Going Positive

I recently had the opportunity to begin the rehabilitation of Chloe, an eight year old palomino. Chloe had suffered a deep digital flexor tendon (DDFT) tear, which although small, resulted in lameness. She had been ridden regularly, mostly walking with some trotting but no endurance. The veterinarian diagnosed the tear with ultrasound and also took x-rays of both hooves.

 

What we can observe right away is the negative palmar angle. Looking at the plantar (bottom) distance of P3  from a horizontal reference plane,  P3 is higher up at the tip compared to the  the rear on both front feet. The right front was - 1.16 degrees, and the left was - 0.24 degrees.

What are possible causes for a negative palmar angle?

  • genetic predisposition
  • injury or inflammation of the dermis surrounding P3
  • weak DDFT
  • weak digital cushion and lateral cartilages
  • too thick a sole, possible double sole, especially dorsally - the tip of the coffin bone could get pushed upward by it
  • uneven sole trim: too much proximally and not enough distally

In order to relieve stress on the DDFT, I had to keep the heel area higher to let more sole grow and at the same time trim, within reason, enough sole from the toe area. The idea was to reposition the coffin bone to a positive angle, essentially tilt it forward again. It's a balancing act because leaving the heel longer moves the base of support forward, thus creating stress on the tendons. (Last year I expanded on how long heels stress the tendons and do not support the skeleton structure in my blog "All About Heels".)

This photo of a different horse shows the plumb line through the center of the canon bone ending behind the heels.
This hoof is growing forward and not supporting the body and movement apparatus. 

I determined that I needed to extend the heels not only vertically but also proximally to give the internal structures support.

First, I created a barrier with play-doh, then added Equipak CS over the rear frog area.
I only needed support and pressure over the heel area, not the whole sole.

I followed up with several layers of Vettec Superfast over the Equipak CS.

Next I covered the hoof with a styrofoam pad and let Chloe stand on it.

After five minutes, the Superfast is dry enough for shaping it with a rasp.

Caudal view of the finished product. 

Now when placing the hoof on the ground, the heel area was extended far enough
back to have the plumb line through the canon bone being supported by heel.

Both hooves received the same treatment. I added 3/4 of an inch in length and 1/4 in height to give me a temporary dorsal hoof angle of 67 degrees. The normal range would be in the high 50's.

I trimmed and rebuilt these hooves for four months every two weeks. Time to check what results, if any, we were getting.

The x-rays taken after that time period show a difference in the coffin bone angles:

The palmar angles are now 6.83 and 5.52 positive respectively.

We succeeded. I was not sure if it was going to work, but it sure was worth the effort. These results also show hooves are remarkably adaptable and moldable. The tendon is healed and I'm going to gradually reduce heel height now. After four months of rest, Chloe is now ready for light work, mostly walking for short periods. Easyboots of various models and shapes can now be used for protection. This is not an everyday procedure and should only be attempted in close consultation with capable veterinarians.

From the Bootmeister, aka Gluemeister

Christoph Schork

Global Endurance Training Center

 

2013 Tevis Top Ten Riders Series: Beverly Gray and Jolly Sickle

Bev Gray has completed 45 100-mile events and has 18,200 career AERC endurance competition miles, of which 2,400 are with Jolly Sickle. This was Bev's fourth Tevis completion and Jolly Sickles' second Tevis completion. Bev and Jolly Sickle completed the course in ninth place.
 
Jolly Sickle (the ice-sickle in his name) was born on a snowy day in Dallas in 2004. His sire, Jolly By Golly, is a champion stallion at Mandolynn Hill Farm. He was bred to race on the track; his pedigree is Polish with a splash of Tunisian and Egyptian. Even with all the impeccable track training, he was not very enthusiastic for the race track.  
 
I received a call from Mandolynn that they had a very special, tough endurance prospect for me. When I first saw him, he reminded me of my, 9,000 race mile, Breyer model and Hall of Fame champion, AA Omner Indeed, so I took him home to Utah.
 
