Small Thing Sells His Soul to the Weather Gods (In Which We Don't Make Our Debut)

It's possible that Small Thing is in league with the weather gods. Last Saturday we were supposed to be galloping across the NV desert (...well, maybe doing a frantic speed-trot) on our first official distance ride. But once again, despite promising forecasts earlier in the week, by Friday the highway over the Sierra was closed from snow and ice-related accidents and the ride had been postponed for five weeks due to the swamp-like qualities of the alkali flat that was supposed to be ride camp (eloquently described as "slick as snot").

So I had to find something else to write about.

Hoof-boot Evangelism

A discussion arose this week about how horse-folk can be very evangelical about their specific way of doing things - their way is the way - and it was suggested that hoof-booters can be a bit overbearing in their attitude at times.

Personally, I have nothing against steel shoes when applied to properly trimmed hooves - they've worked for a long time. On the other hand, I am biased against bad trimming - barefoot or otherwise: - flared feet, long toes - or against a cr*ppy shoeing job - I cringe when I see horses with baked-bean cans instead of feet, frogs up in the air; or more commonly, splayed feet that have little structural integrity (often accompanied by the proud statement "My horse has huge feet") or the other favorite, ski-jump shaped toes. 

'Course, horses with cr*ppy shoeing still do well anyway. Go figure.

This horse did well at a tough 100 mile ride despite its rather alarming shoeing.

To opt to go barefoot is a personal preference and one that requires commitment. There's little point trying to convince someone about its value if that person doesn't share that philosophy.

My personal reasons for using hoof-boots are:

• With hay approaching $20 a bale, I can't afford to pay someone to put shoes on my horse. Sad but true. If I had tons of money, would I pay someone else to trim and boot my horses for me? Probably. Grovelling around in the mud can be fun, but not when you have to do it as a chore and you're already suffering from a severe shortage of time. I can think of a multitude of other things I'd rather be doing. 

•  As with all things that are hard, I get personal satisfaction from doing my horses' feet. Of course it's easier to not have to deal with it and to sit around reading a book, eating bonbons, but not nearly as rewarding

•  If I shod my horses I'd still have to stand and hold them for the farrier, so if I have to spend the time anyway I might as well do them myself, on my schedule.

•  In the old days, whichever horse I shod would always be the horse that didn't end up getting ridden (because of the horse's health, my health, or "life stuff" going on).

•  I like the control I have over their feet. With one toed-in horse and one who grows tons of toe, I like being able to poke at them at regular intervals to keep it under control. If I look at their feet and go "euw" then it's my own fault. 

•  I don't have to worry about trying to synchronize shoeing schedules with ride schedules (just as well, given that my ride schedule is making itself up as we go along).

•  When I get kicked/stood on/ran over the top of, I much prefer the horse to be barefoot.

•  When I'm on pavement, I don't have to scrinch my body in angst convinced the horse will fall down (to reiterate, this is my personal paranoia and has little to do with reality). 

•  If you're going to do lots of miles on a horse, doing it with the least concussion possible seems like a good plan. Boots provide protection against concussion.

•  And finally, the thing that really tipped me over the edge was Roo doing an enormous spook about 50 miles into a 100 mile ride and only half wrenching his shoe off in the process - it was still firmly attached but offset by about 3/4". Luckily it was as we were coming into the vet check and even more luckily, my farrier happened to be doing the ride and was just ahead of us so I was able to interrupt his lunch hold to ask him to reset the shoe (I'm sure he was thrilled). Never again, however, do I want to be in the position where I would potentially have to pull from a ride because of something that stupid. Not to mention the fact that usually when they wrench shoes, the horse yanks out half the hoof-wall at the same time, so there's nothing left to nail to. And even if they don't pull off half the hoof with the shoe, they tweak their leg and go lame. 

Now admittedly, the above reasons may not be sufficient for many to make the switch - that's their choice. One size does not fit all, and if shoes are working for them, then good. If people don't have the desire to mess with boots - without that initial commitment, then, no, boots probably aren't for them.

