EasyCare Sales Skills 101

Maintain Self-Confidence

This is the most important skill a salesperson can cultivate. How do you develop and maintain self-confidence? Very simple: Know your product. EasyCare offers training for you and your staff, which can be done by phone and takes about 30 minutes of your time. If you believe in yourself and your product, your customers will be inclined to believe as well. (Call to set an appointment.)  Also, stay up to date on changes and new products from EasyCare by subscribing to the Dealer Newsletter.




Good Listening

Most salespeople are natural talkers. Taking the time to ask your customer questions and really listening to their answers shows respect for them and gives you a clearer idea of their needs. Ask your customer for details about their horse's hooves, does the horse have a high heel, short toe, etc. Ask for freshly trimmed measurements. Ask them for details about their riding discipline. Get all the information that you can and then suggest the proper hoof boot style.


Emotion plays a major role in sales. There's an old saying that "features tell, benefits sell." Features are the facts about the hoof boots, benefits are told by the emotional response from your customer about the hoof boot. Tell your customers about the benefits of booting and the benefits of the particular boot style that you are suggesting. Then ask your customer questions to see what they like and how they feel about the hoof boot style that you are showing.


(Emotion = The blue Gloves are pretty!)

Building Strong Relationships

Building and maintaining healthy relationships with your customers (and their horses) are key to the first sale, but also builds for many future sales. If your customer likes and trusts you, then they will be a long time customer. Relationship building starts with good product knowledge, good listening skills and selling your customer the hoof boot style that truly meets their needs.

Dee Reiter


Retail Account Rep

I am the Retail and New Dealer Account Rep for EasyCare. I will be happy to help you with ordering, selecting the most popular styles and sizes of EasyCare hoof boots to stock. Let me help you with suggestions on merchandising and provide training for you and your staff, at your convenience.


What About The Bars?

Very few hoof trimming issues are as controversial as bar trimming. Opinions vary greatly, from not touching them at all to cutting them down all the way to the sole level or beyond (the Strasser method). Today I feel adventurous - you might consider me a high risk taker by tackling this issue and possibly getting shred to pieces afterwards. Bar tissue is identical to the hoof wall tissue, which is harder and denser compared to the sole. Therefore bars can either support or hurt the sole, depending on their length, height and angle. In this blog, I refer to bar 'height' in a vertical sense, bar 'length' in comparison to the length of the adjacent frog and collateral grooves.

Bars are supposed to transfer energy and shock from the ground to the lateral cartilage. They are located directly below these cartilages and therefore most suitable for that task. Last year, I elaborated on shock absorption in the caudal foot. There might be reasons to believe that bars too short are unable to absorb any shock, especially if the horse is worked mainly over hard ground. On the other hand, bars that are too high and at the same level or extending beyond the frog or heel level can cause excessive pressure on the corium and causing bruising with resulting lameness. Some even argue that bars that are too high and too long can put pressure on the navicular bone.

A desert hoof of a domesticated horse: bars are fairly long, high and almost upright.

The old adage can get applied with bars as well: moderate pressure is good, too much pressure bad. Or with other words, moderate pressure helps tissue growth and hardening, too much pressure causes atrophy or bruising.

At landing, a hoof should expand, especially in the heel area. That means the bars should have enough clearance before touching the ground so as to not interfere with this action and not to bruise the corium. At some point, however, the bars need to bottom out to help prevent a total expansion of the hoof capsule and contribute to the transfer of energy vertically to the lateral cartilage. Several factors determine how far the heels expand before bottoming out including: the weight of the horse, the speed of travel, the way the horses hooves touch the ground, the moisture content in the hoof, and the lateral hoof angles. That distance varies from 2 mm to 10mm. So, on average, a relieve or taper of 5 to 6 mm for hard ground is advisable. Is the horse living and training mostly in very soft ground, then we might want to keep the bar height close to level with the hoof walls.