 
Jolly Sickle, otherwise known as Ice, started his endurance training, and at six years old we entered several endurance races. We stayed away from the front runners as he still had a race track mentality, and 50 miles is a lot longer than six furlongs. This was his foundation training for two years, until I started to enter him in 100-mile events. Ahh, finally he could focus and understand that endurance was endurance and not the track!
 
Last Spring, Jolly Sickle was trimmed way too short: he was lame for two months. How can I help Jolly? I spoke with EasyCare and they suggested trying the Easyboot Glue-Ons. I ordered all the essentials and watched every EasyCare gluing video, read and the blogs to train myself for the application process. It was definitely a learning curve: too much glue, not enough glue, glue sets up too fast, horse would not stand still (needed an assistant). And I looked like the Disney absent-minded professor with plastic gloves glued together: plastic apron and black glue-spattered running shoes.
 
 
Jolly Sickle recovered and came sound with his Glue-Ons. He won his homecoming race and got the Best Condition award. It was a very good year for Jolly Sickle, with 14 races, nine firsts and 11 BCs. He even won the AERC's National Champion Best Condition!
 
I learned the most crucial lesson of Glue-Ons was the trim. I am not a farrier, but my new understanding of hoof dynamics through my EasyCare lessons helps me to prepare for the best performance package. I’m still not overly confident in my own installation and rely on the EasyCare master professionals.
 
When I decided to ride the Tevis, there was no question that boots would be the best protection for the rugged, rocky, technical Tevis terrain: no question whatsoever. We came to Tevis barefoot knowing the EasyCare professionals would trim and fit Jolly Sickle perfectly. Since I have ridden Jolly in numerous races in Glue-Ons and Easyboot Gloves, I was confident. Jolly moved efficiently and flawlessly all day. At the vet checks I was told “he looks fantastic,” “we wish all the horses were presented this incredibly,” “good work,” etc, etc. We were smiling all day. With a fantastic crew, our entire pace and goal was finish top ten and show for Haggin Cup. Goal Achieved.
 
 
My Jolly Sickle moves so comfortably in Easyboot Glue-Ons that it reverberates in my confidence riding him and knowing I have prepared him with the best hoof protection on the market. I believe it is very important to understand the application process and I will be attending an Easyboot clinic. It is really quite simple.
 
Thank you, thank you, thank you EasyCare Inc.
 
Submitted by Beverly Gray
 
All photos courtesy of Vicki Gaebe parkcityphotography.com
 

Do or Die

I have a 12 year old mare that has a hole in her navicular bone. Big body small feet. Every time I tried to trim her correctly for the navicular she would be lame for months. The vet told me her last resort was to try hoof boots. I purchased the Easyboot Trail, added Comfort Pads and much to my delite, they are working great. It's been two weeks and there is a huge improvement. She is off her pain meds and walking around, which she hasnt done in six months. This was the last resort and it worked; these boots saved her life. I have ordered Easyboot Gloves because they are more durable and my 11 year old daughter is happy to have her horse back.


 

Name: Sherry Tancayo
City: Kaunakakai, HI, USA
Equine Discipline: Other
Favorite Boot: Easyboot Glove

Life After Glue

If you’ve used Easyboot Glue-Ons, you already know how great they are. Like most things, they take some practice to get comfortable using, but once you get it down, you just “set it and forget it” and enjoy some of the best hoof protection available. For me, the trouble comes after the ride is over and the boots are off. 50 or 100 miles isn’t enough to wear out a set of Glue-Ons. And I just can’t bring myself to throw away a perfectly good set of boots. Sure, they’re caked with Adhere and Sikaflex, but if you listen closely, you can hear the cries of an Easyboot Glove begging to be born. By following a few simple steps, you can have a perfectly usable, almost new set of Easyboot Gloves that will provide many, many more miles of hoof protection.

 

The diamond in the rough.

Step one: Order size-appropriate Glove Gaiters from EasyCare. If you have old, spare gaiters lying around, feel free to use those, too. Of course, if the gaiters are ripped or looking tired, you might as well start out with fresh, new gaiters.