One time I can see it being appropriate to suggest a change is when people say:

"Look, my horse has [insert foot problem], how would you fix it?".

(thinks: keep the horse barefoot and use boots - being able to work on the horse's foot at every 1-2 weeks would eventually solve the problem, and if it's congenital, at least you can keep it under control with regular trims)

 

With this kind of toe-growth, being able to trim at short intervals keeps things under control

...Or if your horse happens to have been constructed with the front legs stuck on the wrong sides.
When this horse was in shoes, he needed shoeing every four weeks to keep his toed-in front feet from becoming a problem.

"My horse has sensitive feet and gets bruised easily, but I don't want to pad" (thinks: use EZ Boots - voila, instant pad that you can take off afterwards).

Setting the Record Straight

This week I was contacted by Rachel Shackelford who was mentioned in a post I wrote a few months ago concerning Tevis (article here). She wanted to set the record straight regarding her horse Cody's pull at Tevis in 2010.

It is true I wasn't even on the US continent when this event occurred (I was in England attending my brother's wedding, surrepticiously following the ride over the internet while trying to pretend to be a wedding guest). I was enthused to see locals Rachel and Cody doing so well that year (they were running in third place) and bummed when they showed up on the pull list. Afterwards when I asked people who'd been at the ride what happened I was told that Cody had slipped going through Foresthill (the paved portion of the ride) and returned to the vet check and pulled. Seeing in the AERC records that Cody was pulled for "surface factors" (which invariably means abrasions of some sort) I put two and two together and came up with what seemed to me the obvious scenario.

Except that's not what happened at all.

Rachel says she was about four miles out of Foresthill on the dirt singletrack when Cody tripped on a rock and fell on his knees. Although he had no scrapes and was sound, she opted to return to the Foresthill check and have him looked over by the vets. Despite getting a clean bill of health, she still wasn't comfortable with continuing - as she put it: "Cody ...NEVER trips. He is the most sure footed horse that I have been extremely blessed to ride...he gave me a sign that it wasn't his day" - so she opted to pull.

Given the above information, then, no - as suggested in my post - Rachel probably wouldn't feel the need to switch from steel shoes to boots.

And in Cody's case he retired sound after over 4,000 miles of competition so shoes evidently worked fine for him. I applaud Rachel for being able to race a horse with that many miles at that level - no flash-in-the-pan there - something I have great admiration for.

In my defense, I was writing about the train of thought I had that day - that if a horse had slipped on pavement then wouldn't the rider want to switch to footwear with better traction? Since that isn't what happened, it doesn't apply to her.

My apologies for any offense caused.

--
Lucy Chaplin Trumbull
Sierra Foothills, California

Our First Natural Trim in a Year

We had a very interesting weekend. We competed in the Texas Trail Challenge CTR in Whitney, Texas. It has turned out to be a such beautiful spring in Texas, and what a difference from last spring and summer. We finally received some rain over the winter and spring, and the wild flowers are in full bloom. Friend and Natural Hoof Care Practitioner Trista Lutz was at the ride with her beautiful 7 year old daughter, Dani. Trista and I have been talking about her doing Newt's feet, but unfortunately she lives about 5 hours away.  

We know of no natural hoof practitioners close to where I live. I have been studying up on natural hoof care, but have never really seen a trim, and frankly, I am afraid of trimming Newt's feet. The Natural Hoof Care Practitioner I used for about 2 years has moved. I rarely saw him work, as I would drop Newt off for his trim at the farm where he was working. My current farrier does a good job, but is of the old school. Newt's toe cracks were worsening and now he is getting quarter cracks, which he has never had before. Of course, my current farrier wants to put shoes on to correct the cracks. Help! 