The bars of this untrimmed hoof are almost level with the hoof wall. This horse is living in sandy conditions, the bar growth
reflects that. Like the hoof wall, the bars grow almost upright. This hoof is looking for vertical support by increasing bar height.

Not all bars grow vertically, in fact most of them grow at an angle. Being of denser and harder material, bars can do some serious damage to the sole. Especially when bending over, we can often see bar bruising on the sole, as the photos below show us.

These bars are bend over and exerting pressure onto the sole.

Trimming the bars reveals substantial bruising of the sole. (left side of image)

Let's stay with this photo for a moment. We also can observe white line separation and flaring on the quarters. Here comes the famous question about the chicken and the egg. Did the bent over bars push the sole to the outside and cause the flare or did the flare and white line separation happen first (for different reasons) and consequently rob the hoof of the cohesion and integrity, allowing the bars to 'follow' the sole wandering to the outside? What do you think? 

When considering the role of the bars in hoof support, it becomes clear to me that metal shoes severely restrict proper bar functioning. Bars can fulfill their job best when a hoof is bare, using Easyboots of any kinds, using sole support like Soleguard or Equipak, or the new up and coming EasyShoes from EasyCare, Inc.

How far should the bars extend towards the tip of the frog and how high do we want them to be in this area? To explore this question a little more, let's have a look at this toe crack from a steel shod horse hoof.


Do we know the cause of this crack? There are many possible reasons, could one cause be a bar that is too long?

On this dried cadaver hoof, the bar has grown all the way through the hoof capsule and
exerted so much pressure from the inside onto the hoof wall that it caused the crack.

So in evaluating and examining dorsal hoof cracks, it does not hurt to examine the length of the bars at the same time to exclude this cause. Bars that are about 2/3 the length of the frog and show a taper of 5 to 10 mm towards the tip of the frog should not cause a problem as observed above. 

When considering how much to trim off the bars, a few thoughts and observations might help making the proper decision:

  1. There is evidence that substantial sole growth originates from the bar laminae. Shortening the bars too much might impede sole growth.
  2. If the trimmed bars grows back substantially within a two week period, they were probably trimmed too short.
  3. Bars kept untrimmed and too high on a hoof with a thin sole could exert too much pressure onto the lateral cartilages and thereby push the wings of the coffin bone up. This in turn could cause the coffin bone tip (dorsal side) to tilt down even further, possibly causing toe and/or coffin bone bruising.
  4. Bars too high and/or too long and bent over could cause sole bruising, white line separation and possible lameness.

This list will not necessarily make it easier to decide, but it will make us think and carefully consider how much we are trimming the bars. Nothing is black and white, all is grey and on a sliding scale. It helps to 'listen' to the hoof.

Every horse is an individual and no two horses are identical, just like there are no two identical hooves observed among the millions of horses on earth. We trim and treat each hoof as an individual, we should judge and trim the bars in the same manner.

From the desk of the Bootmeister

Christoph Schork

Global Endurance Training Center

Bike Riders Meet Hoof Boots in Utah

Our good friend Ron and his horse Sundance perform at various events in the area where he lives in Ogden, Utah. Sundance has charmed many a person - adults and children alike. Sundance and Ron perform at many of the big festivals and holiday parades and Sundance is always adorned with his Easyboot Gloves. His colors contain purple, so he has purple Power Straps on his Glove boots for more stability and a snug fit. Ron always fields many questions about those things on Sundance's feet. Below, Ron shares a recent experience with the Easyboot Gloves.

"I am sending you a picture of Sundance wearing his front Glove Wide hoof boots with purple power straps as he performs for some bicycle manufacturing company CEO’s from Taiwan. Thirty CEO’s were in Ogden this week for a bicycle tour of the city, the nearby mountains and other scenic  parts of Northern and Southern Utah to see if Ogden would be the ideal location to expand their companies. Ogden is already the home of many national ski companies. 80% of all bicycles worldwide are now made in Taiwan. Everyone wanted to have their picture taken standing next to their bike and Sundance. I also gave them some of Sundance’s trading cards. Sundance’s rear hooves slipped on some slick floor tile at the entrance of the nearby Hilton hotel, but his front hooves had Glove boots and didn't slip at all.   

