The Dynamic Hoof

As the seasons change so do horses' hooves. Many people view horses' hooves as static objects that do not change significantly once the horse has reached maturity. In actuality, the hoof is incredibly dynamic and influenced by a multitude of factors including: trim style, length of trim cycle, diet, environment and movement. Earlier this month I received an email from a customer concerned about heel rubs after using the Easyboot Glove Back Country. I asked him to send photos of the boot on the horse's hoof and it was immediately apparent the boot was several sizes too small.

Poor Fit

The bulging shows this boot is several sizes too small.

After further investigation I realized I had done a Boot Fit Analysis for this customer in the spring and I had actually recommended this size. I was very confused; I would have never recommended this fit. After reviewing the photos from the spring it became evident that the hoof had changed drastically since then. The horse had been injured for a few months and the owner had been busy with work and had not used the boots until recently. Also, the horse had been on a 6-7 week trim cycle and was trimmed by the same farrier.

Spring DorsalFall Dorsal

Dorsal views spring (left) and fall (right).

Spring LateralFall Lateral

Lateral views spring (left) and fall (right).

The owner had misplaced the photos from the spring and when I sent them to him he was stunned. He had not realized how much the hooves had changed and trusted his farrier knew what was best. The owner has since decided to use a new farrier and to pay close attention to his horse's hooves. This story illustrates several things. First, understanding basic hoof form and function is vital for every owner. If you do not understand something your hoof care practitioner is doing, ask them about it. A good practitioner should be open to sharing knowledge with the owner. Second, boot fitting is not an activity that you only do once. If you notice changes in your horse's fit, re-measure the hooves to help verify the fit. Finally, keep written records of your horse's measurements as well as photo records. When you see your horse on a daily basis it can be hard to identify changes but viewing photos side by side make them easy to spot.

Alayna Wiley

Alayna Wiley, EasyCare CSR

Customer Service

As one of the customer service representatives, I am happy to help get your horse into the right boots. I have plenty of hands on experience since my horses have been barefoot and booted since 2003.

 

Horse Hoof Boots Through the Years

Submitted by Karen Bumgarner, Team Easyboot 2012 Member

Go back through the endurance time tunnel, way back, to 1977: my first year of endurance riding. I was fresh off the racetrack, Thoroughbreds and ponyhorses. And it was my Appaloosa outride and ponyhorse that I hauled to Vale, OR for my very first AERC ride, the Oregon Trail Endurance Ride. Most of the time my ponyhorses were barefoot and I trimmed my own. But for an endurance ride I found a plater to put on a set of steel training plates and leather pads on Sunny. There were no "cowboy" shoers available as we called them. 

That ride was a big 50 mile loop and at 40 miles I cut out the the ragged remains of my leather pads with a pocket knife. At the finish Sunny's plates were so thin a guy could have shaved with them. This ride was my first introduction to Easyboots. A few people used them over shoes. Hmmmm, have to check into that. I also needed to learn a better way to carry water, that water tank stuff didn't taste very good. But it was better than nothing. We lived without a lot of frills back then, but that's another story.

Sunny Spots R and myself at Mt Burney ride, 1978, in California with his Easyboots. Hughes photo.

At one of the rides I met Neil and Lucille Glass and I got myself some Easyboots. We had a lot to talk about because Neil rode a big Appaloosa gelding too. Good times, as I look back on the many people I met in the early days of the sport.

I used the old style Easyboot on the front of Zapped+/ over his shoes on the multi-day rides for added rock protection. I always carried one for a "spare tire" and often loaned my boots out to others in need. 

Andi and me riding Fort Schellbourne in 2000. Andi rode SH Frisky Affair who lost a shoe in the hind and we booted her bare hoof to finish. Zap had them on his fronts over shoes.

I wasn't always the fastest rider but we often went a lot of miles. Sunny Spots R completed 4,410 AERC miles, Moka's Pat-A-Dott 5,515 miles, Zapped+/ 6,480 miles. Often with Easyboots over shoes. As I look back, I think I should have used them over shoes a lot more often than I did.