Trista took a look at Newt and said no problem. She pointed out that his heels were a little long, and his soles were flat and a little thin. She explained the cracks were from all of the peripheral loading. He has decent hoof walls, just too many of the wrong kind of forces working to cause the cracks. Things I kind of knew, but was not sure of how to handle. Trista trimmed him, explaining all the while what she was doing and why. I took pictures, and really tried to eel the wall and waterline relationship. One of the most interesting things I noticed after Trista trimmed Newt's feet was the sound of his feet hitting the ground. Instead of the usual clip-clop, I now heard pad-pad. I was thinking, "Now I know why the Indians always snuck up on the settlers - their horses must have had much more natural feet. No long hoof wall to make clip-clop sounds!" I know his feet are not perfect, but I feel like we are improving.

Left front after trimming.  You can see the right front without the trim.

Right front trimmed, left front still untrimmed.

Hind foot before finishing the trim.

Working on the hind. Notice the miracle rasp.

My job now is to try to keep Newt where he is through weekly rasping of his hooves. I rasped some yesterday. Don't think I did any harm, but unsure if I did enough. We are at the beginning of a huge learning curve.  

Trista also gave me one of her old rasps. What a difference! My old rasp was difficult to use, hard to cut with and very grabby. Trista's  worn out Vallorbe Swiss rasp is amazing. It cuts so easily and smoothly. Who knew there was such a difference in rasps?

I also re-measured Newt's feet for the new Glove Back Country boots and Easyboot Trails. We have been wearing the Easyboot Gloves for over 2 years. I wish I had saved my measurements from the first time, but I do remember his measurements did not really correspond to the size that actually fit best. The measurements I took yesterday indicate he needs different sizes. Guess I'll try another fit kit and see if his feet have really changed over the last few years. The Gloves seem to fit well now, even the new ones I ordered about 4 months ago. Trista also suggested adding pads to help his soles out. Hopefully, Trista and I can get together at future TTC rides and keep Newt's feet healthy.  I am so looking forward to this journey in natural hoof trimming.

Carol Warren

A Skeptic's Review of the Easyboot Glove Back Country

Submitted by Roger Rittenhouse

For the past two years plus I have used other boots with good results on my horse, Omni. While very satisfied with the other brand, I wanted to try another boot that might be easier to install and have less mass going down the trail. Omni has oblong, non-round hoofs, but the other boot is round. So while it fits the length, it is wide for his hoof. The first pair of the new Easyboot Glove Back Country boots arrived today.  With good spring weather, I had to ride and test the boots.

I had measured his freshly-trimmed hooves at least four times. I could not find the mm scale so I used the 32-inch scale and converted against EasyCare’s advice. The sizing is the same as the Easyboot Glove, and from what I can gather, the boot should be long enough for base support but narrow to grip the hoof.

Based on the measurements, I settled on #2.5. It took some effort to get them installed so I used a rubber mallet to seat them. The right front was tight; the left front was better, but still tight. I felt the boots were perhaps a half size too small. I should have ordered a #3. Oh well: once installed there is no return and I had to test ride. Once I got them seated and worked the rear heel capture in place they were easy to lock in place. The mallet sure helped to get them seated. The wide Velcro back flaps worked great. That part was easy.

A little trot in hand went well and the boots stayed on. He moved out nicely. I re-checked the heel and was able to get a finger in the boot to check heel/hoof contact. Everything appeared OK.

We hand walked down the hard road, some trot. No slipping. I mounted at the dirt road, and off we went into the forest. We walked a mile, and then I asked for an easy trot: all felt fine. Due to size and shape, the other boots would clip inside on each other, but not hit the cannon bone. The Glove Back Country did not hit. He also did not forge from behind.

It’s impossible to determine if the boots are working as desired with just a few miles, so we did 7.5 miles, mostly at a walk some at a trot and some jerking around being an idiot Arab. I let him ramp up to about 8-9 mph to see how he traveled. Apart from the idiot Arab kick-outs and hops, he moved very nicely: almost the way he moves when barefoot. Very nice!

