Not Just Back Country

I'll admit it, when I first saw the Easyboot Glove Back Country I was pretty skeptical. Before my undying love and devotion to the Easyboot Glove developed, I had used another brand of hoof boots. Post Glove infatuation I was adamant that I'd never use or consider a boot other than my beloved Gloves. The low profile, their light weight, the ease of use, staying power, what's not to love? Being fastidious about my horses' very regular trim schedule further increased my success with the Gloves and I didn't really consider a situation where they wouldn't be optimal for my horses.

Glove Back Country on a sidewalk?

Enter Dazl, who is undergoing the first year of transition to a functional bare hoof after a bout of laminitis prior to a serious environment and lifestyle change. Saying her feet are changing is an understatement and I've found the option of having a boot that offers a more forgiving fit to be helpful during this period of transition. I was worried the Back Country would be too bulky and would cause interference. They don't. I was worried they wouldn't fit well and might come off while using a larger size. They don't. I was worried the different gaiter would cause rubs. Not so.

While definitely bulkier than the regular Glove, the boot portion is still form-fitting and the external gaiter is surprisingly slim as well. The gaiter with built-in, heavy-duty power strap allows one to use a larger size than the appropriate size Glove. This is very helpful when growing out a flare or the bowed out portion of a hoof wall that is growing in much tighter. They don't twist as a too-big Glove might and I haven't lost one yet! The rounded edge of the gaiter hasn't caused any rubs and they are very easy to put on and take off. So far, the velcro gaiter is just as strong after a few months of use as they were when brand-new. During this period of change in size, shape and angle of Dazl's feet, the Back Country are just the ticket for continuing on with our training while developing a better hoof. In the meantime, I can focus on taking in the view. 

Matthew's Story

This past winter I traveled half way around the world to spend time with my husband who works in Saudi Arabia. I left a list of local barefoot trimmers with my clients in case of an emergency or if any were in need of trimming while I was gone. With the exception of a few horses that had health issues going on, I felt that all would be well. One of those horses was Matthew. Mid-November Matthew, was having trouble eating and drinking and had a very sore neck. He was taken to a vet clinic where they performed dental work and sent him home. A few days later, he was still very sore in the neck, had laminitis and was displaying colic like symptoms. He returned to the vet and spent eighteen days being treated for laminitis. Although Matthew's owner, Linda, preferred barefoot, the vet felt traditional farrier methods were the best course of action for the laminitis. A type of wooden wedge block was screwed to his hooves in hopes of alleviating his discomfort. As days went by, his blood panels continued in a downward spiral indicating that his kidneys and liver were shutting down. Matthew was in constant pain from the laminitis and showed no sign of improvement. Unfortunately as I was leaving the country, Linda called to tell me her horse was being sent home from the vet clinic to die.

When I returned home at the end of January, I fully expected Matthew to have gone on to greener pastures but much to my surprise he was still alive. When he returned from the clinic it looked hopeless at first but Linda felt she had to give her boy a chance because of his will to live. It was very challenging to keep him warm on the below zero degree days and nights - most of the time he laid in his stall. Finally he started showing improvement and new blood panels showed his kidneys and liver were normal. As Linda's wish was to return Matthew to barefoot, the vet agreed to begin by pulling the hind shoes.

Matthew's right hind after his first (left) and second (right) trims.

When I arrived at the barn, Linda had Matthew standing ready for his trim. As I removed his bandages, nothing prepared me for the sight of the sole completely gone from the tip of the frog forward. To say I was shocked was an understatement. I wished someone would have warned me before I started the process out in the middle of a dirt lane by the barn. But there I was, so I began lowering the heels and bringing back the toe to a more proper break over. By the time I finished trimming, Matthew seemed more comfortable and was walking better. After cleaning the dirt from his hooves, we put him in some Easyboot Gloves with 12 mm medium density comfort pads inside until we could come up with a better solution.

Matthew's right hind five (left) and ten (right) weeks after first trim.