Step two: Remove all leftover Sikaflex and Adhere from the boot. The best way to do this is with a dremel. You have to experiment with different dremel tips to find which one works best for removing glue, and be careful not to dremel so much that you begin dremeling the boot material (red or blue boots are great for this, as it’s very easy to tell where the glue stops and the boot material begins).

The rounded, metal attachment works great for removing old glue.
The slimmer, smaller attachment is perfect for drilling holes for gaiter attachment.

Step three: Once you’ve removed the majority of the Sikaflex and Adhere, drill holes into the pre-marked spots on the boot where you’ll need to attach the new gaiter.

Pre-marked spots for gaiter attachment.

Step four: Follow the directions provided by EasyCare for attaching the gaiter to the boot shell.

And voila. There you have it. You’ve given new life to an old boot.

And to think...you almost threw it away!

I’m all for getting the most miles possible out of my boots. But it’s important to know when a boot has had enough and is ready for retirement. When the tread on the bottom of the boot is thin and the gaiter is torn and the Velcro is hanging on by a thread, the you know the boot has reached the end of it’s life…or has it?

Definitely not trail worthy, but still works great for soaking feet.

Since moving to Nevada, my horses have developed rock-hard, concrete feet. The only way I’ve been able to trim their feet is by soaking them for a few hours prior to trimming. So those old, tattered, worn out Gloves that have no business out on the trail, have been demoted to hoof soakers. I apply the boots, “just add water”, and 3-4 hours later, I have hooves I can actually trim.

I promise I’ll actually throw them away after this stage of their life. Unless I can find something else to do with them.

Renee Robinson

Old Mac's G2 on Land and in the Ocean

Meet Maxine Factor and her Paint horse Bella. Maxine sent us some pictures and a testimonial of her successes with using barefoot hoof boots.

"I have been using Old Mac's G2 boots for my Paint mare Bella for over five years. I just ordered my fourth set of them, having used them continuously, and always getting a full year out of them, sometimes longer. My mare readily holds her hooves up for me to put her boots on and I truly believe that she really likes wearing them as she knows that her hooves are comfortably protected over all of the terrain that we cover.

Just taking five in the park.

We ride on very rocky trails, sandy beach trails, heavy thick mud during the rainy seasons, trails covered with multiple exposed old oak and pine tree roots, and even go swimming with the boots on in the ocean. I do not use her boots in the snow, although I am sure that I could if I wanted to do so.

After a cool, refreshing dip in the ocean.

Hurry Maxine....fix my floaties so we can get back out into the blue!

These boots are very economical too, and I can go weeks and weeks before my horse needs her front hooves trimmed. Bella and I both love them. Thanks EasyCare!"

- Maxine and Bella

Ready for the ride...let's GO!

We thank Maxine and Bella for using Old Mac'S G2 boots in their barefoot and booting journey.

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 the trimming. I can assist you with all of your booting needs. .

 

The Road to Barefoot

Now that my horse Skippy has been barefoot for eight months, I finally feel like I can look back and reflect on my decision, the transition process, and the outcome. Overall, I feel this is one of the best decisions I have ever made for my horse but it most definitely was not as easy as I expected. We encountered many different bumps along the way but I am happy to say that he is barefoot and sound today.

It only took me eight years to figure out that shoes were not working for my horse; during those eight years we struggled with abscesses, contracted heels, and various unexplained soundness issues. Upon the recommendation of my veterinarian, I did some research on barefoot trimming and decided that it was probably the best thing for the long-term soundness of my horse. Despite all of my research, nothing could have prepared me for my upcoming journey with the barefoot transition.

False sole, just one of the few "bumps" along the road.

The most shocking thing about the entire transition process was the initial amount of pain my horse experienced immediately after pulling his shoes. I knew that he would be sore after pulling his shoes, however, I was not at all prepared for him to be in so much pain that he did not even want to leave his stall and could barely walk. I was shocked to say the least and it was at that point I reluctantly began shopping for hoof boots. Why reluctantly? To be honest, I did not think that boots were going to help my near-crippled horse. Boy was I wrong! The hoof boots made a world of difference, my horse could actually walk again. To alleviate pain, Skippy wore boots 24/7 for the first three months of his transition. After the first three months I only booted when I rode and now, eight months barefoot, Skippy is arena sound without boots and I only need them on the trail to prevent hoof breakage.

