An Educational Opportunity

City of  Rocks! What a fantastic riding place close to the Utah/Idaho state line. Steph Teeter is organizing a 4 day endurance riding extravaganza for the first time in this unique area. Check out the photos on her website, www.endurance.net.

Global Endurance Training Center and EasyCare is partnering up with Steph and The Bootmeister will be conducting a free Hoof Care Clinic the day before the first ride day.

The Clinic commences at 2 pm on July 10th 2012 at the base camp. The Bootmeister will be demonstrating various hoof trimming methods, discussing bare hoof trims and NHC trims as well as evaluating hooves, sharing experiences and demonstrating gluing techniques with Easyboot Glue ons. Other Hoof protections methods will also be discussed and demonstrated.

Learn how to evaluate this hoof.

VETTEC company is sponsoring the Wine and Cheese party that same evening. Vettec products have been used now successfully for several years in protecting the soles of bare hoofed and shod horses, and have been proven to glue successfully thousands and thousands of Glue-On shoes on horses.

Equiflex Company has been contributing prices for give aways at the clinic and as ride awards. EasyCare is  giving away boots for the participants of the clinic.

We can fit Hoof protection to all breed of horses. Above an Irish Cob displaying his Easyboot Gloves!

Join us for this Clinic. It will be fun and you will learn something!. Besides, it is free and you might win a prize. And the Wine and Cheese Party afterwards: a total win-win situation. Iy does not get any better than this.

And the next day, ride the incredible trails of the City of Rocks. By the way, it does not mean the trails are rocky, you are just riding through magnificent huge boulder area that has been used by rock climbers from all over the world.

See you in Idaho!

Christoph Schork from GETC

Never Give Up: A Tale of Lessons Learned at the Fandango 100

Submitted by Leslie Spitzer, Team Easyboot 2012 Member

It's been more than three weeks now since I had the fortune of attending the Owyhee Fandango Ride at Steph and John Teeter's beautiful ranch south of Boise, Idaho.  My experience had many challenges along the way and many lessons learned!  I will try to not dwell about the ride too much since good pals and fellow Team Easyboot members Tami and Amanda have covered that beautifully, but I may not be able to help myself completely!  I will try to focus on what I gleaned personally from the whole experience.

I am pretty open about the fact that my long time and extremely talented horse JAC Eagle Cap has developed some changes in his hock and stifle joints as he has aged.  He is 15 this year and he still has much desire to go and we have some goals we are trying to meet.  As long as he is willing and happy I will do what he needs to keep him that way.  He has always been an extreme mover with much action, cavorting and, unfortunately, pounding.  He has not done himself any favors in the way he chooses to proclaim his absolute joy and desire to head down a trail as fast as possible.  He can display his displeasure equally at being held back with even more action and pounding.  He certainly has not done my aging body any favors either!  That being said, he is the most exciting and the most powerful horse I have ever had the pleasure of riding. 

The week before leaving for Idaho, Eagle had an appointment in Nevada at his vet to check him out.  It had been a long while and I felt it was prudent and part of my management program in keeping an aging horse going happily down the trail.  He received a report of "He looks super and keep riding him!  Best thing for him!"  He also received some really nice complements on his feet and his trim job.  I was super proud.  It was nice to hear that from an vet - a very well known lameness vet at that. 

Eagle enjoys the view at his vet visit in Gardnerville, NV.

Since Eagle was already in Nevada and we would be traveling to Idaho with friend and fellow TE2012 member, Tami Rougeau, it was decided that he would spend the rest of the week at Tami's.  Tami lives there and it didn't make sense to haul him back and forth. 

Early Wednesday I headed back up to Tami's from my place in California and we got the trailer packed and loaded.  It's amazing the sheer amount of stuff two girls and three horses could need over the next six days.  We finally got on the road.  We pulled into the Teeter Ranch pretty late.  After a quick hello at the house with Steph and John, we were shown to our parking spot and greeted by the rest of the EasyCare gang: Garrett Ford, Gene Limlaw, Kevin Myers and Rusty Toth.  Before we knew it we were parked, our horses had been whisked into pens, fed and watered and we were seated with libations in front of us.  This is a full service team.  It was wonderful to see everybody and catch up. 

"Hi old friend." Horses also enjoy visiting and seeing old friends.

Well, the theme of the next few days would be rain, rain and more rain.  I was confused as I had been under the impression that these Teeter rides were usually hot.  Thursday dawned drizzly and dreary a bit, with hints of better weather here and there.  Good pal and another Team Easybooter, Amanda Washington arrived to round out our group.  It was great to see her.

We all attended the EasyCare trimming and gluing demo put on by Kevin Myers and Rusty Toth.  They did a fantastic job of explaining things in an understandable manner.  These guys really work in synergy together and have their system down to a science.  My horse Eagle got to be the demo horse.  The clinic for me personally turned out to be quite a lesson and eye opener.  Eagle wears a 0.5 all the way around - or so I thought.  

I have had some issues with Eagle turning up a bit sore in his left front in the heel bulb area, especially if we were in wintery, wet conditions.  Being that Eagle is rough on his boots, I have always gone with the thought that the more I had to cram his boots on, the better they'd fit.  Rusty pre-sized him before gluing and yes, 0.5 were his closest fit, except on his left front.  His heel was not setting in correctly and was likely why he was becoming tender on occasion.  I'd only ever done fit checks with Gloves, so had completely missed that.  A bit of humble pie for me, but that's how lessons are learned and we move on.  He really needed a size 1 on that hoof and the fit looked great.   The rest of Eagle's boots were glued on beautifully and the clinic was enjoyed by all.  I think everybody came away from it with at least one piece of new information or a gift.  A fun drawing was held and some great EasyCare products were given as prizes.

 

Size 1 - a pretty good fit.  Cramming is not always better.

Eagle being an excellent, patient demo horse (I really like this pic too).

As I mentioned before, Eagle is tough on his boots.  Despite constantly working on keeping the toe back and a short, tight trim I have been unable to completely remedy the issue. Proper maintenance definitely helps though. This has been a real source of frustration for me, but I simply refused to give up. Garrett took a good look at his feet and made the observation that his feet are too oval shaped to be an ideal fit for Gloves, especially in the rear.  I knew his feet were more on the oval side and I've had others observe that as well.  I see plenty of horses with oddly shaped feet slap on Gloves and head off with nary a problem.  In Eagle's case, combining the oval shape along with his extreme movement and torque is an issue.  Hearing this conclusion from Garrett himself somehow gave me a bit of relief - that it wasn't me being totally inept and also I know there will be a product (I assume!) heading down the line someday that will be perfect for Eagle.  I have to say, I am really looking forward to the EasyShoe.  I think this will be a fantastic option for a horse like mine without having to go back to traditional shoeing.  In the meantime, we glue boots for actual endurance rides and train bare in the rear quite often.  There is no need to give up the barefoot/booted lifestyle I have chosen for my horse or any other for that matter with the options that are available to us today.