The next day I called EasyCare for advice on boots and padding for his severe condition. I ordered the Easyboot Rx and several pairs of pads knowing that we would have to experiment to find the perfect combination. As barefoot trimmers will tell you, the horse will show you if you just take the time to ask. Taping the pads to his hooves with duct tape worked best at first (Matthew preferred 2 soft density comfort pads). Boots were tolerated during the day as he roamed the yard but not at night. We ran into a problem with rubbing even with wool socks. So the taped on pads offered a needed rest from the boots while he was in his stall on softer terrain. In as little as five weeks, you can see how quickly the sole filled back in and the hoof began to heal a condition that was traditionally thought irreparable. I'm hoping that in the future, veterinarians will come to know that with the proper tools available like hoof boots and pads, barefoot is a viable option for laminitis.

Karen Reeves, Natural Equine Hoof Care

Ten Weeks in the EasyShoe - An EasyShoe Update

Excitement for the EasyShoe has been overwhelming.  Testing is validating our theories that this flexible device moves with the hoof and allows the heel to flex both vertically and horizontally. The first horse to wear them in a 50-mile race not only won the race but also received the best condition award.  Another endurance/trail horse in Colorado spent ten weeks in the EasyShoe with no ill effects to the hoof.  Ernest Woodward of the So-Cal Equine Podiatry Center, and the May 2013 EasyCare Dealer of the Month, is seeing positive results on a dressage horse. 

Dressage in the EasyShoe

I was personally responsible for the ten-week test on my horse named TNT.   Yes, ten weeks.  And yes, I'm fully aware that ten weeks is way too long, but we need to see if there are any ill effects from extended use. Many times I ask my personal horses to go above and beyond in order to collect data for the horses that will follow.  I would much rather resolve issues with my personal horses and make corrections before offering products to the public. 

TNT immediately after removing the 10 week EasyShoes and getting a fresh trim. 

With the EasyShoe being new we are looking at many areas including:

  1. Will the horse be hoof sore when the shoes are removed? 
  2. Will extended use cause the adhesive bond to fail? 
  3. How will the EasyShoe work as a transition device to take a horse from steel shoes to barefoot? 
  4. Will the vertical and horizontal movement heel movement allowed in an EasyShoe strengthen and build the internal structures of the hoof?
  5. Will there be evidence of the heels contracting or expanding with time?
  6. How will the shoes wear over a ten-week period?
  7. What are the best methods for removal and how will the adhesive bond be after ten weeks? 
  8. Does the device fill a gap in the industry?  Are there reasons for an equine professional to use the EasyShoe? 

After ten weeks in the EasyShoe and a quick trip to the round pen.

After ten I didn't know how strong the bond would be.  Would there be much left holding the shoe in place?  The video below shows my first failed attempt to remove an EasyShoe.  I didn't expect the bond between the cuffs and the hoof wall to be so secure.

Removal with pulloffs.  Fail. 

As you can see from the video above the bond between the hoof wall and the cuff was still very secure.  In the video below, I try another method and try and break the bond between the cuff and hoof with a large flat screw driver. 

 

Removal with flat screwdriver.  Success but not ideal. 

Although the screwdriver technique worked, it's not the easy removal solution I'm looking for.  My next attempt and the video below shows how I removed the cuff with a rasp. 

Removal success. 

The EasyShoe is looking good and we are pushing all other size molds forward.  We expect to be able to offer product to the public in a variety of sizes by early August, 2013.  Updates and news will be posted in EasyCare Newsletters and the Easyboot Facebook page. 

Garrett Ford

easycare-president-ceo-garrett-ford

President & CEO

I have been President and CEO of EasyCare since 1993. My first area of focus for the company is in product development, and my goal is to design the perfect hoof boot for the barefoot horse.

 

Don't Be Negative

We all know that being negative is considered a bad thing, and it's no different for the horse's hoof!
 
A negative palmar (front), or negative plantar (hind), angle in the hoof refers to the orientation of the coffin bone in the hoof. In a negative angled hoof, the wings of the coffin bone (called the palmar processes) are lower than the front of the coffin bone. A healthy hoof alignment within the capsule is considered to be a couple to several degrees positive. The range of normal can depend on the horse's individual conformation and breed. While there are proponents of a ground parallel coffin bone when the horse is at rest/standing on flat ground, it is generally accepted that the healthiest and soundest feet are those with a positive angle (this is my preference). As I am always repeating, the rear most area of the hoof is meant to be landed upon, and under full load it will dip downward as nature intended. If the hoof is already at ground parallel just standing still, the coffin bone will go negative under full impact.