Your friends,
Ron and Sundance"

Sundance showing off his Easyboot Gloves.

The Easyboot Gloves can take you wherever you wish to go on your journey with your equine partner. Contact us here at EasyCare so we can assist you with your booting needs. Call us with your fresh trimmed hoof measurements at 800-447-8836 and we will get you taken care of.

Nancy Fredrick

Easycare President-ceo-garrett-ford

EasyCare Customer Care

I have been on the EasyCare team since 2001 and 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. .




Save on Hoof Boots for Halloween

Is your barn having a costume party for Halloween? Red and Blue Easyboot Gloves will take your horse's costume to the next level. Save 15% on colored Gloves purchased from EasyCare during the month of October. This form-fitting, seamless boot hugs the hoof and responds like a natural foot. Like a glove, this boot provides protection without stifling mobility. The Easyboot Glove material stretches over the hoof and clings to the hoof wall so debris stays out of the boot, even in sandy or muddy conditions. There is no external hardware so there is no need to worry about replacing cables or buckles.

Use promo code: RB1013. May not be combined with any other offer.
Offer valid 10/01/13-10/31/13. Automatically applied to online orders.

Due to its form-fitting nature, the Easyboot Glove is only recommended for horse's on a four week or shorter trim cycle (or horse's that have maintenance rasping if on a longer trim cycle). The Glove must be carefully sized and fitted to the hoof. After taking your horse's hoof measurements, EasyCare recommends getting a Fit Kit to ensure you select the correct size.

Happy Halloween! Photo by Jacki Day.

Alayna Wiley

Alayna Wiley, Marketing and Sales

Marketing and Sales

I assist the marketing and sales departments at EasyCare with a special interest in hoof care practitioner and veterinarian dealer accounts. My horses have been barefoot and booted since 2003.


A Boot for Any and All Occassions

I think one of my favorite things about keeping my horses barefoot is the number of booting options available to quickly adapt to weather, terrain or just circumstances. Earlier this summer I had planned on riding all three days at the Wild West Pioneer Ride. This is one of my favorite rides for many reasons, not the least of which is the amazing views, great trails and wonderful volunteers. Just being in the mountains is so different from our Northern Nevada high desert. The footing is not too bad but it can be pretty rocky and if it rains or snows (which it usually does) it gets really slippery. 

Leading up to the ride I had not fully decided what boot I was going to use this year. Typically for a multi day ride I will just use Easyboot Glue-Ons. But for this ride I like to have the option of using Easyboot Grips if it gets too wet and sloppy so I usually just use Easyboot Gloves then I can change boots depending on the weather. 

Once we arrived in camp and were all set up it was time to get the boots sorted out. I tidied up the trim on all four feet and put Gloves on all four. For some reason I just was not happy with the way the fronts looked and decided this year I was just going to use Glue-Ons and not have to worry about boots for the three days. After gluing boots on for so many years it really is not even anything that I think about any more. It takes almost no time at all and I have learned how not to cover myself in glue. Once the boots were glued I had to marvel that I had three types of boots all set out and ready for use if needed. How nice to have that many choices and to be able to pick and choose then change out in a matter of minutes.

Friday morning was simply beautiful and Fancy and I set out on a really wonderful first 25 mile loop. We came into the first vet check and went to the trailer to remove tack and let Fancy relax a bit then went to the vet. About half way down the trot out I thought I heard the rhythm of her gait change. Literally in front of our eyes she began showing very definite sign of something not right in her right hind foot. We went to the trailer and popped off the Glue On and cleaned out her foot. It did not take much and the abscess ruptured. As soon as it burst we could see Fancy relax. Boy that had to hurt. So we cleaned out the foot and the abscess spot (how can something so small cause such a large animal so much pain), cleaned, bandaged and applied another clean new Glove. 