Since I was scheduled to ride the 100 on Sunday, but had traveled with a real tough girl who decided to ride all 3 days (two 50's and a 100, wow), I had a couple of days to hang around camp and stew a bit.  This was probably not the best scenario as I had invented all sorts of reasons maybe I shouldn't ride.  Many "what ifs".  Luckily I was able to keep fairly busy watching my friends come and go in the rain and in various states of wet and in some cases approaching hypothermia possibly.  A tough gang, everybody did excellently.  On day one we went to the out check and gave some crew help to Garrett, Gene Limlaw and Tami.  They all had a great ride and Garrett and Gene tied for first.  I was particularly intrigued by The Fury who was wearing EasyShoes on his rear feet and they looked great.  Have I mentioned I am super excited by the EasyShoe?  On day two Kevin, Rusty, Tami and Amanda all rode and braved some really wet conditions and nasty, slippery trail.  Amanda rode her new War Horse, Breve on his first 50 and he looked like he hadn't done a thing. She is going to have tons of fun with him.

Day 3 and our 100 mile adventure was now upon us.  The weather was a constant concern - would it rain or would it be ok?  Weather forecasts changed constantly and kept us all on our toes until the last minute.  Turns out all was fine and the weather was great with just a few micro-bursts.  One of those involved some pelting hail.

I've gotten ahead of myself here and should probably back-track just a bit.  A week before leaving at the Tevis Fun Ride, Eagle had come up back-sore.  Huh?  Eagle is never back sore.  He'd been traveling a bit crooked too.  A had a big "duh!" moment as it was pointed out to me that my saddle was badly in need of re-stuffing and it read like a map to the points he was sore on his back and to how he'd been going crooked and to how I'd suddenly been riding crooked as well.  There was no way he could do 100 miles in this saddle and I have no other saddles at home that work for him.  No problem.  Two friends offered up their saddles for me to take.  One was a treeless saddle I'd ridden in plenty before and another was an english/dressage type that was similar to mine, but a different brand.  The saddle had been put on him and deemed a good fit.  I did not get to try either on him until Friday, two days before our ride.  We went out for a stretch out with Amanda and the beautiful Nero.  Eagle was a complete spaz and it was difficult to know if anything would work.  I felt like the treeless was tipping me forward and the stirrups did not feel the same to me.  Since it was somebody else's saddle I was not comfortable taking it apart to re-adjust everything.  I hopped in the other saddle for a moment, gave a quick trot and canter and decided it would work.  It felt more like my regular saddle.  Great, problem solved.

Eagle "going for it" on our stretch out. (Photo by Amanda Washington).

We had a nice ride start the next morning and were able to stay together with Amanda and Tami.  Pretty quickly it became clear that Eagle and Nero were cut from a similar cloth and were going to compete all day long and Amanda and I were going to have our arms ripped from our bodies.  To top that off, May decided she liked Nero (Since May's sis had already claimed Eagle) and if Eagle came anywhere near she was going to let him know all about it.  Trying to go in back resulted in him flinging his head and jumping to the side of the trail every time May flicked her tail at him.  It was quite dramatic.  So, I decided to head off ahead just a bit.  That seemed to go better.

Now back to the saddle thing for a moment.  Remember that old saying about not trying anything new on an endurance ride, especially a 100?  Turns out there is some good truth to that.  I was not used to the saddle and it put me in a slightly different position which was making posting and riding in the balanced manner I like  quite difficult.  Eagle's shenanigans were not helping.  We weren't more than 3 or 4 miles out when Eagle had a giant spook.  I nearly came off and in the process lost both my stirrups.  Eagle is the kind of horse that must be ridden with hands, seat and legs.  All I had left was hands.  He bolted and started leaping in and out of sage brush.  I was desperate to stay on because Eagle leaves me when I come off.  I know this for a fact. Every time I'd feel like I'd got him under a bit of control he'd duck out another direction and I'd nearly come off again.  Finally, after what was probably only a very short time but seemed like an eternity, I got him stopped.  Phew!  But, my legs were toast.  They were shaky and appeared to be totally useless.  I hoped I'd work out of it but I was not in a very positive state of mind along with dealing with the saddle, so I announced I'd probably pull at the first check.  Amanda and Tami encouraged me "no, you're not" and I fell in behind them.  After awhile my legs started to work better, but I couldn't even touch my calves...ouch.

I perked up a bit at the first check and decided the least I could do was ride out to the second check and see the river trail and this bridge everybody talked about.  We all headed out together and stayed together for the most part with me going off ahead at times.  The joke was I rode 100 yards ahead all day.  At this point we rode along the Oregon Trail.  The wheel ruts from the wagons are still there.  How cool is that? I have to say riding along the Snake River was breathtaking and I had no idea how beautiful it would be!  I am so happy to have experienced that and I'm deeply saddened to hear the area has since completely burned.  What a tragedy. 

Starting the descent down the long road leading to the Snake River.

It was absolutely stunning.  I really enjoyed seeing the petroglyphs.  That was really neat.  The rock fields and the trail through it was also great.  I love a good technical trail and this really fit the bill! It was nice to slow down a bit (remember the whole new saddle thing and toast legs?).  This was a ride that begged to keep moving and do lots of cantering which we did.

Tami and May with a stunning back-drop.

Very cool Petroglyphs.

 

See in the upper left corner?  This is a Bird of Prey habitat.

Our next hold was at Celebration Park.  To get there we had to cross a really cool bridge over the Snake River.  Eagle is a trooper about this kind of stuff and he even trotted over parts of it.  My legs were still feeling pretty bad but I got some meds going in me and felt encouraged that this was the turn around point.  Just ride that beautiful river trail again, through the desert a bit and back to our original first out stop at the ranch?  Fine!  I can do this! 

Off we went.  Eagle and I headed out a few minutes ahead.  Tami and Amanda caught me as I was heading up the long climb from the river.  Eagle and I were glad for the company now as we were tiring and the temperature had really warmed up, slowing us a bit.  The horses all were much more agreeable together at this point as well. Soon, we were back at the ranch for a welcome rest.  Despite how I felt I realized I'd come this far and it would sure be silly not to make the hop, skip and jump back across the desert to the Teeter Ranch for the 80 mile hold and then get through the last loop.  It was time to dig deep and suck it up!  I won't lie, it was quite difficult.  By this point my attempts at posting were quite inconsistent and I'd resorted to a hovering, half-point position while holding onto handfuls of mane for stabilization.  I welcomed the blessed long stretches of cantering!  At this point I was very thankful I have incorporated a lot of cantering into my training.  It was paying off in spades.

Finally we were back at the Teeter Ranch!  I would be fibbing if I didn't say I was extremely jealous that Amanda was done.  She and Nero had a fantastic ride!  We would miss them on our last loop.  We had some time to regroup and I was in my other brain now - dead determined that I would not quit after coming this far!  We had plenty of time and knew even if we took it easy we'd finish before dark.  I was not concerned about the speed we go at, but my my other persona, who can be a bit competitive, really wanted to maintain our placings.

Heading out for our last 20 miles (Photo by Tami Rougeau).

Maintain we did.z  It was just Tami, myself and our horses the whole loop.  We still moved out, but took it a bit easy adding in a few walking breaks here and there.  It was actually quite pleasant and a special time as the sun began to set and the air cooled.  There was no better feeling in the world than flying along the last few miles of our ride, hovering away, handfuls of mane in my hands and my horse actually pulling on me to go faster, feeling strong and sound.  How lucky am I to have been given the gift of owning such an amazing horse and beloved friend?  We finished 5th and 6th and our horses looked great.  In my case much better than the rider.  It was very comforting to be met at the finish by Kevin, Rusty, Amanda and vet-extraordinaire and all around much appreciated helping hand, Dr. Robert Washington.   

Official ride photo (Steve Bradley Photography).