A negative plantar angle.  The red line shows the angle we are referring to - the rear
of the coffin bone is lower than the front. This is an extreme example to help you see it.

So what are the causes, why is it bad, how do you recognize it, can we fix it?

Some of the causes of negative palmar/plantar angles:

  1. Environment
    One of the causes of negative palmar/plantar angles (NPA) relates to our arid environment here in Southern, CA. Without moisture to soften and help exfoliate their feet, some horses can build excessive sole. Bar material that should end about 1/2 way down the frog can migrate forward and over the sole, blending with the sole and even covering it completely. You may have heard the term "false sole" and this is what it is referring to. This material, if not recognized and removed, can pack in under the tip of the coffin bone and essentially push the edge upwards.
  2. Trimming
    Some horses are trimmed and shod to exacerbate this situation. Reiners, for example, can have crushed heels and excessive vertical toe height (NPA's) from sliding, and I see it in upper level dressage horses who are stepping under themselves during highly collected movement.  
  3. Conformation
    Sickle hocked horses are predisposed to this hoof form. Horses with DSLD are as well, because the damaged, dropping pastern and suspensory areas move the weight bearing area too far rearward.  

Why is being negative a bad thing?

The horse is essentially overloading the rear of the hoof. The soft tissues of the digital cushion, lateral cartilages, frog, etc., are being crushed. The heel bulb areas will look flattened, the frog can appear to be prolapsed, and there may be a crevice in the frog from where it is pinching forward (which can trap thrush). Horses with negative plantar angles often stand underneath themselves, which leads to soreness through the stifles, hocks, hamstrings and up into the croup and sacroiliac area.

How does one recognize this situation?

A lateral radiograph will certainly show you the bone orientation, and is ideal so you know exactly what you are dealing with. With that said, a big sign of NPAs can be a bullnosed appearance to the hoof wall. This is due to the wall following over the tip of the coffin bone which is pushing outward. Another obvious sign is from underneath the hoof, there will be more depth at the apex of the frog than the rear of the foot. Sometimes horses with NPA's will have wear such as squaring at the toe wall and a buffed appearance to the wall. (This is also a sign of sore hocks or stifles, which we know is a possible result of NPA's, but it can also be just a symptom of soreness, injury or weakness there and can't be assumed on its own to mean the horse has NPAs.)

Before (left): The bullnosed or dubbed shape common in horses that have a NPA.
After (right): Five weeks later - the heel was able to start lifting now that the pressure has been relieved.

 
How do you fix it?

After all that lead up, it seems over simplified to say you usually just remove excess sole under the coffin bone...but that is usually all that is required!  It may take a single good trim to fix the situation and get the hooves back on track. Or, more commonly, it can take many trims with varying amounts of material taken out, and the horse may need some remedial body work to help soothe the sore soft tissues. It takes someone really good at reading the hoof to know how much to take and when. Hooves adapt over time, and the corium that covers the coffin bone can actually have distorted enough that a trimmer could get into trouble by trying to over correct a situation too quickly. Sometimes all we can do is lower the wall at the toe, and only the sole immediately adjacent to it. If the problem didn't originate in the hooves but rather from a conformational issue, disease or an injury, we are limited in how much permanent change we can make at the hoof.  
 
At the AHA conference a couple of years ago, we used a simple heat sensing tool on the feet of horses that were NPA, before and after their trims. The feet were warmer after the trim, indicating possible better circulation in the foot when the rear of it was not being as crushed. I've seen some amazing changes to the heel and frog areas on horses with corrected angles so don't be negative, be positive!

A sole view of what changes can take place when correcting a NPA. There is approximately
6 months time between the images. The weight bearing area of the heel has moved back
and thickened, the frogs have widened, the hoof is rounder in shape, and there is more
equal depth under the coffin bone.  (The horse is a working teenaged dressage horse.)

 

Submitted by Sossity Gargiulo, Wild Hearts Hoof Care

Broken Down May Not Be So Broken

As hoof care providers we often get calls to help horses as a last-ditch effort before euthanasia. The owner calls with a laundry list of problems and a history of solutions that have been tried and fallen short.  