We did stay the next day so that my friend Jen could finish her first 50 mile ride on her Morgan, Willow. We had a great day crewing and helping out ride management. Then to top it off we got to help another rider whose horse had ripped off his metal shoe and was a bit off. With a bit of work with the rasp to tidy up the hoof we got her correctly sized with a Glove and she was able to finish her ride. Another Team Easyboot save and a great opportunity to represent EasyCare.  

Throughout the day I was able to check Fancy's foot and every time it was completely clean and looked good. She was actually sound and pretty happy just an hour after the whole event. So nice to be able to find the problem and treat it. We ended up getting home pretty late but in the morning I cleaned up the foot even more and just to be safe put a lintex pad on the foot and applied an Easyboot Rx over it. I just love these boots for putting on poultices or even just to protect a foot. They can accommodate a pad if needed and tend not to rub.  After five days the abscess area is barely noticeable and she is perfectly sound. 

In the span of just one ride four styles of Easyboot were called into action: Grips (ended up not needing them but they were there just in case), Gloves (the original first choice and then used to keep the injured foot clean), Glue-On's (the go to long distance and multi day boot) and finally the Rx (first choice for helping hoof injuries heal). So while my husband has been known to roll his eyes at the number and variety of boots it is always nice to know that no matter what the circumstance there is a boot available. Having the flexibility to change out boots to meet the challenge of the occasion is an added bonus.

Tami Rougeau

October 2013 Newsletter: Garrett Ford discusses the effect of hoof protection devices and trimming styles on the shape of a horse's hoof.

Dear EasyCare Customer,

- Garrett Ford discusses the effect of hoof protection devices and trimming styles on the shape of a horse's hoof.

- Daisy Bicking reflects on her recent experience of teaching hoof care in Nigera.

- Amanda Washington shares her horse's experience with the EasyShoe prototype. 

- Kevin Myers reports from the successes at the AERC National Championships,

- Alayna Wiley gives the week 2 update on the Easyboot Transition.

- We celebrate Bare Feet by Katy, our October 2013 Dealer of the Month.

Do you need support in making boot choices or troubleshooting? You can contact us at the EasyCare offices for free advice, no matter where you purchased your boots.

Please keep in touch: our goal is to help you succeed with EasyCare products and your booting needs.




Frustoconical: having the shape of a frustum of a cone.


The similar shapes of a frustum cone and a hoof.  The hoof is most often narrower at the hairline than the base. 

In a recent patent application, our patent attorney described the hoof as Frustoconical.  I looked up the word and the associated diagrams made me smile at the relevance. 

Why should you care as a horse owner? The frustoconical shape of most equine hooves means that the base of the hoof is wider or has a larger circumference at the end of a trim cycle than at the beginning of the trim cycle.  If a horse is protected with a device, or if the professional doesn't apply the device in a way that allows for this expansion, the hoof is held in a shape dictated by the device or the method.  Repeated cycles of holding the hoof in this dictated state change the shape and size of the hoof over time.

Early testing of the EasyShoe suggests that heels tend to expand or spread at 1mm per week when fitted in an EasyShoe.  The 1mm of expansion per week is consistent whether the shoe is glued or nailed to the hoof. 


Do you believe the hoof is frustoconical?  How do you believe the shape of the hoof changes during a trim cycle and what is the relevance of the hoof protection used?

Would love to hear your thoughts.

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.


Sore No More - Topper's New EasyShoe

Last weekend at the 2013 AERC National Championships, I was lucky enough to be in the presence of several very knowledgeable, very talented hoof care practitioners. Between Christoph Schork, Rusty Toth and Susan Summers, I was in hoof care nirvana. Right there along with me was Topper, my seven year old Arabian gelding.

Meet Topper!