Fast forward to just a the 90s when Garrett Ford purchased Easycare, Inc and improved upon Neil's design of Easyboots, with Bares and the Epics, then the Edge. And then what I think is the greatest of all, the Glove. I had tried to use the other models full time when riding, but for various reasons they just didn't quite work out. 

But the Glove. Ah, love the Glove. Easy to apply, easy to fit, easy for me to become even more independent. I love indpendence

Z Summer Thunder getting his 3,000 miles at Owyhee Canyonlands, Steve Bradley photo.

The horses that I have today have completed most of their rides in Gloves or Glue-Ons. The problems encountered with the Gloves have been few and far between, and it seems as though Easycare or a Team Easyboot member is always there to help us think it through. A huge thanks for that.

Z Blue Lightening, getting his 1,000 miles at Owyhee Halloweenies, another Steve Bradley photo.

Could we have done the miles without Easyboots of any kind over the years? Maybe yes maybe no. I do know that with using boots that my horses have less leg filling after the rides because the frog can still circulate blood through the hoof. The hoof can also flex, contract and expand just as it does when barefoot without a boot. I am very happy to tell you that my horses have healthy happy hooves and no problems, and I have no intention of returning to shoes. You just can't beat a recipe that helps keep a good horse sound for the miles.

Karen Bumgarner

Reflections On Booting Lessons Learned

Submitted by Leslie Spitzer, Team Easyboot 2012 Member

It's hard to believe that yet another ride season is wrapping up. It seems like it just started. Also along with the end of ride season another year of participating in Team Easyboot is coming to a close. It was a great year and for me, I feel like my knowledge of hoofcare and booting increased immensely. I feel like I've come to a point where I can truly help out others with confidence and share that knowledge all while realizing I am still a student and always will be. There is always something new to learn or something that can be made better.

This was my third year with barefoot/booted horses. I found myself coming into the season still struggling with booting challenges with my main horse, Eagle. I've always been fully open about the fact that I consider him to be the worlds most difficult horse to boot due to his extreme movement, power and his hoof shape. I fully believe in the choice I've made for him to be barefoot/booted so even though I've been tempted, I've stuck with the boots always trying to find solutions to make it work better for us.

Glue-Ons - our standard boot for endurance rides.

I'll always prefer Glue-Ons for 100's but I won't lie, I was tiring of having to use them for 50's. I was quite envious of those who could just slap boots on and go and fantasized about how lovely that would be. Stubborn streak in full operation, I decided I was going to work on that problem and try and solve it. First of all, I made sure I was working with a properly trimmed hoof. I then took Mueller Athletic Tape and wrapped it around the hoof 4 times in the front and 5 times in the rear. I applied Sikaflex to the sole of the hoof with a spatula. I then worked and got the boots on and seated correctly. I then took a hoofpick and pried the boot open at the quarters just enough to get a tip from the Adhere gun in there and I squeezed a bit in. I then did a top bead of Adhere around the boot.  So, it wasn't exactly as easy as slapping on a boot and going, but it was easier than gluing shells - kind of a happy medium. I was extremely happy with the result as my boots stayed on.

Easyboot Gloves on the evening before the ride. Unfortunately, there were no pics of the process.

At the next ride we went to I decided to go this route again, only I decided to use Glove Back Country Boots in the front and Gloves in the rear. I'd been having pretty good luck with the Back Country in training and I thought it would be fun to see how they did. I wasn't even sure if anybody else had actually done a 50 mile ride in them. The procedure I used for the fronts and Back Country was just Sika Flex in the sole and 4 wraps of Mueller Athletic Tape. I used Sika on the soles in the rear and 5 wraps of tape. I then quickly realized my half empty tube of Adhere was not mixing properly so I ditched it and just squeezed some Sika in the quarters and did a top bead around the boot. It worked fabulously - no lost boots.