This is the case of a 19-year-old Quarter Horse gelding whose laundry list was a mile long. He had been diagnosed with:

  • bowed right front tendon
  • left front coffin bone fracture
  • sidebone
  • ringbone

His current diagnosis was navicular disease. When I first saw him he was barely walking on his left front leg. Many options had been tried to resolve his lameness but with minimal long term success. The owner was tired of watching him in pain and was considering euthanasia. The veterinarian who referred me to the case told the owner "Call Daisy, she may be able to perform a miracle for you"...no pressure!   

Anytime I come across a horse with arthritic conditions, navicular, etc my goals as a farrier are to minimize the range of motion the joints have to articulate through, hopefully minimizing the impact any soft tissue problems or rough bone surfaces may have as the horse moves. The more compact the foot, the shorter the distance the joints have to move in locomotion.

I have discussed my basic trimming and shoeing goals in previous blogs. The same goals apply in this situation as the other case studies I have highlighted.

My goals are:

  • 3-8 degree palmar P3 angle: the angle of the bottom of the coffin bone in relation to the ground.
  • 50/50 base of support from toe to heel around the center of rotation of the hoof capsule.

Here is the horse's left front foot when I came to see him:

Goal:
P3 Palmar Angle: 3-8 degrees
Toe Support % (50/50) 50% toe

May 8th Old Shoe:
P3 Palmar Angle: NEGATIVE -1.70 degrees
Toe Support % (50/50) 59.17% toe

I really respect what the previous farrier was doing with this horse. The shoe is well fit, and the rolled toe was working to help this horse with his lameness issue. However the internal and external hoof alignment was not quite to my parameters, so I felt increasing the palmar P3 angle and getting closer to a true 50/50 support base would have a good chance at helping this horse become more comfortable if not sound.  

Here is the same foot, same day, with the shoe pulled:

May 8th No Shoe:
P3 Palmar Angle: NEGATIVE -3.69 degrees
Toe Support % (50/50) 63.51% toe

So without the shoe the hoof capsule and internal alignment was worse.  

Here is what we were able to do in our first trim the same day:

 

 

Goal:

P3 Palmar Angle: 3-8 degrees

Toe Support % (50/50) 50% toe

 

May 8th After Trim:

P3 Palmar Angle: POSITIVE 2.90 degrees

Toe Support % (50/50) 56.70% toe

 

So we were getting much closer to our ideal parameters. I felt I had pushed this foot as much as possible at this time. We left him barefoot in a dry lot paddock. The horse became much more comfortable and at a walk was sound. But at a trot, especially on firm ground or on turns he was still off.  

 

I felt I had achieved as much improvement as I could achieve in his internal and external hoof alignment through trimming. I wondered if he even could become sound at the trot and on turns, especially on hard ground. We decided to use leverage testing to determine where his discomfort was coming from. An easy way to do leverage testing is with the KrossCheck leverage testing system:

 

 

The leverage testing revealed that the horse hated his toe elevated (functionally decreasing his palmar P3 angle) and was very happy with additional heel elevation (increasing the palmar P3 angle) which made a lot of sense. However, it was interesting to find that he also hated his foot being tipped from side to side, medial/lateral. I decided to try a glue on shoe to create ease of range of motion from side to side as well as add a bit more heel height.  

 

Here is what his foot looked like with the addition of the composite shoe:

 

 

June 14th New Composite Shoe:

P3 Palmar Angle: POSITIVE 5.74 degrees

Toe Support % (50/50) 50.20% toe

 

With the additional mechanics created in the shoe, and the shock dampening effect of the plastic, this horse went completely sound and is now back in work being ridden for trail riding, light dressage lessons, and some therapeutic riding five days a week. The leverage testing was an invaluable tool in getting this horse, with his laundry list of problems, back in work and sound. Here is his very happy owner enjoying her horse!  

 

 

Daisy Bicking, APF

www.DaisyHavenFarm.com

May 2013: Ernest Woodward

Movement: purely a moment in time, simple yet so complex.

Farrier and EasyCare dealer of the month, Ernest Woodward, knows movement is everything.

Ernest is passionate about movement and displays his talents for capturing it here.