The next day was a nice breakfast and awards ceremony in the morning and then it was time to pack and bid farewell to all our friends - old and new. That is always bittersweet. I couldn't quite believe how sore my legs were.  I know my near fiasco at the start of the ride didn't help things, but I was sorer than when I did Tevis.  Luckily it was short lived and I made a quick recovery.  Eagle looked fantastic.  His boots worked beautifully and he was quite sound and his legs were cool and tight.  I am convinced that the barefoot/booted lifestyle for him has been a career extender. 

What a feeling of accomplishment a 100 miler always is.  It had been a year and a half since I'd done one and it does kind of become this huge, intimidating thing the longer time passes between 100 milers for me personally.  Thank you to Amanda and Tami for being encouraging and helping to keep me going. I always try to come away from rides with a new lesson learned.  I came away from this ride with several.  I learned some valuable information and received some good feedback on Eagle's feet, and I learned I'd been potentially causing him some tenderness by cramming too small a boot on one of his feet. 

As far as the saddle I'd never ridden in and the old adage of "never try anything" new - I have mixed emotions on that.  Had I followed that advice I wouldn't have ridden, which would have robbed me of the opportunity to complete the ride.  I think sometimes you just have to go for it and never, never give up.  Whether it is completing a 100 mile ride by riding vet check to vet check (mile by mile?) or dealing with a difficult to boot horse, keep chipping away at it.  Eventually you will get there, or a solution will be found and the pain or frustration suffered will make the victory all the sweeter.

Leslie Spitzer and JAC Eagle Cap

Part 2 of Triple Crown (In Which Fergus Gets Boots Glued to His Feet)

In late May it was time for Part 2 of our Triple Crown attempt - NASTR 75 endurance ride. Typically, I don't bother gluing on boots for 50 mile rides, but when the distance gets up to 75 I start to lean towards using Glue-Ons. In Fergus' case, he'd probably do fine in Gloves - he's never had any rubbing from the gaiters - but it seems to be better safe than sorry.

Glue-Ons Offering Support

Months ago during the winter, Fergus had either scalped the back of his foot or blown an abscess, because he had a big slice in heel. I'd been watching this hole grow out steadily over the months and knew—without a shadow of doubt—that it would reach the bottom of his foot at the worst possible moment. And sure enough by the time NASTR arrived it had reached the ground and half the hoof wall at the heel on that side was collapsed due to not being attached, leaving him a tiny 3/4" square heel buttress to stand on. Not ideal when you weight 1,100 lbs. 
 
 
Fergus' scalped heel - perfect timing meant that it had grown down so his weight-bearing heel buttress was effectively 3/4" square by the time the NASTR 75 endurance ride rolled around. <sigh>
 
I poked around this area for a while, trying to figure out how best to deal with it - trim, or leave it alone? In the end, I mostly left it alone and rasped what remained of the rest of the heel very conservatively. It seems, however, that gluing on a boot protected the area beautifully, offering extra support and safeguard from further damage. We had absolutely no issues from his manky heel whatsoever.
 
 
The same foot a week later, after being freshly trimmed following the 75 miles at NASTR. The manky heel should grow out fine now, even if it doesn't look great at the moment. 
 
So, on to applying Glue-Ons to the horse's foot. The same system applies for putting them on, as taking them off - install horse in front of hay bag and get to work. Lay out your tools within easy reach ahead of time and mentally go through the motions of what you're about to do. 
 
Hoof Preparation
 
Clean all mud and debris off the hoof wall and out from the sole. You want that foot to be as clean and dirt free as you can manage. Some people use a wire brush to scrabble the dirt off.
 
In the early days of gluing, when told "rough up the hoof wall" I thought this mean to rough up the surface by taking some large gauge sandpaper and cleaning the surface of the hoof off with it. 
 
Not exactly. 
 
What you need to do to the hoof is similar, but somewhat more aggressive. With the edge of the rasp, ideally you want to scrape cross-hatching into the hoof wall to give the glue something really good to grip onto:
 
 
This cross-hatching on the hoof-wall is all but invisible within a day or so of taking the glue-ons off.
 
I also wipe the foot with denatured alcohol "just in case". 
 
Gluing
 
Because Goober glue (now Sikaflex) takes a while to set up, at this point you have the luxury of adding some extra spiffy touches before getting to the actual gluing-to-the-foot part.
 
The first thing is to squeeze out a bead of goober glue around the inside bottom edge of the shell to prevent any hard Adhere from being forced down the sides of the boot and getting under the sole as you push the boot on. I've had Adhere get down there a couple of times and it has been one of my biggest worries - the last thing you want is a hard lump in the bottom of the boot. As it turned out, this bead works beautifully - forming a squishy anti-Adhere barrier.
 
 
You can sort of see here how this GG bead works: this is Fergus' foot post glue-on removal. The glue you see on the hoof-wall is all hard Adhere, while the glue that I'm pulling forwards with my gloved fingers is a rubbery skirt around the bottom edge of the hoof wall which prevented any Adhere from being pushed down into the sole as you put the boot on. 
 
Once you've got your "anti-Adhere" bead in place, you can squeeze out a triangle of GG/Sikaflex into the bottom of the boot - basically mirror the shape of the frog. This will act to cushion the sole once it spreads out when you put the boot on.
 
And at this point, you're ready for the actual gluing. It's helpful (although not critical) to have an assistant to hold up the freshly cleaned foot, especially if you don't have a spotless area as your gluing venue.
 
If the weather is warm, you might try keeping your materials in a cool place while you're getting ready and prepping the feet. Some people resort to putting their Adhere in the refrigerator beforehand - certainly helpful to avoid the glue setting up quicker than you can get the boot on the foot. One tip Kevin Myers recently gave me is to make sure you don't leave the glue-on shells sitting in the sun, as warm boots will accelerate the glue setting up as much as warm glue will.
 
Using a new tip and a new pair of disposable hand-gloves for every boot, work your way around the shell, smearing the Adhere onto the inside wall with the tip. Do not get any in the sole (= hard blob under the foot).
 
Once you've applied glue all the way around the inside wall of the shell, push it onto the foot, and if your fit is tight give it a couple of seating-whacks with the mallet before putting the foot down. Pick up the opposite foot for a minute or so, to allow the glue to set up without the horse twisting out of the boot or wandering off. 
 
Et voila - le boot est glued.
 
 
Fergus stylin' in his back Glue-Ons.
 
I use any extra GG that comes out the back of the boot to seal around the top edge. However, this has the downside of staying tacky for a longer time than if you use Adhere to do this, potentially resulting in a coating of hay and bits of fluff (or the horse accidentally brushing one foot against the opposite leg, anointing himself with black goo).
 
 
 
The morning after I glued Fergus' boots on, I woke up to the sound of thundering hooves. Poking my head out, I could see a big cloud of dust with a small black shape hurtling past, followed by a large golden shape hurtling after it - Fergus and Small Thing doing laps of the paddock. It was a good work-out to make sure the glue-ons were going to stay on for the endurance ride.
 
And stay on they did. 
 
Very proud of my, uh, Patrick's boy, completing his first 75 in such good shape. We finished with a ride time of slightly less than 15 and half hours in our customary third-from-last position - and Fergus didn't really look like he'd done anything, which was my goal. 
 