Topper has been barefoot his entire life. I got him as a gawky, gangly three year old, and chucked him out to barefoot horse heaven. Hundreds of acres of dry desert foothills. He spent his youth running up and down the hills, living in total bliss. Minus a stall, a blankie and a warm mash every night. Topper was never much for roughing it. I started lightly riding Top the end of his third year, trail riding at a walk a mile or two on gentle trails. His fourth year brought a little more riding, but nothing intense by any means. You see, when you're 15.2 hand four years old on spindly, long legs, it's all one can to do stay balanced. All of the riding that took place until Topper's fifth year was barefoot on lovely sandy trails. I boasted about his strong feet and anticipated no issues in that department. Unfortunately, barefoot perfection did not bless us as we ramped up the miles. 

Running the hills as a 4 year old. The perfect environment to develop perfect feet. In a perfect world. 

When Topper turned six, we started riding further, faster and frequently. I had him in Easyboot Gloves for all of his conditioning miles, which he seemed to come through with ease. However, the day after our longer, harder rides, I noticed Topper was tentative and footsore. I started putting Comfort Pads in his boots, which he definitely seemed to like, but did not help his day-after soreness. At this point we xrayed Topper's front feet, and thankfully found no pathology other than thin soles. Unfortunately this proved to be difficult to remedy and caused more problems than expected. All summer we battled a sound-sore cycle that I thought he would get through with proper padding and riding. He did a few endurance rides with Easyboot Glue-Ons and Sikaflex packing. While he felt excellent during the actual ride, the bruising that showed up weeks later indicated his feet could not handle the extra pressure. 

The end of the bruising growing all the way out. This shows even the soft padding of Sikaflex was too much for this horse. We spent the next several months working only in gorgeous sand arenas, which improved Topper's feet and let him be comfortable and happy. 

The Top spent the winter as a dressage horse, which was great fun while it was too cold to actually ride. Unfortunately as the weather warmed, I became bored and my hiatus with the endurance trail faded. Topper was brought home from the fancy dressage barn and placed on the back-burner. Apparently I can only focus on so many things at one time. Go figure. The move home didn't do Topper any favors in the foot department. While he was nice and sound at the end of a trim cycle, I watched him short-stride over harder footing and downright limp over gravel after a trim. It was time for some serious protection. Enter, EasyShoe

Innovative and progressive, Garrett Ford and team have been working hard on developing another option for those of us who want to utilize a longer-lasting form of hoof protection than the already stellar line-up of hoof boots. While the EasyShoe may not appeal to, or may downright offend, some folks, for others it will be exactly what was missing. On Saturday at the National Championships, in front of a curious group of observers, Topper stood perfectly still while Christoph Schork applied a set of EasyShoes to all four hooves. And he hasn't stopped moving since. 

For demonstrative purposes, Christoph used both glue and nails for Topper new trotters. His front feet were equipped with a final prototype of the EasyShoe, which Christoph applied with Vettec Adhere, and his hinds were outfitted with an older prototype shoe that he nailed on with four nails. My initial perception was that to glue the shoes on, preparation and application had to be perfect. Kind of like the prep for gluing on boots, but more like your life depended on not messing up. As with anything, practice makes perfect, but I could see where several different areas of prep and application could really screw up your results. Nailing the hinds on looked easy, if you weren't afraid of accidentally piercing the coffin bone with a wayward nail, or nailing your thumb to the hoof. After the demonstration, Topper strutted off like he owned it. I didn't tell him all he was there for was to look pretty. 

Photos above by Merri Melde.

Immediately after this, we went for a walk through camp over several rocky sections of road. Topper strode out, visibly lengthening his stride as the walk went on until I was barely able to keep up. He walked over rocks and gravel with no shortening or gimping. At one point he stepped on a rock and stopped, and half of his hoof/Easyshoe was up on the rock and the other half was touching the ground. Not only that, but you can visibly see the heel expand and contract as the horse loads and unloads his hoof. While the thought of peripheral loading makes some people want to gag, and the other thought of nails being driven into the hoof wall creates hate and discontent, all I can say is no one is forcing you to play. For those of us who have horses who have been raised and cared for in ideal environments, with ideal trims and ideal diets, yet still struggle with issues that may prevent using our horses to their full extent, or even keeping them happy and comfortable, the EasyShoe is another awesome tool in the box. 