You could say it was destiny. Growing up his stepfather was a veterinarian; his mother a dressage trainer. While in college, physics was his focus. As a farrier of 17 years, Ernest Woodward attributes his success to outside the box thinking and strives to push the envelope from the norm of farrier work and service. Ernest finds great interest in the challenge and detail needed in working with show horses and spends most of his time today dedicated to the needs of the dressage sport horse and therapeutic work.

Ernest joined the EasyCare dealer network in July of 2012, and says discovering the Easyboot Glove has changed everything. Previously, he felt there was not a boot on the market that could meet the demands of a competitive horse. Now he says he has that boot with the Easyboot Glove and can confidently recommend it to his sport horse clients. He also finds tremendous value in utilizing the Easyboot Rx and EasySoaker.

Tips for Success
Hoof care is a highly service based industry and Ernest feels whether you are a trimmer or farrier, professionals need to increase their connection with their clients and make more time to individualize each horse and client. A significant part of his business strategy is staying very involved in his realm of the horse community, from managing horse shows to serving on a local non-profit board. He spends thousands of dollars each year on research, time and tools, and fully utilizes social networking. The bottom line is simple - do great things for your clients and horses and make sure people are aware of what you are doing.

Rewards
One of Ernest's most rewarding experiences was recently teaching one of his clients from Canada to trim, enabling her to care for her own horse and maintain it barefoot when home. Ernest says, "To watch her not only take her competition horse barefoot, but to have the dedication to learn what was necessary to perpetuate her success was tremendously inspiring." He adds that his most memorable hoof boot experience was taking a horse from a $500 shoeing to barefoot and quickly seeing the results of a sounder horse and happier client. He does preface that it doesn't happen every time but when it does it is tremendously satisfying.

When we talk about the future of the barefoot competitive horse, Ernest feels the door has been kicked wide open for the dressage sport horse industry. He believes there are a lot of people that will have the courage to break conventional thought and try something new for their horse. Sometimes it may not be the right fit, but sometimes they might find a whole new direction for the horse.

Ernest resides in Cardiff-by-the Sea, California, with his wife and four-year old daughter while maintaining a practice of about 250 horses. He is also currently working closely with EasyCare on the EasyShoe project. Life is full for Ernest Woodward and we could not be more pleased to have him on the team!

To learn more about Ernest visit his Facebook page at Ernest Woodward - Farrier.

Give Shoes the Boot - You're Still a Cowboy

Over the years, we have seen many trends with horses - from the dos and don'ts of feed, to the method in which we train. The one thing that has stayed consistent is people moving towards doing what is best for their horse, and not what is simply habit passed down. Back in the day, it was not uncommon to get the youngest, craziest guy near the barn and have him hop on and "break" the colts. Obviously, we know there are better ways to skin that cat.

Being married to a ranch raised roper, I am immersed in the "cowboy tough" world. Surprisingly, these same guys that used to "break " horses are now deliberately trying to ride with a nice soft loop to warm up. Given that the mark of a "cowboy" used to mean climbing up on a bronc and surviving, I am happy to see the transition into a more sensible approach. So why the hang up with hoof boots?

My husband specializes in natural hoof care and so most of our clients are open to boots but there are those who still insist on shoes. Of course we try to show the advantages of allowing the horse to have a natural foot. We try to educate on the simplicity and versatility of boots. And yet, most of the time we meet resistance, usually justified by the old thinking that shoes are needed for traction and balance. Really? I beg to differ. I have a theory - it is not that shoes are really needed, it is that boots may be just a little too trendy for the "cowboy" crowd. I pose it in a different way when I talk to these guys. I point out the logical side. Who really is a smarter guy? The one who lights $80+ on fire every 6-8 weeks for shoes or the guy who invests a little chunk up front (far less than repeated shoeings) for the year.

Now I know this seems a bit ornery but the truth is, if you are going to put you foot down about not following the new trends, then put your foot down about not following the old ones and see where you actually end up. I challenged my father-in-law to do this. After almost 60 years of holding his ground on shoes, his horses are now booted in the latest and greatest Easyboots. He even changes them up to meet his needs. He uses the Easyboot Trail for everyday mountain riding and the Easyboot Epic or Easyboot Glove (depending on his mount) for the competitions and his older boys that have special needs. As it turns out, he is no less of a "cowboy" than he was in his shoeing days. As for our performance horses, we too ride with "trendy" hoof boots and yet, my husband is still the big tough guy he has been raised to be. When you are ready to set the bar for your own horse, make sure you have these crucial elements in place:

  1. A competent practitioner capable of properly trimming the barefoot horse.
  2. The proper fit, acheived by a simple fitting session.
  3. The proper boot for the needs you have.