I have to say I am quite impressed with the Glove Back Country boots. I think it is going to be more of an endurance boot than previously thought. It never budged and I am sized up half a size from our normal Glove size. We traveled at all gaits and at competitive speeds. I had not previously used the Back Country in deep footing or lots of sand (both of which there was a lot) so I did wrap some duct tape around the boot to make sure I would not have to worry about sand affecting the velcro. One thing to note, if riding in deep sand, check at the stops for any accumulation in the gaiters we did have some. At home we do not have really deep footing and I've never had anything accumulate in them. 

Cantering along in our Back Country/Glove combo (Baylor/Gore photo).

Eagle showing off his big trot in the Back Country/Glove combo. (Baylor/Gore photo)

Post ride. The duct tape is a nice touch, don't you think?

In reflecting back on the year in general, I am pleased to say I am noticing a real paradigm shift to boot usage in my local area. I have traveled to rides in different regions over the past few years and had been really surprised at how many boot users I saw compared to my own area. I don't know why this was the case, it just was. I can only assume it's shifting because people cannot ignore the statistics and the successes. It is a very valid option and becoming quite mainstream. I like to think maybe, possibly I have had a small influence in this shift on my local level. I am an advocate of barefoot/booted and I do believe it to be best. My most important lesson has been to approach softly, use few words, lead by example and success and be available to help and answer questions. Plant the seed, nurture it and wow - suddenly people are calling and asking for the help to transition to barefoot/booted. 

I'm really excited and proud to say there are quite a few horses transitioning local right now that I've had a hand in helping out. It's a huge responsibility but I credit being a member of Team Easyboot as an excellent resource. I've made the connections I need so I can get help or ask a question or opinion on my work.

A horse we are helping transition with Navicular Syndrome. This was about 6 weeks ago the day these shoes were pulled.

Same foot six weeks later.  He's got a long way to go but we are seeing some changes.

It's exciting and fulfilling to me to be helping in change and progress. I don't know that I'd have the confidence, the knowledge or the feeling of challenging myself to learn more if it were not for my involvement with Team Easyboot and the resources and folks I've met through Easycare. I'm thankful for that and I can't wait to see what's in store for next year.

What I am looking forward to next year. This is four year old Finney, my first home-bred, never shod horse. 

Leslie Spitzer

Horse Sports, Why Participate If You Can't Influence The Results?

What we are all really looking for is an experience that lets us feel the rapture of being alive” - Joseph Campbell

Nouveau Rich getting ready for The Delaware Park Arabian ClassicWow, was I nervous!

In sport, there is nothing that compares to the feeling you get before, during and after your horse competes on the race track.  The adrenaline, the nervous energy and the sense of hope is like few feelings in life.  Flat track racing definitely makes you feel alive!

I got involved with the sport of racing flat track Arabians for several reasons.  First, many of the best endurance horses come from the track and I wanted to be able to select some of my future endurance horses early and personally be involved in their progress and early training at the track.  Second, I wanted to develop and shoe/boot option that would both conform to track traction rules and still allow the hoof to expand and contract as nature intended.  Having my own horses at the track would be the quickest way to test these new designs and make modifications.  Finally, I wanted to see the inside of a new industry and learn as a horseman. 

Pass Play in a new prototype design before heading to Lone Star to race. 

I've grown up with endurance horses and the sport of endurance gives riders and participants the opportunity to be involved with horse selection, conditioning, feeding, tack selection, hoof protection, hoof trimming, race pacing, race selection, etc.  If you are unhappy with your results in an endurance race, the person in the mirror is the only place to point blame.  If you are unhappy with your horse's feet or your horse's body condition, there is no one to fault but yourself. 

EasyCare horses definitely had some success at the track in our first year but I guess my biggest take away from the first year with horses on the track is the lack of control.  The biggest question I continue to ask myself is, as an out-of-state owner how can EasyCare participate and improve the chances of our personal horses and at the same time insure they have a life after racing?  I don't have all the answers but my thoughts as a new owner are listed below. 