When I returned home, the left front was tight to remove. His heels looked good and the captive lip at the lower heel (what EasyCare calls the Comfort Cup gaiter) showed tight contact, as did the back of the heel bar. He had wear marks on the heels showing full base contact. The heel bulbs looked good and had no rubs. The right front showed more pressure contact on the hoof heel bar below the bulbs and more indentation in the heel captive lip. Both hoof walls showed the wear or marks from the grip of the Glove on the sides and the quarters. This shows good width size. The boots were gripping the walls the way they are designed to.

My second ride was not a long ride - only three miles.  I set the boots out in the sun while I cleaned up my boy, figuring it couldn’t hurt them and may make them a bit softer. They were much easier to put on. Since he was ten days into the trim cycle, I filed the left front just to clean it up some and get a better mustang roll. I worked the toe back just a little: a few swipes of the file were all I needed. This hoof grows sort of normal compared to the right front.

Off to the trails: I rode a mile or so on the dead-end hard top, then asked for a little trot. It was nice easy going with no slip. Then into the trails with leaves, mud and downhill terrain. Went quite well with almost no slipping. The tread gripped fine. We did a few loops around the woods trail and into an open field. The boots went through ankle-deep mud. Back at the barn, the boots came off with a slight effort, easier than first ride but they did not just fall off. The grip marks on the hoof wall at the quarters indicated a tight fit.

I think the # 2.5 is a good fit as long as I keep the toes and front walls close and tight. If he would go a week or two, the boots would be too tight. If I were planning on going more than two weeks without trimming, I’d go up a half size to account for the hoof growth. Since I am the primary trimmer, I can work the hoofs as needed. I have a professional barefoot trimmer on a 7 to 8 week schedule to re-do my trims and make corrections as needed.

I noted how well he seemed to move, as in break-over and getting the forehand moving faster. The boots have a natural balance design, that is to say there is a nice beveled toe with the break-over point back behind the white line. I think he moves better in the boots than barefoot. He has tendency to toe clip or toe drag, which causes him to trip at times. The boot design gets that toe over and up into the fight faster. At least I noted he tripped less.

As has been stated many, many times, no boot is perfect for all horses in all conditions. The advantages we have today to find a design of boot that works well for your horse and riding style is significant compared to the limitations that we had to deal with when they are shod. My Initial impressions remain positive. I will find out more as we hit the trails this spring. For me and my old horse the Easyboot Glove Back Country is working and meets my requirements.

Over the course of the next five rides with the four Glove Back Country boots, I used # 3 on the front, and #2.5 on rear. I was concerned the large size would result in pulled boots, but the boots stayed on though hoof-deep mud and rocky washed-out trails.

I am very pleased with the performance of these boots. I have used other EasyCare boot styles with mixed results. The new Glove Back Country really works for me and my horse. They are easy to put on the hoof and take off, and there is no messing around with adjustments. I fold back the Comfort Cup gaiter, slide the boot over the hoof and tap it in place with the palm of my hand to seat the boot. I close the Velcro flaps, and I’m done. I can install four boots in about five minutes. The larger size has allowed me to let the trim and re-shape go a little longer than with a smaller sized boot. He trots just fine over rock stone roads and blacktop. The boot tread and the grip helps to keep him from slipping on the blacktop.

For the riders who are thinking about this new boot design, it really works. I have used almost all the boots ever made over the last 30 years. The new Glove Back Country has performed the best for my current horse and how we ride.


Name: Roger Rittenhouse
City: Pikeville, Tennessee, USA
Equine Discipline: Trail, Endurance
Favorite Boot: Easyboot Glove Back Country

A Conspiracy You Can Be Proud Of

Quo vadis natural hoof trimmers, bare hoof trimmers, booters, farriers, blacksmiths, hoof care merchants?