Currently Skippy wears the Easyboot Epic, I hope to use Easyboot Gloves when his transition is complete. 

In summary, it has been a long road transitioning to barefoot but I couldn't be happier with my decision. I feel confident that I have selected the best option for my horse's soundness. If you are considering transitioning your horse, my advice would be to do your research, hang in there, and be patient- it is worth it in the end.

Maggie Molever

Maggie Molever, EasyCare CSR

Customer Service

As one of the customer service representatives, I am happy to help get your horse into the right boots. I am a strong believer in the benefits of barefoot and am currently transitioning my own horse.

 

Rocks, River Crossings and Boot Sucking Mud

Can the Easyboot Glove handle the test on the trail? Can they handle the "ha ha you will never find me" boot sucking mud of Western Washington? A training mare and I put these boots to the test. 

A variety of training is important in creating a well rounded horse. For the last few years, this mare had mostly been ridden in an indoor arena, now it was time to get back to work. This was the fist time I had used the Easyboot Glove, which are now my favorite boot. As hoof care practitioner and EasyCare dealer, I like to put the products I promote to the test. So on a chilly February day we hit the trail with the Easyboot Glove fitted to her front hooves.

You want me to do what? You do realize this is not flat, fluffy, sand, and where are my secure arena walls?

In Western Washington we have a variety of terrain, mud is quite common and often the
bane of boot users. So this is where I really wanted to test the Glove. They passed the test.  

Can the Gloves handle this decline? Hey this isn't flat either! Can we go home now?

No fear! Our trail mate on her trusty mare Dandy crossing the cold river. Dandy also wears the Easyboot
Glove when needed, she has beautiful bare hooves that can usually handle the trail bootless.

How will the Easyboot Gloves do on this rocky road? They did great protecting the mares arena conditioned hooves. 

 

The Easyboot Glove survived the test of boot sucking mud, rivers, rocky roads, steep slippery declines and uneven forest terrain. They also protected this mares arena conditioned feet. To successfully use the Glove, a good fit and trim are important. Incorrect fit and/or too long between trims can result in a lost boot. These photos were taken back in February 2011, and to this day the Easyboot Glove is still my favorite all purpose boot.  

Amy Allen, Amy Allen Horsemanship

Adapting to Change

A few months ago, my husband, my dogs and my little herd of horses moved to a beautiful house on a beautiful piece of land. We've been working towards the goal of purchasing horse property for some time, and dreams finally became reality. The day we signed the papers is still a blur in my mind, and I still can't believe I was able to wait two whole weeks before bringing home the horses. 

They were in heaven, and I quickly cut off the irrigation. 

It wasn't a difficult adjustment, for me anyway. Unfortunately for my IR mare I was leasing, the green grass was not agreeable to her metabolic state. Before it became an issue, she went home and I brought back baby. My three geldings adjusted quickly and I am still learning the balance of keeping pasture irrigated enough not to die, but not enough to be lush. You see, the more you know about ideal horse-keeping, the more things like gorgeous green pastures and soft sand arenas become less than ideal living situations. That said, I still wanted to take advantage of the acreage and reduce my hay bill by utilizing the pastures as the primary food source for my ponies. Luckily, I like micro-managing and am open to change as necessary.

The pastures now look like this, and no one has died of starvation, yet.
The growing yearling is not an accurate representation of the rest of the "herd." 

Because my horses are athletes, or are supposed to be athletes, or could be athletes if I could focus on more than three things at once, soundness is imperative. The boarding situation where they came from was vastly different than their new digs. 180 acres of dry desert hills is completely different than six acres of paddock and pasture. I know plenty of successful endurance horses who thrive in similar situations so I wasn't too terribly concerned. My biggest worry was that they would lose their rock-hard feet and might not be as sound on the trail as they were when living like wild ponies at the ranch. Thus far, I truly haven't noticed much of a difference while trimming. Chant's feet are rock-hard while Topper's are still soft - just like always. 