Looking back, I can see some holes in his training (uphill trotting to keep up with those Nevada horses; learning how to eat your own food at vet checks and not stand around gawping/coveting the food of others), but overall he did spectacularly well. Phase 2 of NASTR Triple Crown accomplished - only Virginia City 100 left to go.
 
 
Fergus moseying along at about 25 miles into the ride, having done the worst rocks in El Dorado and Illinois Canyons. Photo: Rene Baylor.
 
 

--
Lucy Chaplin Trumbull
Sierra Foothills, California

 

Tevis 2012: We Can Glue For You

Easyboot is the Official Hoof Boot of Tevis 2012 and we'll have plenty of representation at the Western States 100-mile ride again this year.

If you're riding Tevis and you would like gluing or boot fitting support from an EasyCare representative, our gluing schedule for ride week is listed below. Easyboot Glue-Ons gave a good showing at Tevis in 2011:

  1. First place (Tevis Cup) and Haggin Cup horse.
  2. 8 of the top 20 horses (40%) wore Easyboot Glue-Ons.
  3. Easyboot Glue-On horse completion rate: 76% compared to 70% for the ride overall. 37 horses in Easyboot Glue-Ons started the event; 28 completed.
  4. Non-Easyboot completion rate: 68%. 139 horses started the ride with non-Easyboot hoof protection; 95 horses completed.

 

To book an appointment, please call any of our Customer Service Representatives (CSRs) at 1-800-447-8836.

Please note the following five items:

  1. Location - there are two different locations, depending on the day. When setting up your appointment, please be sure clarify the location with the CSR.
  2. There will be no gluing whatsoever on Friday since it is too close to the race day, and the risk of losing boots increases significantly.
  3. EasyCare representatives will provide the gluing services at no cost. However, each rider is required to provide the boots and materials needed (unused Easyboot Glue-On shells; 1 tube of Adhere; Adhere Tips; 1 tube of Goober Glue)
  4. Please bring a horse that has been trimmed within the previous five days. Any horses that need a trim will be subject to trimming fees assessed by a professional hoof care practitioner.
  5. All riders should have successfully completed at least one race in Easyboot Glue-Ons before attempting Tevis in Glue-Ons.


 

Garrett Ford, Pascale Soumoy, Christoph Schork, Tonya Durden, Rusty Toth & Christina Kramlich-Bowie at Gold Country Fairgrounds in Auburn during the gluing process in 2011.


Tevis 2012 Gluing Schedule

Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Auburn Fairgrounds 1 PM - 3 PM

Wednesday, August, 1 2012
Auburn Fairgrounds 12 PM - 3 PM

Thursday, August 2, 2012
Robie Park 9:30 AM - 12:30 PM

Friday, August 3, 2012
No gluing

 

Keep up the bootlegging!

Kevin Myers

easycare-marketing-director-kevin-myers

Director of Marketing

I am responsible for the marketing and branding of the EasyCare product line. I believe there is a great deal to be gained from the strategy of using booted protection for horses, no matter what the job you have for your equine partner.

 

De-Glueing (in which Fergus gets his boots removed and gets the best trim he's going to receive for the next four months)

Fergus didn't get his glue-ons removed until the Saturday following NASTR 75 - 8 days later - due to lack of energy on my part. As soon as the shells come off is the perfect time to do a really attentive trim because the foot is still moist, allowing you to remove any retained sole and get to the bottom of any other rock-like areas of the foot.

First you assemble the horse, a hay bag, and a few chickens as helpers:

Then you assemble the necessary tools - gloves, a rubber mallet, a couple of tyre removers, and a pointy hoof pick.

 
A word about rubber mallets. I recently used a friend's mallet to encourage some snug boots to go on the foot. Her mallet was huge and heavy and I could barely swing it, making it a tough tool to use. My mallet, on the other hand, is a wussy mallet - it's hefty enough to do the job, but not at the expense of yanking all the muscles in my arm in the process. So if you find yourself wishing you didn't have to wield that heavy thing, consider shopping for a less-overwhelming mallet.
 
The hoof pick is necessary to start on the edge. The back part of the boot is usually separated from the hoof wall, so poke the hoof pick in there to make a big enough space to weedle your tyre remover in:
 
 
 
Once you've wiggled the end of the tyre remover in, you can start working your way around towards the toe using gentle whacks of the mallet. I really like using the tyre remover rather than a wide-bladed screwdriver because it curves towards the outside with a blunt tip - so when you tap it with the mallet, you don't run the risk of inadvertently gouging into the side of the hoof wall, causing the horse to start in pain and knee you in the corner of the eye. Ask me how I know this.
 
So tap your way around to the front, before going around the other side and working your way back to front on the inside. This is where the hay bag helps - the horse doesn't care what you're doing, grovelling around under his feet.
 
 
 
 
Fergus' newly revealed foot - complete with its casing of Adhere.
 
You can either rasp off this left-over Adhere, or you can leave it alone - depending on how obsessive you're feeling and how much time you have. In Fergus' case, I rasped off the excess glue - being careful to only take off glue, not hoof-wall.
 
NASTR 75 is a particularly rocky ride and because Fergus can be sensitive, I wanted as good sole protection as possible. In this case, we'd smeared Goober Glue (now Sikaflex) liberally all over the bottom of his foot before applying the boot - and it worked beautifully. Instead of just protecting the frog area as sometimes happens, I was able to get the whole sole covered in a rubbery cushion.
 
 
 
He'd picked up a little bit of sand from the multiple creek crossings, but nothing too bad.
 
 
 
And as predicted, his foot was nice and moist (read 'stinky'), so instead of fighting against rock-hard foot material, I was really able to get rid of junk sole and clean everything up to set him up nicely for the coming dry months.
 
Since he's on break for a couple of weeks and after that will be on light riding for another couple of weeks, I removed the remaining damaged slice of hoof in the heel that was trapping gunk and not doing much by way of support. This should grow out properly now and by the time he's ready to hit the trails aggressively again in early July, he should be looking good.
 
 
--
Lucy Chaplin Trumbull
Sierra Foothills, California

Sometimes It Just Works - and Other Understatements of the Season.

Submitted by Tami Rougeau, Team Easyboot 2012 Member

It's been two weeks since I was last in the lovely state of Idaho.  As I sit here at the Boise airport looking out over the mountains I can't believe it was just two weeks since the most amazing of rides.  Since I have not written much this year for various reasons this one might be a bit long.  I only hope I can do the ride justice.  The trail to Fandango was a long one.  This ride has held a prominent spot on my bucket list for the last several years.  Every year I would plan and then a deployment, hurt horse or EHV would come along and smash my well laid plans.  Perseverance paid off and boy was it worth it.

 

May and me showing off our hoof boots at 20 Mule Team.  Photo by Lucy Trumbull.

The story actually begins back in February at the 20 Mule Team 100.  Although I wrote a story about this adventure I never got around to posting it.  Suffice it to say it was a great 65 mile training ride and I learned a great deal.  The hole in my plan for the year became apparent and I knew I had to work on it.  What I really wanted was to get another 100 mile ride on May before August but with the schedule the way it laid out I was not sure how this was going to happen.  We went to the Nevada Derby ride and each of the mares got a lovely 50 mile ride.  Well, that might be a stretch as far as May goes anyway.  My day on her was anything but lovely as she pulled on me and acted snotty all day.  It was not fun and I was hurting at the end of the first day.  Fancy gave me a lovely day two and that sort of made up for it.  But there was an ever growing doubt about whether or not I had set a realistic goal for May this year.