I love how Christoph set the shoe back to allow for a better breakover.

Excellent heel support.


I am excited to see how the EasyShoes hold throughout the next couple weeks, and how much hoof growth we have. In an ideal world, we would use these temporarily, but if a horse requires more 'round the clock protection, I can't think of anything cooler. For those that would rather drop dead than put a shoe on your horse, I hope you never end up with a Topper. But if you do, and he's as cool as this horse, send him over. We'll work with what we've got. 

October 2013: Double LL Tack & Feed

Double LL Tack & Feed in Coats, North Carolina, was started in 1980 by Leroy and Lynda Byrd. The Byrds had been operating a horse boarding business in addition to breeding and raising Arabians and were often asked where people could purchase quality tack for their horses. Seeing the need for such a store, Leroy and Lynda opened the Double LL Stables Tack Shop in a 144 square foot building. What started out as a side venture has expanded over the years into a full time, full service tack and feed store. The business name has subsequently been changed to Double LL Tack & Feed, since they no longer board or raise horses.

Double LL Tack & Feed is still family owned and is now managed by their son, Jim Byrd and their daughter, Vicky Schiller. Although Leroy and Lynda have retired, they are both still active in several aspects of the business.

Left to right: Lynda & Leroy Byrd, Cindy (the Double LL Mascot),
Cody & Duke (Vicky's horses wearing Trails), daughter, Vicky Schiller and son, Jim Byrd.

The business consists of a 5,000 square foot building housing quality tack, equine health supplies, gift items, boots and so much more.

In addition, there is an 8,400 square foot warehouse to store the various brands of quality equine and companion feeds.

Double LL Tack & Feed's mission is to provide customers with excellent customer service in a well-maintained environment and a friendly, down-home atmosphere. Their goal is to supply quality products, feeds and services that their customers need to make themselves and their animals healthy and successful.

Double LL Tack has been carrying EasyCare Hoof Boots and products since the year 2000. They currently stock the Easyboot Glove, the Glove Back Country, the Easyboot Trail, the Epic, the Rx Therapy boot and the Soaker. Vicky states that the Easyboot Glove is their most popular boot.

When we asked Vicky how she felt the hoof boot industry had changed since she became involved, she responded, "Dramatically! In our area, hoof boots were only something that you carried in your saddle bag as a spare to get you by in case your horse lost a shoe. Now, the hoof boot has surpassed that mindset and our customers are looking for the perfect boot for their horses and their riding discipline."

Vicky and her brother, Jim, attribute the success of Double LL Tack to "listening to the customer." "We don't claim to know it all and we can't carry it all, but we do listen to our customers for feedback and suggestions on all types of products for our store. We ask our customers, who specialize in specific equine activities, advice on certain tack/equipment that we need to carry in the store. Our goal is to carry durable, quality equipment needed in those activities."

Vicky told us that their best marketing strategy was just as simple as having a website created for the store. And, now with social media, Facebook has been their next smartest marketing strategy. They get to freely share all types of information with their customers. She says that their goal is to educate, entertain and inform their customers about Double LL Tack & Feed and the current trends in the equine industry.

Double LL Tack & Feed provides different types of events for their customers throughout the year. They have had Coggins/Vaccination Clinics, Veterinary Informational Clinics, Canine/Feline Rabies Clinics, Horse Training Demonstrations and Equine Nutritional Clinics.

Vicky says that they have two events that they look forward to each year. They host a Nu 2 U Tack Sale in March, where customers set up (for free) and sell their used tack items. This allows the sellers to clean out their tack rooms and get rid of unused items and allows the buyers to get good deals on some used tack. Their other favorite event is their Customer Appreciation Day, which is always held the first Saturday of October since the business was started in 1980 by her parents.