When you have checked that list off, you will be well on your way to optimal performance. Give shoes the boot! Soon you may find you are more of a horseman than the stubborn guy next to you.

Amanda Peterson, Peterson Approach Equine Services

Watch My Back!

Actually I'm just kidding. What I really meant to say is: Watch your back!

The human knee is not well designed for all the sport and work activities we expose it to. Anyone who has suffered from a knee injury can testify how crippling this injury can be. However, with an injured knee, we can usually still somewhat function and should it go out, knee replacements are available.

The situation with our backs is quite different. Any injury to our backs can be extremely painful and often we are flat out. Our backs are our life lines. Without a healthy back we do not function, it's as simple as that.

Photo by Susan Kordish, Cowgirl Photography.

Hoof trimming and applying hoof boots like the Easyboot Glue-Ons is hard on our backs. Back pain and compressed discs are all too common among professional and amateur hoof trimmers and farriers. When our backs are sore, it takes the fun out of trimming our horses feet and we cannot do a good job. There are some practices that will save our backs for years and allow for pain free work.

In my blog last month I wrote about the benefits of using a hoof jack. If you missed last month's blog, you can read it here: Five Ways To Get The Most Out Of Your Hoofjack.

Using a Hoofjack, I can keep my back straight and relaxed.

One of the most important things to remember is to always use proper posture. That means keeping your toes pigeon toed, your ankles and knees flexed and your back straight. We want to balance over our feet and work our quads to keep us in the posture, not bend our backs.

With a straight  lower back, I can trim all day long without suffering any back pain.

Let's look at a couple of images of the same trimmer and compare the two different postures:

Flexing from the lower back causes strain on the spine. The red arrow points to the place
where the back is bending forward, purple line helps evaluate the bending of the back.

Flexing from the femur (hinging torso forward). The green arrow shows the origin of flexing.
The back is much straighter which results in less strain on the lower back.

Remember to keep your muscles toned. A lot of joint injuries happen because agonist and antagonist muscles are not balanced and not of equal strength. With skiers many knee injuries happen, because their quads are so much stronger compared to their hamstrings. They overpower the hamstrings and under the right circumstances the uneven forces acting upon the knees result in a torn ACL. Their is a similar relationship with our backs. Our back muscles should be of equal strength to our core or stomach muscles. Plank exercises are great to strengthen our core muscles.

Stretching the body is equally important. Even when doing our best to save our backs, strains will occur. The vertebras of our spine are cushioned with discs made of cartilage. When bending, loading or twisting the spine repeatedly only in one direction, these discs will get compressed in one direction which can lead to pinched nerves, lack of flexibility and arthritis.

A regular exercise program that incorporates pilates or yoga can be extremely beneficial. Not all of us have the opportunity to do that so here are some of my simple stretching exercises. They only take minutes and allow for a healthier, pain free back.

1. Between trimming, I place my hands on my hipbone and push my pelvis forward. Hold for 30 seconds, the relief is instant.

2. After trimming I hang from a bar or tree branch. This lets the weight of your body stretch and elongate your back. For better effect, stretch your heel towards the ground while hanging.

3. Do the plow. In the beginning, you might not get your feet to touch the ground. With time you will become more flexible and your back will loosen up. Do not force this stretch, work up to it as far as your body allows.

The beginning plow. Start easy.

Your goal is to eventually have your feet touch the ground behind your head.

The Plow is one of the best back stretches you can do: it creates space between the discs to allow for cellular exchange. Toxins are being flushed out and you are feeling rejuvenated. Hold it for up to two minutes for maximum benefit.

4. Spinal twist and side bends round out my program.

 

I hope you benefit from my tips and tricks for a healthy back.

The Bootmeister

Christoph Schork

Global Endurance Training Center

From Seaside to Sagebrush

This time last year, my horses and I were enjoying ocean views, redwood trees, and lush green grass. If you ask me, there really is nothing quite as beautiful as Humboldt County California’s redwood coast. Add some of the best trail partners around and it’s really hard to beat. But for some reason, my husband and I had this itch to see new places and try something different. So in December (perfect timing to avoid another wet Humboldt winter), we packed up our family of two dogs and three horses and moved ourselves to Reno, Nevada. It’s taken some adjusting, but it’s turned out to be a great move for us and even better for the health and happiness of our horses.