 Lucy Trumbull and me at Nevada Derby.  Gloves all around!  Photo Bill Gore.

Fast forward to May (the month not the horse, although there is a bit of poetic reality in this comment) and we set off for a weekend of fun riding at Forest Hill and the Tevis Fun Ride.  Fun it was!  The week prior I decided to glue boots on May.  We had been fighting a strange case of scratches since three days after Derby (April 25).  We were three plus weeks into topical treatment and she was responding well but considering her history I was taking no chances.  The only problem with this plan was that Fandango was the following weekend and I really did not have time to remove the boots, clean them and reapply them before leaving for Idaho.  Having left boots on for a couple of weeks before I was not terribly worried but my good friends from Easycare reminded me that it really was not recommended.  Oh well, I am just about as stubborn as my mares so on went the boots.

May got a good trim on Monday, 14 May and I glued on her boots on Wednesday 16 May.  To say that the gluing was non standard would be another understatement.  We had the most bizarre weather that day.  I had pretty much decided to put off the gluing and come up with a different plan when the weather seemed to break up.  The wind died down a bit and the rain stopped so I went for it.  All my supplies were already layed out and prepped from the day before and May's feet were clean.  This would be my first experience with using Sikaflex (the new Goober Glue).  It is indeed exactly the same as GG.  I put the Sika in the boots first as it takes such a long time to set up and the Adhere is so fast.  The temps were cooler which was a good thing and I was able to get two boots on without changing tips on the Adhere.  I am not that fast, it just was not setting up quickly.  Before going to the back feet I let the front set up.  It seemed to take forever and it got really hot, way hotter than I have ever experienced but not so hot that it bothered May.  Then the temps leaped up by at least 10 degrees while I got the back ones on, waiting for the Adhere to set up again.  While I was waiting the weather shifted again.  Not exactly perfect gluing conditions.  The wind intermittently picked up and although I was sheltered at the side of the trailer small bits of sand did get on the glue.  To top it off, in my hurry I had not cross hatched the hooves.  By this time I am thinking that I have just wasted my time and products as there is no way these boots are going to stay on.  Oh well, too late to cry about it now, will just have to hope it works out and deal with what happens when it happens.  Did I mention that I was washing May's legs twice a day, treating scratches on one leg and praying that none popped up on the other three?  Good thing I had plenty of gloves I would probably need them, drat.

Tevis Fun Ride. No shortage of creek crossings to test my glue job. With Renee Robinson. Photo by Lucy Trumbull.

Friday morning came along and off May and I headed over to Forest Hill to the Fun Ride (understatement).  I met up with Lucy Trumbull and Renee Robinson.  After shuttling up to Devil's Thumb in the trailer we then proceeded to ride back to Forest Hill.  I just love this trail, its beauty is just indescribable.  We had a lovely ride complete with loads of water crossing.  When we arrived back to Forrest Hill our friends Connie Creech and Gina Hall had arrived and had a lovely ride themselves.  To top it all off Leslie Spitzer and her mom Lynda Taxera brought in the best pizza in the world for dinner!  After a nice evening of socializing (and washing legs don't forget) I went out to check my little brown mare and assess the likelihood of the boots staying on the next day.  Amazingly enough all four boots were solidly in place.  Wow!  We all had a perfectly perfect boot day.

On Saturday we headed out to ride from Forest Hill to Drivers Flat after shuttling trailers.  Leslie was running a bit behind but wanted to ride faster so we knew she would catch us.  What a great day!  Gina, Connie, Lucy, Renee and I enjoyed a great day trundling steadily along what can be a scary bit of trail for some folks.  At one point I think Lucy asked me to take photos and I told her that I could not think about anything except forward (yes, I am not a fan of heights and there are a lot of them here) but maybe when we got in the trees.  I think she may have been a tad disappointed but she was a great friend and did not chastise me too much.  Lots of water crossing and dipping on this day as well.  Leslie caught up with us in the last few miles and we got to ride in together.  Another fantastic day with great friends, great trail, great views and great horses.  May really stepped up and acted like a big horse all day, I was so proud.  Another day down with all four boots firmly attached to the feet.  The Tevis group hosted a wonderful meal complete with live music.  They also had a raffle and Renee even won the coveted Tevis Entry!  Now she has to ride!

So we get through the weekend with boots attached, Monday dawns and my plans to get a tune up ride on Fancy in preparation for doing the 100 mile day at Fandango quickly fade away in the business of life.  That afternoon Leslie brought down her most excellent of all (gelding) horses, Eagle, to stay at my place till we left for Idaho.  I love this horse! Yet another understatement.  It was at some point this day it occurred to me that I should change my plans and ride Fancy on the first 50, see how she did and play day 2 by ear and then plan on putting May in the 100.  Leslie gave the consummate experienced endurance rider advice "go with your gut".  Thanks.  May's boots were still firmly attached even after 35 tough miles and 5 days of leg washing.  Fancy just wants to go somewhere and do something.  She fell in love (understatement) with Eagle in a way I have never witnessed in all my years of mare horse ownership.  Rockett was also very interested in this wonderful visitor who played bitey face expertly.

Leslie came back on Wednesday and we made our trek to Idaho.  It took about an hour longer than we had planned probably due to stopping for supplies and to let the horses out but it was all good.  The only sad thing was arriving at the Teeter Ranch in the dark.  I was so bummed to not be able to see it all and orient myself.  Oh well, nothing to do about that but walk up to the house and say hello.  Steph and John were up to welcome us and show us up the road to where we were to park.  Kevin had said that we needed to be careful on the road as there was turn that needed to be taken wide in order to make it (in my mind this meant that we would fall to certain death down a bottomless crevasse).  Steph showed us up the road and around the death curve (in reality....yeah do the math, we all survived and my nails were intact) where we were met by Kevin Myers, Rusty Toth, Garrett Ford and Gene Limlaw.  Talk about a welcome party!  Steph let us put the ponies in pens since no one else was in yet - are  you getting the idea of the hospitality you get up here in Idaho?  Kevin took Garrett's dare and requested to park my rig - he did a good job and only killed it a couple of times.  Just kidding, it was very nice to have someone with night vision and a knowledge of the field to help out after nine hours of driving.  Ponies settled in and we had a nice social hour (or two).

 

Ridecamp from one of the inbound trails.  Very spacious and accomodating.

Thursday we woke up and set to settling in for the long weekend.  We met new friends Katrin Levermann from Canada (but she is really German) and her daughter Katya.  What great ladies, we would spend a lot of time with them over the next few days.  Pens rearranged, trailer reparked and properly nested, ponies cleaned up and greetings made to friends old and new.  What a nice day.  We were joined in our little circle by Amanda and Robert Washington.  Amanda arrived along with the rain and assured us that this was just a passing storm and that we would have a lovely weekend.  She was planning to ride the next day on her might steed Breve.  Kevin and Rusty put on a most excellent barefoot and booting clinic that afternoon.  It was soooooo cool (understatement of all understatements) to see these guys in action, up close and get to ask questions.  I learned a ton.  Rusty handed out a sketch of proper foot trimming which should probably be posted to the world.  It is by far the easiest to understand that I have seen and really put a lot together for me.  Thanks Dudes!  Garrett also debuted the new boot/shoe that he would compete in this weekend.  Can't wait to see these things in action!