Vicky and her brother, Jim, both have experience in customer service and sales. They have both been around horses for a long time, as their parents boarded horses while they were growing up. Vicky owns two horses: Cody, a 16 year-old Arabian and Duke, an 11 year-old Morgan. Both horses are currently using the Easyboot Trail. Vicky says she is just a casual rider so the Easyboot Trail fits her needs due to ease of application and room for hoof growth. She has been using the Trails for about a year and says that, so far, the Trail is her favorite boot. However, she feels that she may be getting ready to try the new Glove Back Country.

What is their most memorable hoof boot success story? Vicky says that recently, two ladies brought their horses to the store. One of the ladies wanted to get her horse fitted for boots, while the other lady just brought her horse along for the ride. While fitting boots for the first lady, Jim discovered that the second lady had been discouraged from boots in the past because she could never achieve a good fit and often lost boots when riding. Once Jim successfully fitted the first horse with boots, the second customer decided that she would let Jim attempt to fit her horse as well. They found a great fit for her horse with the Easyboot Gloves. She purchased the Gloves that day!

Vicky sees that the barefoot industry is gaining interest in their area. She feels that the consumer seems to be more receptive to the idea of maintaining the integrity of the hoof. Also, farriers in the area are also more positive in their views on barefoot trimming and the use of protective hoof boots. She said that some of the farriers have recommended boots instead of shoes based on the needs of the hoof and have sent customers to Double LL for boots.

You can visit EasyCare's Dealer of the Month, Double LL Tack & Feed in Coats, North Carolina or on their website at www.doublelltack.com. While you are there, sign up for their Newsletter and visit them on Facebook.

Daisy Haven Farm Hoof Care in Nigeria

Being involved in teaching others about hoof care, I have taught a wide variety of people in varied locations. Earlier this month I had the experience of a lifetime, traveling to Nigeria to help the horses and conduct a clinic for Nigerian farriers. My trip was sponsored by a wonderful woman who is working diligently to improve the quality of care for the horses there. She runs a rescue where she rehabilitates horses and teaches natural horsemanship. Her mission is to provide education on all aspects of horse health, management and training. She asked me to come to Nigeria to help a few of her most challenging horses with their hoof problems and provide education to others in the area.  

Nigeria is an equator country, very tropical. Average temperatures are around 80-90 degrees Fahrenheit and it rains almost every day, especially in the summer. This leads to rampant moisture related foot problems: thrush, white line disease, and even canker. 

In fact, it was a horse who had foundered due to chronic pervasive canker that prompted my trip:

While in Nigeria I worked with two groups of horses: horses cared for by my host through her rescue, and horses living and working at the polo club. You'll see a stark contrast between the environments of the polo club and the rescue.

A photo of the polo club below:

And the rescue:

Farriers as we know them don't exist in Nigeria, at least not in the region I visited. Hoof care is provided here by the horse's grooms. Part of the groom's role in caring for the horse is the health and maintenance of the foot. The grooms learn from each other with very little formal education. The horses are predominantly kept barefoot, and trimmed on a four week schedule. I was surprised to find that in general, most of the feet had good shape and symmetry. The trim being applied was fairly basic, trimming the wall to sole level, rounding wall edges, frogs trimmed and soles cupped out.  For the horses with good feet, this served them fairly well.  




However, any time the feet had significant imbalance or pathology, the standard trim applied fell short of addressing the problems, leaving these horses in limbo. This is where my host has become actively involved in providing education and assistance.  



Most fascinating to the students there were the hoof models I brought. Many did not know there was a bone inside the hoof, rather they believed there was only flesh or tissue inside. We discussed anatomy in depth, worked on mapping the hoof and especially knowing when to modify the trim for different hoof situations.  





Overall I feel my time there was very productive. The group was very eager for knowledge, and seemed appreciative of the time we spent together and information shared. It is clear to me that they care deeply for the horses, and want the best for them. Hopefully I've given them some tools, a new perspective, and have helped my host fulfill part of her mission. I'm looking forward to going back in the near future for part 2!



For more information on Daisy Haven Farm and our work, please see our website: www.DaisyHavenFarm.com .