I still use my Easyboot Gloves on most of my training rides and the rides where I ride barefoot don't seem any different. Perhaps it will take awhile to see the negative effects of a grass pasture, but I am willing to adapt as necessary. We are already making plans to add pea gravel to the horses night paddocks and loafing areas. For the first time ever, my horses are eating 100% grass hay and I am able to feed them out of slow feeders when they get hay. The best part would probably have to be the ample shade, which I have fully taken advantage of to trim regularly despite 100+ degree heat. That, and the fully stocked fridge that's inside the house. With air conditioning. Yesssss. 

My favorite spot. The Tree of Patience, Trimming Tree.
Perpetual shade and always a breeze. Love it!

Now that we're all settled in and adapting to the changes, my focus has been shifting back to endurance. For the first time in many years, I haven't ridden one endurance mile, much less the normal hundreds I would have been at by now at this point in the season. While I have actually enjoyed the break, I am now looking forward to getting Chant to some of our gorgeous fall rides in the hopefully much COOLER weather! I am also focusing on two new up-n-comers, who have been getting some regular hoof trimming and are about set for their first official Glove fittings.

New pony, new feet. We'll fix them fast. 

I have been laughing at myself lately, as my reality has become so distorted that I now look at Coach bags as X-ton of hay and become excited at the thought of gravel. I am also excited at the thought of the seasons changing and craving the scent of fall in the air. I'm sure before I know it, I'll be cursing the mud and the wind and the rain, but for now I'll enjoy the ride. Hopefully it's a smooth one! 

EasyShoe Gluing Clinic Coming To Your Area?

EasyCare had the opportunity to present the new prototype EasyShoe and the associated gluing methods for the American Hoof Association on Sunday July 28th via an online web platform.  Although technology foiled the day and internet speeds didn't allow for an efficient presentation, we have received a great deal of interest regarding clinics for the EasyShoe and gluing methods for Easyboot Glue-On hoof boots and EasyShoe application. 

Heel expansion in the EasyShoe during an application cycle.

Based on the large amount of interest we are considering doing two or three clinics in October, November and December of 2013.  The clinics would cover the details of successful gluing, gluing in different climates, using different types of adhesives, hoof prep for gluing and basic hoof trimming techniques for successful hoof boot use.  The goal would be to give each participant the opportunity to prep and apply during the clinic - hands on, small and one on one.  The $150.00 cost of the clinic will cover supplies. 

Curtis Burns explaining proper hoof prep techniques.

Clinic #1 - Colorado.  Either in the Denver or Durango area.  October 12th.  Limited to the first 30 participants!  Click here to secure your spot today.  We will do a second clinic on the east coast of the USA if the Colorado clinic quickly fills and we have interest in a second venue. 

Clinic #2 - East Coast.  Looking for locations and a practitioner to help us host.  November 16th.  Click here if you have interest in attending or hosting an East Coast clinic.  We will move forward and schedule an amazing clinic based on the interest level. 

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.

 

Roll With It!

The "mustang roll", or rounding of the edges of the hoof wall, was first noticed by observing the way the wild mustangs of the western United States wear their hooves through constant movement over abrasive terrain. Some form of a roll has become the hallmark or calling card of those who align themselves in some way as doing a "natural trim" and as anyone who knows us by now is well aware, we at Wild Hearts take the roll seriously! There is surprisingly much to it, to the point I had a hard time keeping this article short enough.
 
So what is the deal with the roll?  What are some reasons why it's beneficial and important?

An actual mustang hoof showing off his naturally worn roll.