A lovely reception followed in the gathering area (thank you Easycare!) along with dinner served by a local business Blue Canoe.  Steph gave the briefing for the next days 50 mile ride along with a weather report that was cheerfully optimistic.  Another bit of socializing after yet another bit of leg washing and getting Fancy's Gloves on and we were in bed.  At the last minute I decided to just put Gloves on and not use Sika.  Please don't let me regret this plan.....

Friday morning we were aroused by the sound of rain on the trailer roof.  Really????  Tacking up in the rain is not my favorite part of endurance.  It is also not Fancy's favorite and she was quick to relay her displeasure to me.  But she is one tough mare, seriously the toughest horse I have ever owned, she is tough and focused.  We were very happy to be starting out the ride with my friend from Sunriver and fellow Team Easybooter, Karen Bumgarner who was also in Gloves.  The sun broke out soon after we started and we had a lovely day.  Into the first vet check and big surprise! we were met by crew!  Woohoo!  There was Leslie, Kevin, Rusty and Amanda (who had decided not to ride in the wet that day)!  What a treat!  They had even set up a space apart from the rest which was nice since Fancy is not exactly a social mare.  This was such a huge, special treat.  Thanks guys!  Off with the rain pants for what looked to be a lovely day.  Fancy was really feeling her oats and we had to depart our friends shortly after the vet check.  We proceeded to have probably the best day together on this magical trail.  I dropped her bit and put her in the side pull and she just moved out with the biggest mare horse smile ever.

  Crazy Woman Mine

Along the hills, down to Crazy Lady Mine and back up to the vet check.  This place is amazing!  Yes, it did rain off and on all day but more off than on and the footing was great.

  Day one Gloves on Fancy

              During a break in the weather on day one.

Fancy was strong and forward all day and we ended up finishing 11th in 7 hours and 22 minutes.  Not bad for all the sightseeing we did.  What a great day!  Fancy's boots all stayed on nicely.  I took them off to make sure there was nothing in them and that her feet looked good then reapplied tape and boots.  I was so happy with her.  The only downer was that my knee locked up and I had a bit of a hitch in my giddyup.  At one point Kevin asked me why I was lame...cuz I am broken, drat!  But a bit of walking around and socializing and it was OK.  We would go out again tomorrow.

Once again we awoke to the sound of rain.  Fancy and I discussed it and decided that we really were tough enough to take this on so off we went along with our new friend Katarin riding John's horse Mac also in Gloves.  It was a soggy wet mess all day.  Fancy is such a professional she just took each step as it came, moved when she could  and took good care all day.  She is the most amazing horse I have ever owned and I have tremendous respect for her.  The trail was a slippery mess and there were so many times that I wished I had my Grips on instead of Gloves.  In the end the Gloves really did well and we did not do nearly the slipping that we could have.

 

Katrin on Day 2, smiling through the wet. Thanks for a fun day.

Not as many photos on day 2 but still a fun and lovely day.  Katarin and I shared a few laughs and it was good to have someone to share the trail with.  The sun would peek out for short periods and that really helped keep the mood up.  Then it would start raining again but we were on our way home so it was just a matter of moving forward.  At some point I realized that I was really shivering pretty violently and it was bothering Fancy.  She wanted to move out so bad but the footing would not let her, any opportunity she would trot and make me post but it would only last a few steps.  Then the shivering stopped and I started to feel very peaceful and warm - DRAT! Keen awareness that I was not OK.  Checked the GPS just as the batteries died and we had about 5 miles left.  I had to move about and Fancy knew it too.  She was very tolerant of me moving my arms and legs as she walked as fast as she could in the muck.  Shortly before the finish we hit the actual road and Fancy moved, made me post and got me home in much better shape than I had been just shortly before.  Leslie was at the finish, glory! and really helped me to get vetted quickly and take care of Fancy.  Hot water and a hot shower was the ticket.  Once again, Fancy  took care of me and we got through in 16th place in 7 hours and 35 minutes.

 

Soggy boots for all of us!  Notice all the Bare prints?

We took care of the ponies and attended the ride meeting for the next days 100 mile ride.  May vetted in well but that evening lost her first boot while at the trailer spinning around and having a fit because I had taken Fancy to vet.  Great!  is this a sign of things to come?  So after dinner and a great fundraiser drawing I decided to replace that missing boot.  It had been raining pretty much steady for two days and May had been standing in it the whole time.  Her foot was wet and the likelihood of anything drying out was slim.  After talking to Kevin and Rusty I decided to just go for putting on a Glove.  They very kindly loaned me their heat gun to dry out the foot and I took May over to the driest area I could find.  Of course she proceeded to have a total melt down being separated from Fancy and would not stand.  To say I was frustrated is yet another in a long line of understatements.  Support and understanding came in the way only endurance riders can provide.  Despite my desire to "win" Kevin went to get Fancy, May settled down and we got the foot taped. Of course her boot that had fit perfectly was....too big????really????WT????  Get a smaller boot and I can't get it, at my wits end Kevin again steps in and takes the boot and mallet...it fit just fine.  Loads of reassurance from Kevin and Rusty and the realization that I needed to be done and we headed back to the trailer and I settled in the mares once again.  Thanks to all!

So I had this idea that May needed to get into a nice 8 mph pace and she would do just fine.  Remember back to my earlier comment about "speed ahead to May"?  Well this is where that epiphany comes back.  Come morning it is was drizzling a bit once again.  Really?  can I do this again?  Yes, and this naughty little brown mare needed to go.   So still a bit miffed from her antics the evening prior I decide that I am going to ride away from the trailer and that she would behave like I know she can.  May decides at this point to put on another show of bad attitude, great.  Thankfully Robert was still at their trailer and came over to hold her for me.  So I get on and she begins to dance in place, great.  Robert just takes her halter and leads her away from the trailer to the start.  Great, I am being lead like some sort of pony club neophyte on a silly little brown mare that I think can go 100 miles.  Of course I have to finally admit that this psychotic brown mare is 12 years old, has 1,100 miles and this would possibly be her third 100.  I am going to just have to figure out how to manage her in these difficult situations. 

Thank you Robert for getting us to the start.  So horses start leaving and miraculously May decides it is time to get down to business.  Leslie and Amanda are at the start and we all head out together at a nice steady pace.  Figuring that May will drop back soon I just keep tagging along in the rear.  Eagle decides that he needs to roll a bit faster and Leslie goes ahead (did I mention that Leslie is one tough chic?  Riding a hundred in a borrowed saddle that she had never ridden in before, yes she is that tough).  It was short-lived as Eagle showed that he was indeed ready to go and Leslie demonstrated some seriously great riding skill and we were soon a trio again.  May decided that Amanda's horse Nero (aka the Unicorn) was the love of her life and the pace for the day was set.  We came into the first check with me thinking that May would begin to slow and hold back.  Nope, pulsed in immediately and Robert even had a nice word for my naughty mare.  Amanda had a very good laugh at my desire to set an 8 mph pace as May seemed to be really happy at 10 - her desired "sweet spot" as Amanda put it - with long bursts at 12.  So all you hot shoes at this point are amazed that this is considered "fast" but for some of us who live in the 5-6 range it really is. 

 

Unicorn feet flyin'!  Amanda's Nero setting the pace for the day in fine form.