I have been fortunate enough to have had great mentors when I started farrier work over 20 years ago. My mentors were farriers who were open minded, letting the horses in their care go bare for long stretches of the year to "allow the hoof to relax" for a while, as they always said. Bare hoof trims were nothing fancy or new, whenever a horse had some time off, the shoes were pulled and that was it. Bare hoof riding was a way of life for many horses already many years ago.

Now Barefoot Trimming and Natural Hoof Care have gone mainstream. Natural Hoof Trims and Hoof Boots are in the lime light now, we all talking about it and more and more horse owners are taking it upon themselves to learn and study and doing it themselves.

I have been conducting hoof care clinics all over the Northamerican Continent and Europe. I attend farriers clinics, am a member of the American Farriers Association (AFA) and have ample opportunity to speak and interact with farriers from many countries all the time. Interesting to hear their take on Natural Hoof Trimming and the usage of protective horse boots. Here are some of the comments:

  • "It's a fad".
  • "It doesn't work"
  • "Horses cannot go bare"
  • "Steel shoes have always worked"
  • "Don't change anything if it is not broken"
  • "I'm a professional, I work hard"

None of these statements have any substance, they are hollow, mean absolutely nothing and are only excuses. But for what? Just a few days ago, I heard a new one, which I liked the best so far:

"It is a conspiracy!"

Is this horse a conspirator?

Now I was interested, who are the conspirators? He explained to me that the objective of "them" is to push the farriers out of business.

Conspirators at work.

The Kodak Company came to my mind.  When they filed Chapter 11, did they think it was a conspiracy of the digital camera manufacturers and the various software companies to push Kodak into the abyss? Were typewriter manufacturers victims of a conspiracy?

Life is ever evolving. So are our jobs and professions. If we think we know it all, are lazy, resting and stagnant, we are getting steam rolled. More now so than ever before.

I had to thank this farrier for giving me the opportunity to show him that he will only be out of business if he refuses to educate himself and adapt. The new hoof care findings and new hoof protection product lines offer an amazing opportunity for farriers to participate in the future by providing a complete Hoof Care Service for their customers.  Adding new skills to the art of blacksmithing, like barefoot trimming, Easyboot Glue-On applications, Vettec hoof protection; selling and providing Polyurethane horse shoes like Equiflex and the new upcoming Easyshoe, Easyboot Backcountry, Glove, Epic, Trail, etc, etc; any farrier can participate in this conspiracy and benefit immensely economically through it.

From the past, we move to the future through learning and by being open-minded.

A polyurethane horse shoe made by the Bootmeister with Vettec Superfast.

A protoype of the new EasyShoe.

Jump on board, Farriers, let the journey begin!

Brought to you by Christoph Schork,  The Bootmeister.

Global Endurance Training Center

Returning to Horses and Evolving into Boots

Submitted by Monique Chaisson-Williams, Team Easyboot 2012 Member

I have a confession. I’m “one of those people”. I loved horses as a teenager but never owned one until I was in my mid-40s. Growing up in Tucson, AZ, I had plenty of access to other people’s horses and I did everything I could to be around and ride them. I learned a lot about riding and handling horses, but very little about horse care. I worked as a wrangler, but I never had horses in my back yard, I didn’t show, I never took lessons, and my parents knew nothing about horses.

Going for a ride in 1980. Neither one of us had boots!

When I finally decided – at the age of 45 – that I was old enough to own a horse, the balance and muscle memory of my childhood allowed me to quickly pick up as a rider where I had left off 30 years earlier, in much the same way that one never forgets how to ride a bike. However the day I handed over the check for my new mount, I felt a wave of panic come over me as I realized that I had no idea how to care for this animal on a daily basis. Now that I am a few years into my horse adventure, I have come to realize that my lack of knowledge – which I viewed as a tremendous handicap at the start – has become my greatest asset, especially for my horse.