1.  Start with the best racing stock you can afford.  In the Arabian track game there are many great breeders.  I personally hit it off early with Dianne Waldron and Leah Bates of Rosebrook Farm.  I purchased several horses from Rosebrook and I've been very happy with the quality and advice.

2.  Pick a trainer that you trust, a trainer that has the horses best interest at heart and communicates well with you.  In the first year I had the opportunity to learn from three trainers and see the differences in each. 

3.  Demand good hoof care and don't settle for hoof shape or length that your don't agree with. 

4.  Base training: do some of the base training at home.  Get them legged up so they can go to the track or your trainer with base.  This base will keep them more sound and cut your training bills.

After a year racing Arabians at Delaware Park, Arapahoe Park and Lone Star Park, EasyCare has learned a great deal and only scratched the surface.  We have followed the rules and raced at each track in the the new EasyCare shoe/boot.  If our new shoe/boot can be part of extending the careers and soundness of a handful of these horses the project and time at the races will be a success. 

What are your suggestions that would give an out of state owner the ability to participate more in the results?

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.

 

Who Can Concentrate When Sandy Blows In? We Can

This past weekend, as Hurricane Sandy was coming up the coast, we held our 5th Annual Fall Daisy Haven Farm Recognizing Hoof Capsule Distortion Workshop in Parkesburg, Pennsylvania.

Daisy Haven Farm right in the path of Sandy!

It was attended by a large group of apparent die-hard hoof care providers, massage therapists, horse owners, and veterinarians. They brought with them a broad range of experiences and education from many locations across the country. The workshop was geared towards recognizing hoof capsule distortion utilizing a variety of teaching tools to train your eye.

 

As we kept one wary eye on Sandy, the workshop covered a wide variety of subject matter: structure and function of the foot, the impact of environment, the feet/teeth/body connection, amongst many other things. 

 

 

 

However, what stands out to me most after this weekend is the ability of our students to persevere in the face of impending catastrophic weather. Talk about a dedicated group of people. Despite all the juggling we had to do, squeezing a four day course into three days given the impending storm, the participants’ enthusiasm overcame the wind whipping through the trees as the rain started driving through the area at the lead edge of the storm.  

 

 

What makes our workshops unique amongst other hoof workshops is that we’re not here to teach you a trim style. Our goal is to help our students recognize hoof capsule distortions on a large and small scale, orienting the foot around the center of articulation of the hoof capsule. To facilitate this we utilize our extensive database of hoof pictures with corresponding x-rays. We also use the radiograph equipment on cadaver legs throughout the workshop to provide instant feedback to each participant.  

 

At the beginning of the workshop we found most students had a much more difficult time placing the coffin bone (P3) in the hoof capsule than they anticipated. This is typical for most workshops.  We then utilized our case studies to help students build a more diverse range of understanding of how the foot distorts and what is going on on the inside.

 

 

As the clouds came rolling in, we moved on to cadaver hoof analysis, where students applied theory to the foot in front of them. We radiographed each cadaver leg before the course, and then students checked their work with after x-rays.  

 

 

 

 

Whether it was the motivation of Sandy creeping closer, or just the group of exceptionally bright attendees (I believe the latter), after the first few days of the clinic every student was significantly more consistent at placing P3 in the hoof capsule. In fact very consistent, as the plan the students implemented on their cadaver hooves proved to be spot-on when examining the after radiographs.

 

 

We did actually squeeze in some work on live horses, utilizing our farrier shop for work with composite shoes and hunkering down in the back of the barn out of the wind and rain to correct some significant distortion in a few barefoot horses. These were truly die-hard hoof people.

 

 

A few of the students got to experience the full rage of Sandy with us as their travel home was too treacherous. We had a lot of fun “talking hoof” during the storm and were grateful to keep power so the computer was accessible.

 

 

We always ask our students for their feedback after a course, so we know what they found most impactful, not to mention what we can improve on for the next course. Here are just a few comments from this weekend’s participants. I believe they say it better than I ever could.