Next leg includes several miles of Oregon trail complete with wagon wheel tracks.  Amanda is a great guide and points out everything, even taking the camera for a bit so I have some evidence that I actually did this ride.  Then down to the Snake river and the famous petroglyphs.  It was a great day then we come up to the boulders that I had somehow forgotten about.  How on earth is the horse who has spent the last two days trying to kill me going to get me through this?  Like a pro, thats how.  Suddenly her brain settled down between her ears and she showed some serious athletic ability, navigating the treacherous boulders like they were nothing.  Proud and amazed does not begin to describe the feeling.  Across the trestle bridge and into the vet check still with all boots intact.  Really!  We all vet through quick and fine and set to resting and enjoying the scenery.  Celebration Park is a nice little park on the Snake River.  Turns out it was built by Eagle Scouts.  Pretty cool.

Nero reading the petroglyphs for us.  With Amanda and Leslie.

On this ride you basically go 40 miles out and then back to camp.  Some folks might think that this would be boring.  It was not!  Seeing it all from a different angle it all looked different and it gave me a second chance to get photos that I had missed the first time through.  Going through the boulders was no less scary the second time - especially where it looked like you were going right off into the river if you did not make that hidden right turn.  We left a bit of shin on a couple of those rocks.  At this point I was also wondering when those boots would start coming off but they were on there good!

Into the next vet check all is well and the temperature is heading up.  All the layers we wore all day needed to stay behind but there were still some dark clouds out there on the horizon.  We made our way back to camp for the last vet check.  For Amanda this was the end as she was doing the 80 mile ride.  Third place for her, way to go to another Team Easybooter!  Leslie and I would be heading out on the last loop together now that our ponies had settled down and were happy to go along together.  This is usually the point in a 100 when I am adding glow bars and head lamp but on this day it was still plenty early and we only had 20 miles to go so Leslie and I set off to see the last 20 miles of the 2012 Fandango.

Cantering along as the sun sets.  Perfect!

The miles passed quickly even though the horses were happy to take in the scenery and munch the trail grass.  At 9:45 that evening our ride came to an end.  Leslie (yes, yet another Teameasybooter), riding in her borrowed saddle, oh so tough finished 5th and May and I in 6th.  How exciting to finish as the sun set.  That has never happened to me before and I have to say I pretty well liked it.  To top it off those boots that had been on for 11 days were still firmly attached and the one glove that we put on the night before was on tight as well. 

I still can't believe it all worked out so well.  A total of two hundred wonderful miles in this beautiful place.  Two days of riding  and another hundred miles on Fancy in Gloves and a successful hundred on May in three Glue-Ons that had been on for 11 days and one glove.  The first two days of wet icky muck and the last day on some of the best footing ever.  May once again proved herself and most of my doubts were erased.  It was sure all worth the wait to get to this great ride.  The boots did great all weekend and there were loads of successes.  Congratulations to all.  But I think the best part of this adventure was all the friends who were there to share it .  Thanks to Steph and all her gang for putting on such a first class beautiful ride.

Me, Rusty, Leslie, Kevin and Amanda just before we all hit the road.  Great friends are what make this sport so much fun.

Tami Rougeau and the Fabulous Mares Fancy and May

Learning From Teaching the Team Easyboot Way

By Kandace French and Sabrina Liska

One of the greatest aspects of being members of Team Easyboot 2012 means great and abundant questions about boot fit, types of boots and how to use them. To cover more topics and address a wider audience, fellow Team Easyboot 2012 team-mates and buds decided to jump in with both feet and offer a Easyboot Fitting Clinic in Desert Hills, Arizona on June 3, 2012. Due to the warm temperatures, we started early in the morning. But neither the weather nor the early hour deterred people. Unlimited auditors and a ten-horse limit maxed out the crowd. Attendees were encouraged to bring their questions and their current boots if they were using them.

Approximately 20 people and eight horses attended the clinic that included information on Why Bare and Why Boot?. There was a presentation on the types of boots available for every fit and need. There were great questions by the participants about boots in each category of trail riding, endurance and therapy.

What to Use and When to Use It



Hands on view of various boot styles, hints and equipment.

There was a hands-on demonstration and presentation of the Epic, Bare, Trail, Back Country, Glove and Glue-On and a presentation of which boot works best for individual horse's needs and applications. There was also a discussion regarding when to use Glue-On boots. Participants were surprised to know the actual length the Glue-Ons could be left on the horse safely.

Sabrina addressed the importance of a proper trim and we were able to show more than one attendee that their boot fitting problems were actually the result of long toes or improper sizing.



Measuring how-to for fit and accuracy.

The clinic also included the importance of measure in metric for best fit and discussion stressing that different types of boots use different measurements for a proper fit.


 

Detailed information, explanation and demonstrations were provided on how to measure the hoof and the importance of understanding the buttress line. Hand-outs, using information found on the Easy Care, Inc. website and brochures provided the additional information attendees needed to appreciate proper measurements.



Fitting an Epic.
 

Demonstrating the proper taping technique using Mueller Athletic Tape.

Great fun was made of the demonstration of proper boot fitting and removal and guests’ horses gave an excellent live demonstration of what a proper (or improper) fit looked like.

One of the Special Needs hooves. There will be a separate blog about this girl.

Horses were presented with a club hoof, a damaged hoof, shod, unshod and odd shaped.

Information and education was well received regarding Helpful Hints such as Power Straps, Athletic Tape, the use of knee-high panty hose, removing and reusing Glue-Ons, replacing parts, checking screws in new boots and great interest in the use of Loktite threadlocker. Kandace gave all the attendees a view of the emergency kit she keeps in her own pack consisting of extra screws, a short screwdriver and a tube of Loktite.

The clinic concluded with helping attendees with individual measurement and booting fitting/checking.

The greatest impact to the presenters was that a majority of the horses were wearing boots that were too big. Without the clinic and hands-on presentation, users simply don’t realize how to fit a boot or how snug it should be. Even more were happy to learn how to get a boot off without ripping the gator. “Work smart. Not hard.”


 

The clinic was well received and there are already requests for another clinic in the Fall. The audience left with a much better understanding of the product and three horses that were previously shod are going to be taken barefoot.

Thank you EasyCare Staff for all of your support! Your answers and encouragement help to make this little clinic of ours a success!
 

What To Do With That Foot?

I titled this blog “Hoof Love Not War” because I hope to embrace all aspects of horse and hoof care here. In my own hoof care practice, I believe it is critical that we maintain an open dialog, even if all we do is agree to disagree. I have learned never to say 'never” when it comes to my horses and their care no matter how foreign the idea may seem. We are constantly learning and growing, and in order to do that we have to be receptive to new ideas. Even if sometimes all you learn is what you don't like!  

 

Recently I had a fellow hoof care practitioner tell me that she was afraid to do certain things to a horse’s foot because she didn’t want to experiment on the horse. My question is, aren’t we always experimenting to some degree? How do we make value decisions for our horses since what we’re doing to the foot is based primarily on anecdotal evidence? How can so many people be wrong about an idea and yet so many people be right with the same idea? At the end of the day, the horse tells us what they like and don’t like, and yet they tolerate so much. How do we decide?  

 

The only way I feel I have any confidence in my hoof care protocol is to study everything. I take nothing for granted and document everything I do. That way I can evaluate the impact of the decisions I make for the horses I work on over time. I am completely accountable for the results of the choices I make for the animals I work on.  

