse for hoof boots can sometimes be a challenging process. Once you find that perfect boot, though, it’s all worth it.

 

Jean Welch

Jean Welch, EasyCare CSR

Customer Service

Originally from New England, I finally heeded the advice of my inner cowgirl, packed up my horses and moved west to Arizona. Here I learned the finer points of hoofcare and successful booting techniques. I can help you select the right EasyCare product for your specific needs. 

Good Choice

In 2016, my friend bought an eight year old Wielkopolska gelding. I look after trimming this horse's hooves. The horse unfortunately had hoof issues and when my friend started jumping on him, everyone around advised putting shoes on. However my friend listened to my advice and the gelding is barefoot with the help of the Easyboot Glove.

Thanks EasyCare!

Name: Aleksandra Marczak
State: Massachusetts
Equine Discipline: Jumping
Favorite Boot: Easyboot Glove
 

Not All Composite Shoes Are Equal

One of the biggest advantages of composite shoes and glue is the wide variety of styles and application methods that are successfully used to help horses! However, if you talk to 100 Hoof Care Providers you'll get 99 different opinions about what you can and can't do with these materials.  

"You can't glue to the sole." I glue to the sole all the time.

"Dental impresson material doesn't stay in composite shoes." It does for me every day!  

And the best one....

"Glue-on shoes can only be used for a short period of time because the glue breaks down the hoof and wall." Tell that to the dozens of horses I have in glue-on shoes every month with no break for over 10 years! Their feet are perfectly healthy with no wall defects or problems.

But there are definitely nuances to these materials that can make or break your success! What is it that I'm doing specifically to lead to success? I believe that comes down to the quality and selection of materials being used in each situation, as well as the education, experience and skill of the person applying them.  

I have worked hard to develop my skills in using these materials over the last 13 years. I study every shoe and every glue and every nuance of application I can. There is no reason to believe that just because you trim or shoe horses, that using glue and composite shoes, wouldn't have as many nuances as variations in trim styles, or in metal shoe selection and application!  

Here is an example of someone who had good intentions to help this foundered horse, but their selection of materials and lack of experience in applying them led to problems for the horse.



The well-meaning farrier had applied a home made composite shoe that he glued on and the horse became lame. 

I was called in to see if I could come up with a different solution to the horse being sore footed. The idea of Glue-On composite shoes was excellent for this horse. By selecting the EasyShoe Performance, Acrylic Glue, Dental Impression Material and some hoof casting, this horse had a very different response.

This is right after shoeing with EasyShoes and hoof casting.

The hoof casting was beneficial in the beginning to stabilize this horse's hoof capsule. We removed the wings off the EasyShoe and used casting to add stability to the horse's foundered foot. After he was more comfortable and the inflammation had calmed down, we eliminated the casting and went with EasyShoe Performance applied with the attached wings.

After a short period of time, the horse was back to work in his EasyShoes.

This is just a quick example of how small details can make or break your success when using glue and composite materials! Maybe the difference for this horse was adding frog support, or the acrylic vs. urethane glue. My recommendation is like anything, the more you study and learn, the more tricks you have in your toolbox, the better prepared you are to help the horse! Not all Glue-on composite shoe applications are created equally. They are just a tool in the person's hands!  

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www.IntegrativeHoofSchool.com