 

“The most impactful exercise for me was being challenged to visualize the bone and soft tissue placement inside the hoof. Having the cadaver legs already numbered and x-rayed so that we could trim the feet and then have the farrier work reviewed by you and your staff was awesome. Having the legs x-rayed so that we could see the resulting change hoof/laminar relation, palmar angle change, and bone alignment was mind blowing. This had to be the neatest clinic I’ve ever been to.”  Tony H., North Carolina, Farrier

 

“Your format with lecture & discussion and then the mapping and trimming is genius! That combined with digital x-ray "on the spot" plus your feedback was absolutely incredible. One of the things that I am always impressed with is your ability to convey your message without "giving away " all the answers. Causing your students to think and formulate their own plan makes you a very good teacher! One thing that I noticed is your exceptional ability to adapt to change. With the storm coming in, you had to make quick decisions about how to proceed. I observed you "behind the scenes" adjusting the schedule and placing certain members of your team with certain students/personalities so that they would get the most out of the time available. Finally another high point for me was the fact that you draw a diverse crowd. I was able to meet other barefoot people, metal farriers and horse owners, all with seemingly open minds! I was very nice and it has changed my opinion about other areas in hoof care that I was previously close minded to. Thank you again and hats off to you, your team, husband and family!”.  Joe L., New York, Barefoot Trimmer

 

“The most helpful thing is learning about how a good trim can effect the center of rotation: if a horse is going to apply all that weight-bearing for 100 miles, you need it to be perfectly balanced and perfectly aligned.” Philip H., New Mexico, Endurance Manager/Trainer, and Barefoot Trimmer

 

“I think [the cadavers] help new trimmers and even experienced trimmers by allowing them to trim without the risk of injuring a live horse. And being able to dissect the foot and radiograph it are some of the best learning tools.”  Tony G., Pennsylvania, Farrier

 

“As a hoof care professional it is a great opportunity to check the internal results of your trim using an on-site radiograph machine.”  Kate S., Pennsylvania, Farrier

 

I feel incredibly fortunate to have had the benefit of the digital x-ray machine in my own hoof care practice for the past five years. It has taught me an incredible amount about the foot and how to interpret the external landmarks in relation to the internal structures. I am grateful to be able to share that experience with others and through them, help more horses, apparently regardless of the weather.

 

For more information on future workshops in recognizing hoof capsule distortion please see our website:  www.DaisyHavenFarm.com.

November 2012: Beth's Western Wear

Beth’s Western Wear, in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, became an EasyCare dealer on April 4, 2012, placed their first order on April 10, 2012 and opened the doors to their new store in May of 2012.  Since that time, they have done so well and placed so many orders that they have achieved new pricing level status through EasyCare in six short months.

Beth states, “Before we even opened our doors, EasyCare was on the top of our list as products that we wanted to sell in our retail store. We like to carry products that we have tried and believe in and the Easyboots are, by far, the best!” They have, personally, been using EasyCare boots for four years.

Beth’s Western Wear carries the Easyboot Glove, the Glove Back Country and, of course, accessories such as Power Straps and Gaiters. Beth says that her best seller is the Glove Back Country because it works best for customers that maintain a six week trim cycle. However, the Glove is always her first suggestion for those customers on a four week trim cycle. She says that she loves the sleek design and the “no nonsense” easiness of the Glove. Beth’s Western Wear maintains a Fit Kit in their store for fitting customer’s horses.

Beth’s husband, Steve, is a barefoot trimmer. After years of frustration with one of their horses hoof issues, they just knew there had to be other methods. They started searching for answers and came across one of Pete Ramey’s books, which started Steve on the path to becoming a trimmer. They found that within a couple trims, the same horse that was having the hoof issues, was back up and running. He was sound again and acting like a four year old, which is great because he was seventeen at that time! Steve has been trimming their own horses for four years now and they both say that they will never go back to putting shoes on for any reason. Beth says there is not a place that they have ridden in the United States, from the Big Horn Mountains in Wyoming to the thick mud of the Shawnee National Forest, that the boots haven’t provided great protection for their horses. She said the first pair of Glove boots that they purchased for their TWH, Diamond, had approximately 2000 miles on them before the toe wore through. And, they only had to change the gaiters one time on that set.