 

 

In my opinion, there are no rules when it comes to hoof care, more like guidelines. And when it comes to the actual work on the horse’s foot, I have only 2 guidelines:

  1. a 3-8 degree Palmar P3 Angle  (bottom of the coffin bone angle in relation to the ground which allows for healthy soft tissue in the back of the horse’s foot)
  2. a 50/50 base of support from toe to heel around the center of rotation of the hoof (which allows for neutral input from the proprioceptive nerves of the foot to the body of the horse)

Here is an example of a healthy sound foot on a horse in our practice that demonstrates these basic principles:

 

 

 

How you achieve those two guidelines is open for discussion. Ideally you would achieve the guidelines in the trim on the foot, however sometimes you need a prosthetic support to get there, like a hoof boot and hoof pad, a glue on horse shoe, metal horse shoe etc. 

June 2012: Wild Hearts Hoof Care

Wild Hearts Hoof Care is based in Ventura Country, California. Sossity Gargiulo believes the hoof care industry is changing in such a positive way because there are so many more choices and the innovation is exciting. "I think it shows that alternative hoof protection is not a fad and is here to stay -- it works." She believes hoof boot designs are prioritizing a horse’s rehabilitation and comfort at the same time as ease of use for the owners.

Sossity owns two horses – a 13 year old Arabian/Trakehner mare named Faith out of her beloved (now passed away) first horse, an Arabian mare Hope. She also owns a 12-year old Oldenburg gelding named Jordan. "Faith is an amazing teacher," says Sossity, "and was the original reason I got into hoof care – and then all of the related elements of holistic horse care such as diet and lifestyle as well." Both horses have been ridden and shown in dressage, and have some trail riding experience.
 
She attributes her success in part to lessons learned from Pete Ramey through clinics, articles, videos, etc. "I feel like his approach has the right blend of science and art, and incorporating all of the pieces of the puzzle so to speak. I didn’t feel like I had to ‘unlearn’ certain things, which has been really helpful in moving me forward." She has also benefited from being a founding member of Pacific Hoof Care Practitioners, where she can learn from, bounce ideas off of and commiserate with other trimmers and members, participate in clinics and share case studies. "It’s a friendly group dedicated to helping horses and each other, with a holistic approach to hoof care. She is a board member of the American Hoof Association. 

Wild Hearts consists of Sossity and her husband, Mario. "Having a trimming partner has been a great experience overall: I love having the help, support, sharing and camaraderie. We each have our specialties and talents that we bring to trimming, and we hash out and debate theories and ideas, share tools, hold horses for each other, talk to clients together, and generally I just think we make a good team."

She says she could not be successful in this career without hoof boots and attributes a sizeable portion of her success as a trimmer to the boot industry for helping horses heal.

When asked about successful marketing strategies, Sossity says clients love seeing before/after shots of their horse’s feet. It also provides good educational opportunities for her as a trimmer. She gets compliments on her website regularly. "It may be homemade, but the information is from my heart and what is important to me, and I think people pick up on that. The main thing people like is all of the before/after photos, because they can recognize their own horse’s issues and see what types of changes are possible."

Sossity also distributes a monthly newsletter with articles relevant to her trimming business in some way. She includes a featured client or case study of the month, update on clinics she has attended or are upcoming, nutrition information, booting tips and tricks. "I've been doing them for about a year and a half now and even though they can be time consuming to do, they’ve given me a chance to talk about and highlight important, fun or interesting things." The largest portion of her customers is via word of mouth: the horse world is small and loves to share.

Wild Hearts has been an EasyCare dealer for four years. They primarily stocks Easyboot Gloves but also carry Easyboot Trails, Easyboot Rx and some Glove Back Country boots too.  She stocks Power Straps and assorted Comfort Pads. Easyboot Gloves are her best seller and her favorite hoof boot: "I love how sleek and low profile they are, while still offering great protection."

Sossity got her first horse when she was 19. Since then, most of career has been spent working in the horse industry - not in the field but rather in offices. Her most recent job before becoming a full-time hoof care practitioner was with a large biotech company. Her formal hoof care trimming training started in 2005 through the AANHCP and then PHCP. She was subsequently accepted by AHA in 2008.  

When asked about her most rewarding experience as a hoof care practitioner, Sossity tells the story of a severely foundered mare she had been trimming for several months. "We got her as a client when she was already foundered, and I had never seen her walk normally: it was always a pained crawl and only if she was really required to move." The mare had been in shoes with a club foot, metabolic and hormonal issues, and had subsolar abscessing. Even the normally optimistic vet was concerned she was not going to make it. "One day we showed up to trim her, and she just walked up to me like a normal horse, and pressed her head against my chest. It was so incredibly rewarding to have been able to be a part of her road to recovery."

To learn more about Wild Hearts Hoof Care, go to http://wildheartshoofcare.com.

 

Live Sole and Then Some

Springtime trimming can mean uncovering the past winters secrets. During the spring months, horses hooves grow about twice as fast compared to the growth we see in the middle of winter. Sometimes hooves can grow so fast, that the dead sole does not get shed, even when the horse is ridden bare over rocks.

This hoof below is scheduled for a trim.

Previous trim 5 weeks ago. Horse was ridden about twice a week, always bare, without any protective horse boots. Footing was sandy with rocks. On first sight it looks like low heels, maybe underrun, toes somewhat long. Let's examine that sole a little closer.

Heels now look high, grew forward quite a bit. The sole looks polished and like live sole. The front part of the frog has grown together with the sole.

The collateral grooves have  disappeared in the front third of the hoof, but soil and water have found a way below that overgrown part (red arrow). Notice the heel height again (blue arrow) and how polished the whole sole appears, just like live sole (black arrow).

It is necessary to open the collateral groove and break the adhesions from the tip of the frog to the sole. Bacterial growth could fester below. The frog cannot function properly when grown into the sole.

The visible sole looks like the live sole, yet, when evaluating the whole picture, it just doesn't seem right. The sole is way too thick, the bars are mostly straight, but appear too high. I'm suspecting a false or double sole.

Exploring between the sole and the bars with the hoof knife, it now becomes more obvious. There is a visible separation between the bars and the sole. Possibly a  bacterial invasion. Confident that we are dealing with a false sole, I start lowering the heels in increments to the widest part of the frog. It looks like live sole, yet we are still far away from the actual live sole.

Slowly peeling away with nippers and hoof knife, we finally reach the real live sole.

Where the tip of the nail points, there is the separation line.

The chalky layer between is dead sole. Beneath that layer is the actual and true live sole. We can trim the hoof walls then to about 1/8th to 1/16 longer than the live sole. That depends on your preference, some of you might want it trimmed to the same level as the live sole or even let the sole protrude some. I will not get into the middle of that discussion, there are just too many real strong opinions out there and I'm sure all of them are based on some good reasons.

A valid question, however, might get asked: What's wrong with a false sole, can we not just do true Natural Hoof Care and let nature take care of it till it wears or falls out on its own? Here are some possible detrimental side effects when failing  to remove the false sole:

- The hooves will be getting too long, increasing breakover and compromising their ability to support the scelettal structure

- Bacterial invasion with considerable damage to the sole and frog

- Bruising of the live sole through the harder false sole, the horse might come up lame

- White line separation, because the long bars and false sole are pushing laterally against the hoof wall from the inside.

If in doubt, consult an experienced Hoof Trimmer or farrier. Always remove hoof material in small increments and take your time. You might be wrong. I certainly have been sometimes.

Good luck with spring trimming!

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