BREAKOVER
Perhaps most importantly, the mustang roll allows us to shorten a horse's breakover without shortening the vertical toe height beneath the coffin bone (which, especially on a front foot, could cause soreness). For our approach to trimming, if you extrapolated a line from the edge of the coffin bone to the ground, just in front of that is where we would like the hoof to leave the ground or 'break over'. Far too often there is excess hoof wall in front of that line, which delays the hoof leaving the ground and causes strain on the entire hoof capsule and limb of the horse. Long toes draw the hoof forward which collapses the bars forward and out, contracts the foot, contributes to thin soles, thrush, etc.  It's bad foot mojo!

The orange line on this radiograph represents the approximate desirable location of breakover, with the blue
curved line to represent approximate location of the bevel/roll. There are other factors at work with the horse
in this image, but for the point of the discussion I tried to choose a pretty clear case of a toe which is too long!

The hoof wall is thicker at the toe from approximately 10-2 o'clock, and the lamina are closer in proximity in that area as well. I personally believe this is because the toe area has evolved over the history of the equine to be able to handle the demands of high wear in this area as a horse moves. The majority of domestic horses simply cannot duplicate that type of wear which causes the epidemic of long toes that we see.

INWARD VS. OUTWARD PRESSURE
The roll works with the ground to push the hoof wall and lamina against the internal structures, rather than a sharp or straight edge working against the ground to further pry away the wall from the hoof as the horse moves. Think of the end of a wooden broom handle that has been cut to a sharp edge, and then is ground into the ground. The edges would fray and pry away further with each impact. On the other hand, if the edge was rounded, as the handle was pounded into the ground the rounded edges would simply compact even tighter.

BALANCE
By "raising" the roll or putting on a steeper and higher bevel in areas of less wear on a less than straight horse (which is most of them!), we can balance the rate of wear more evenly across the foot. This means the horse will look and be more balanced as their trim cycle progresses.

APPEARANCE
The roll smooths the rough edges of damaged wall such as from nail holes or blown abscesses and a well done roll can make a hoof look neat and polished (and keep it that way, thanks to the inward pressure effect mentioned above). Many people unfortunately have associated a barefoot horse with neglect or lack of use, often because of the chipping and cracking that comes from a too-long trim schedule and a messy appearance to the foot. Clean, balanced rolls help eliminate this, and make a hoof look good visually as well as providing good functionality!
            
Roll, bevel, dubbing - the same thing?
Not really. A roll is a rounded outer edge to the hoof wall. A bevel is more about the angle we take with a rasp or nippers from the bottom of the hoof. We typically roll the top edge of our bevel. Dubbing is more like a thinning and bullnosing of the wall, and in my opinion not something that is positively functional for a hoof.    

Mario applies a mustang roll.

You can over do a roll.
A weak, separated, shelly wall is not able to do its job of sharing the support load for a hoof, and may need to be rolled away for the short term while healthier wall is grown in. The horse may be fine with this but most likely will need to wear hoof boots for comfort until his hoof can perform better. He may even be more comfortable without the leverage on his hoof from the disconnected wall. But an otherwise healthy, well connected hoof can become sore and require boots if you roll away too much wall or start the roll too close to the sole - especially beyond the 10-2 o'clock point.  Horses with already short upright toes, or with previously thinned walls at the toes, will not be able to have as big a roll as other cases. But with that said...

Size matters!
A mustang wears his roll onto his hoof every day through his constant movement. Our roll has to last as long as possible until we can re-trim the horse. In most horses in our area, even a big "Mario Roll" will last about four weeks before it fades away with the growth of the hoof. By a typical five to six week maintenance trim, most horses rolls are gone or nearly gone, but nothing has gotten away from us to where problems have begun. Small superficial chipping is ok and just cosmetic, but if there are bigger issues we definitely need to look at the diet, trim cycle length, hoof booting needs, etc.

 "A good mustang roll is the best friend of natural hoof trimming" ~ Paige Poss, www.ironfreehoof.com  

Submitted by Sossity Gargiulo, Wild Hearts Hoof Care - See more at: http://blog.easycareinc.com/blog/insights-from-the-inside#sthash.n9OgtBzt.dpuf

 
Sossity Gargiulo, Wild Hearts Hoof Care