Beth feels that their most successful marketing strategy is using their products. She said people see them out on the trail and they always ask about the hoof boots. People see that the boots work and that there is no reason for metal shoes. In fact, when packing for a trail ride, they always take their Fit Kit with them in case someone wants a fitting right away and they always carry brochures.

Steve and Beth own two Tennessee Walkers and two Missouri Fox Trotters. All of their horses are barefoot and they all have their own sets of boots. Beth’s personal favorite is the Glove.  Steve and Beth have been in the horse industry for over seventeen years and are avid trail riders, traveling all over the United States.

Beth states that she has watched the hoof care industry even more closely over the last four years and feels that huge steps have been taken to educate horse owners on hoof care and protective hoof boots. She feels that hoof boots have gone from “clunky” to very stream lined and very user friendly. She said that in the last couple of years, they have watched more and more people rethink putting shoes on their horses and letting them go barefoot with the help of boots.

Beth’s Western Wear’s On-Line Store is now open and you can visit them at bethswesternwear.com.
 

The Horse's Hoof Fall 2012

As this year's riding season comes to an end, many members of Team Easyboot 2012 have been reflecting on their experiences over the past year. One thing I can say for certain is it's been a great year for Easyboots! One illustration of this is the Fall 2012 edition of The Horse's Hoof, which features EasyCare's marketing director Kevin Myers riding "Far" in Easyboot Glue-Ons. The Horse's Hoof was created in 2000 by professional trimmer James Welz and his wife Yvonne Welz. For over a year, the quarterly magazine's 32 pages have been printed in full color in addition to being available online as a PDF. This magazine features articles from various practioners and owners as well as industry leaders such as Jaime Jackson, Dr. Robert Bower, Dr. Hiltrud Strasser, Pete Ramey and KC La Pierre. What I find most interesting about this magazine is they do not hesitate to publish varied and sometimes contradictory viewpoints on hoof care. It's a great resource for both horse owners and trimmers.

The Horse's Hoof Fall 2012

Kevin Myers on the Fall 2012 issue of The Horse's Hoof. Photo by Lynne Glazer.

In this issue, Kevin discusses Barefoot-Booted Horses and the Tevis Cup. The Tevis Cup is considered to be the toughest 100-mile horse ride in the world and this year the first four horses to cross the finish line were all in Easyboot Glue-Ons. EasyCare's owner, Garrett Ford, finished first on The Fury followed by Lisa Ford and Cyclone, Kevin Myers and Auli Farwa, and Rusty Toth and Farrabba - who was awarded the Haggin Cup for best condition of the top 10 finishers. Some of the other articles featured in the Fall 2012 issue are: Successful Barefoot Police Horses, Navicular and Entheseophytes on the Coffin Bone, Learning Abrasive Trimming, and The Healthy Hoof. The annual subscription is only $25 for US residents, a bargain for such a diverse and informative magazine.

Garrett and The Fury

Garrett Ford and The Fury finished first at the 2012 Tevis Cup. Photo by Judith Moore.

Alayna Wiley

Alayna Wiley, EasyCare CSR

Customer Service

As one of the customer service representatives, I am happy to help get your horse into the right boots. I have plenty of hands on experience since my horses have been barefoot and booted since 2003.

 

High Heels and Sore Toes, Not Just on Girls Night Out

Submitted by Tennesee Mahoney, Team Easyboot 2012 Member

We all know (directly or indirectly) the often painful results associated with a day or night in high heels.  I remind myself every girls-night-out.  Of course, I love getting spruced up, but I don’t wear pumps every day, and I guarantee I will never go jogging in them. Let's face it, wearing high heels often leads to having sore toes and, depending on the shoe’s fit, usually rubs on our heels, which require band-aids.