As luck would have it, this winter has turned out to be one of the driest on record for our former stomping grounds, and one of the coldest and wettest Reno has seen in years (“wet” is relative, it’s still a desert). We've adjusted to the colder temperatures and we have settled in with the help of some awesome friends. We thought the horses would protest -2 degree mornings coupled with 20 mph winds but they really didn’t seem to notice. In fact, they seem to be thriving in the desert environment. My sweet, retired old girl, Sere, in particular seems happier than ever.

Before we moved to Reno, I was considering euthanizing Sere. Sad, I know. And trust me, I cried just thinking about it. This is a horse I've had 15 years! But she was laminitic and dull and some days she really had a hard time getting around. On her bad days, she’d need to wear Easyboot Epics with Comfort Pads just to be comfortable in the pasture. I decided to wait to make a decision, and see if moving her to a completely different environment would improve her quality of life.

Ouch. Sere's California feet.

Four months after moving to Reno, we’re still using Easyboot Epics with Comfort Pads but now we’re using them on 10-12 mile trail rides. Sere is comfortable, bright eyed, and happier than ever. I have my horse back!

Sere's Nevada feet. Much better.

I’m amazed and delighted with the changes I’ve seen in Sere in the last four months. This move has turned out to be exactly what she needed. A dry environment has been a huge help for her formerly thrushy feet. Now she has those rock hard desert hooves that horse owners love and hoof rasps hate. Taking the sugar out of her diet has been an important change too. Even though she only had access to small amounts of green grass in California, that was still enough to cause her to have frequent bouts of laminitis. Now she’s on a big, two acre dry lot so she has plenty of room to move around but absolutely no grass. To make up for the lack of grazing time, the horses have access to grass hay in slow feeders at all times. In addition to the diet and climate changes, I've also gotten help from a natural hoof care provider. I feel like I was doing okay trimming her myself but it's always helpful to have a professional eye to point out any little things that can be improved (and FYI, if you're in need of a barefoot trimmer, Jeremy Procopio, from Foresthill, CA, does a wonderful job and is building a clientele in Reno).

So, my four month evaluation of Reno is pretty great! I’m thankful to have my horse back and I’m very excited to get out and explore new trails with her. As always, I’m very grateful to EasyCare for making products that allow me to take the best care of my horses and their feet.

Renee Robinson

BIG Hooves, BIG Boots

Many horse lovers today are opting for drafts and draft cross breeds to satisfy their need for owning a gentle giant. These horses are being used very successfully in many different disciplines. Even for just plain pleasure trail riding they make a great mount. Mounted police units use them for street patrol and crowd control scenarios. They are the perfect match with their great temperament and size to make any unruly person move back and step out of their way. The ever popular carriage or wagon ride would not be the same without the massive pulling machine leading the way!

EasyCare has the perfect solution for your hoof booting needs with our popular Easyboot Epic and Easyboot. This line of boots will accommodate some really large hooves. We even have the Easyboot Rx therapy boot and EasySoaker boots to take care of the larger, heavy horse. We recently had some Phoenix horse owners come to visit our office in Tucson, Arizona to fit their beautiful black Percheron, Samson. We fitted Samson in our Easyboot Epic boots and they worked out perfect for him.

Samson and his family.

We can assist you with your selection for your draft sized booting needs, just contact us with your fresh trimmed measurements. Give us a call at 800-447-8836 and let's talk about your large booting needs.

Pete Ramey has a great DVD series out and one of the DVD's, That's My Horse #3, is specific to draft horse trimming and care of the hooves. It provides great information on some of the challenges of the large hooves and what to do for them.

So don't get discouraged with the need for those large sized boots...call us and we will see how we can help you succeed in your booting journey.

Nancy Fredrick

Nancy Fredrick, EasyCare CSR

Customer Service

I have been on the EasyCare team since 2001. I have first hand product knowledge as my horses are barefoot and booted, I also trim my own horses. I can assist you with all of your booting needs.