High Heels = Sore toes + heel rubs

It's really no different with horses.  This summer, one of the things that I learned, thanks to the bootmeister's expert guidance and several patient equine athletes, is how to get heels done right.  I have always had horses with naturally low heels, so trimming them was easy…I never touched the heels.  Thanks to a barefoot lifestyle, they kept their heels right where they needed to be, or perhaps even a little low, so I would trim everything else and leave the heels as nature intended.

Over the last year or two, however, I have acquired several horses who have naturally higher heels and steeper angles.  Even living and training barefoot, they have too much heel.  The methodology of “don’t touch the heel” no longer worked for me, because they would get too high.  There are many tell-tale signs of high heels, but for the average ‘booter’ there are several things that should easily catch your eye as you go to boot your mount: the plumb line through the cannon bone can be off.

The angle that the boot’s shell creates with the horse’s hoof and hairline become reversed, the angle should open from the heel to the toe (see below,) and not be drastic.

As opposed to an angle that opens from the toe to the heel (see below,) or anything drastic.

And the easiest sign to identify is killer heel rubs.  (I honestly don’t have a picture of that for you!)  Don’t blame the boot, it’s a boot fit/hoof trim issue and not a design flaw.  All that said, every horse is different, and there are extremes at both ends (high heels and low heels,) that are completely natural, functional, and sadly, out of the average range of hoof angles/shapes that boots are designed to fit.  You can see how high this horse's heel bulbs are in the gaiter.

Here is one example I want to share with you.  This horse was tender-footed, equally on both of his front feet before this trim, even in boots.  His heels appeared to be high, but in his defense, he does have a naturally steep hoof angle and pastern.  He may also be a candidate for the ‘wides’ (Easyboot Glove or Glue-On Wide.) Remember when looking at these that I am not a professional trimmer, I am learning, and have much to learn, so take it easy on me. 

The sore-toed-high-heeled hoof.

Clean up the frog a litttle, get your bearings.

Clean up the sole and bars (he was load-bearing on his bars), I used a Merlin for this because he had nice hard sole, but it was thick enough in places that I was afraid it could cause pressure points.

Knowing now how deep I could safely go, and knowing that his heels should be way back at the widest point of his frog, I did the rest of my trim.  

I brought his heels down and back, and touched up the rest of the hoof wall to level everything  out.  I barely took any length off of the toe.  Just behind the white line, significant redness became visible immediatly, after a very light wrasping, where the horse had been toe sore, so I used my hoof knife to relieve the pressure there.  Having high heels was clearly making him bear too much weight on his toes, and his hoof was putting out excess callus on the toe to defend itself.  You can also see where I had to dig out a small rock that was jammed up in his white line causing even more tenderness, there was still some debris up in the hole but that was as far as I fealt comfortable digging, and he let me know that having the rock removed relieved some pain.  

His other front hoof was the same story but without the pea gravel.  The horse was sound after the trim, not tender on his toes any more.  He even went on a ride.  His Easyboot gloves fit his heel bulbs better, so they didn't rub, and were much less likely to flip off.  Remember when adjusting heel hight that you don't want to do anything too drastic since you will be changing the "tension" on the horse's tendons, so if you have a long way to go, do it in steps.  This horse still has a little ways to go.  Here is the previous image with lines drawn in.

I finished this trim by beveling the edge (mustang roll,) and dripping some iodine into his frog and the pea-gravel-hole.  But the moral of the story is; High heels lead to sore toes, and if you're a booter, it will also lead to heel rubs, so if you are having either or both of those problems, you may want to double check your horse's heel height, or kick off your high heels and put on some flip flops.

Tennesee Mahoney

 

Expanding on a Growing Theme

November can be grey and dark, but never when working with hooves. For part of the month, I will be traveling to Europe to continue the program of conducting clinics on Natural Hoof Care, Barefoot trimming, application of  Easyboot Glue-Ons and Easyboot Gloves.

Glue on Easyboot  (This boot will be covering 155 miles during the Moab Canyon Endurance Race).

For the last few years, I have been traveling 2 to 3 times a year to Europe to hold these workshops. Now, one might reckon that Europeans had horses for thousands of years and long before Americans even worked with horses. And one might conclude that it would not take a hoof care professional from the USA to teach Europeans how to shoe a horse or how to handle horse hoof problems.

All true. But Europeans are also more traditionalists and conservative in their approach. For the most part, they had been content with their various metal shoes. After all, they served them well for thousands of years. It was mainly here in the USA where the hoof boot revolution started. German and Austrian companies have been paving the way somewhat with their research and development of polyurethane shoes. Cera and Equiflex stand out and were more progressive in their approach of inventing and using alternate hoof protection methods. Hildrud Strasser started a bare foot trim program in Germany. Yet, most horse owners stayed with metal shoes.

Medieval horse rider in Europe.

It was not till forwar- thinking people like Pete Ramey brought Natural Horse Care into the awareness of the general equestrian community and EasyCare developed an encompassing Protective Horse Boot program that horse communities outside the Northamerican continent took notice.

What makes this trip even more worth mentioning is the fact  that it will lead me to France (Brest) and Switzerland (Zurich). Both countries have mostly been using steel shoes in their equestrian disciplines and pursuits. Even at the highest FEI level, French riders preferred steel shoes on their horses. Now we see that French and Swiss endurance riders want to expand their horizons and learn and study more about protective horse boots.

All the combined efforts by the EasyCare staff and the professional trimmers as well as the Team Easyboot members in educating about the benefits of the EasyCare boots bear fruit worldwide and this expansion is ever continuing.

These boots were applied at the GETC facility in Moab. GETC (Global Endurance Training Center) is also providing funding for this trip.

While Easyboot Gloves, Easyboot Glove Back Country and Trail as well as Epic, Easyboot Bare and Grip and Easyboot have been more popular overseas, the work with hoof glue is not as common yet. My intentions are to make the clinic participants more comfortable with using Vettec Glues and Easyboot Glue-Ons. The demand is there and jointly we will make it happen.

Vettec Glues have proven to work very well with gluing not only Easyboot Glue-Ons, but also to protect bare footed horses with the Soleguard and shaping hoof shoes with the Vettec Superfast. All these glues are going to be used and demonstrated during these clinics.

How will these clinics turn out? How will they get accepted? Watch for the follow up report after my return.

Your Bootmeister,

Christoph Schork

Easycare Hoof Boots – Helping People, Too

There are many articles available with tips and tricks for booting, trimming hooves, natural hoof and horse care, endurance riding with boots, and improving horse’s lives through the use of hoof boots. My story today is a little different. I want to tell you about my husband, and how hoof boots enrich his life.

David has had a long history of knee problems and surgeries. Although he has enjoyed some relief after these surgeries, but nothing makes the pain go away permanently. As such, many of the physical activities he used to enjoy, such as playing soccer, are out of the question. Most outdoor activities, such as hiking, are also just not possible for him.

David and his horse, Jinx, right before a ride.

However, he still really enjoys being outside and the peace and quiet that being out on the trail brings him. Although we don’t have terrain as rugged as in places like Colorado and Montana, Missouri has a wide variety of terrain, much of it rocky and hilly. These factors make it even harder for him to consider hiking. He relies on his horse to reliably, safely, and soundly carry him into the heart of Missouri’s wilderness and back. What would be an inconvenience for most people, a lost boot or shoe, could turn into a dangerous situation for David. 

David on the trail with Jinx, wearing her red Easyboot Gloves. He doesn't like his picture taken.

Depending on the season and the area of the state, we encounter just about every type of booting challenge imaginable: deep mud; large boulders; rock ledges and staircases; loose, rolling gravel; grass; steep hills; river crossings – you name it. Once we had the correctly sized and fitted boots, Easyboot Gloves have performed flawlessly, allowing David to hit the trail confidently and experience all wonders Missouri has to offer.

A more technical section of trail with lots of tree roots.

The view from out on the trail at an overlook. David would not get to experience this without his horse, and Easyboot Gloves.

Easycare hoof boots helps horses and humans alike.