With a wealth of information at our disposal, today’s horse owners are far more sophisticated and the supportive technology and products for optimal horse care has evolved tremendously. After a 30-year hiatus, I find myself in the midst of an evolution in everything equine. There has been significant development and groundbreaking work in equine care, training, nutrition, sport, and equipment – endurance saddles, gel pads, western dressage, one-rein stops, bitless bridles, competitive trail riding, and of course hoof care products and boots. These things were all new to me. In fact, I had never really looked at a shoeless hoof. To me, that crescent of steel was as much a part of the hoof as the frog.

Before I finally took my horses barefoot last year, I did my research. I read articles on the internet, consulted with veterinarians, ferriers, and experienced horse owners. If I was going to try this barefoot thing, I’d have to do it right. I wanted to avoid all the “I told you so” comments from the people at my barn that asserted that the desert terrain was too harsh for a barefoot horse. I knew that the proper use of the right boots was going to be the key to my success. The boots I was looking for had to be easy to put on and take off; they had to stay on up rocky slopes, through water, and down long sandy washes; they had to be comfortable for my horse; and not break the bank.  Before I pulled the shoes, I searched for the perfect boot for over a year and one day while trail-riding, I saw a horse outfitted with the Easyboot Glove. BINGO – just one look and I knew I had found the missing key!

Competing in an ACTHA ride in November 2011. (Photo courtesy of Jennifer LaBelle, Silver Buckle Photography.)

The other obstacle I encountered was the erroneous belief that replacing the toe weights and heel cocks with boots would cause my walking horse to lose her smooth four-beat gait. Having no prior experience with gaited horses, I feared they might be right but I took my chances and I am so glad I did. In fact, I found that her gait has improved as a barefoot and booted equine. A proper barefoot trim is required for the use of the Gloves, and I am a huge fan of the Gloves to this day. My horses have never been sore and they gait better now than they ever did with shoes. A well-fitted glove will usually stay on through thick and thin. Over hundreds of miles, my Gloves have slipped off only twice and it was due to operator error (too large or failure to clean dirt out of the toe). They don’t fill with sand or water, and when you do get a flat tire it sounds like a flat tire, and the gaitor usually keeps the glove attached to the pastern so you don’t lose it.

The thing I am looking forward to most these days is settling in and maturing together with my horses, riding and exploring with them for many years to come, and establishing a long track record of barefoot soundness. My evolution from steel shoes to Easyboots is a decision I’ve never regretted for a moment and I don’t believe I ever will.

Monique Chaisson-Williams

F-Balance in Europe

Submitted by Anke Schreiber, Team Easyboot 2012 Member

The hoof specialist and farrier from Argentina, Daniel Anz, hosted several clinics in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. He showed his trimming method called F-Balance to hoof care practitioners and farriers.

Daniel Anz


The F stands for flexibility. His take home message: the hoof is more flexible than the head. He trims the hoof according to three natural factors:

  1. Heel length: Anz found that every heel shows where it wants to be cut by showing a little crack or bend caused by the stress of the overgrown material. The distance from the stress point to the hairline happens to be the same medial and lateral and even the same on both limbs of the fronts or hinds.
  2. Sole level: the hoof wall should be trimmed to the level of the functional sole.
  3. The functional sole may not be cut.
  4. Hoof angle: the correct angle the hoof wants to grow can be determined by considering the upper growth of the hoof underneath the coronary band.

According to Daniel Anz, these factors can be applied to any hoof, no matter if it is supposed to be shod or stay barefoot.

Daniel Anz

He states: "What belongs to the horse, leave it to the horse. Only take away what has grown." Does anything sound familiar to any of you?

When we practiced his method on cadaver hooves I found that I didn't do anything different to what I usually do when trimming hooves after the principles of natural hoof care. Some of the attendant farriers held their breath when Daniel lowered the heels according to the stress point, since among farriers in Germany it is still a rule to leave the heels alone or cut them as little as possible. To most of the natural hoof care practitioners present Daniel's method was a very helpful supplement for their work, but not a revolution.

One aspect of his concept, though, was revolutionary to all of us: trimming the heels to the same length medial and lateral (same length between heel and hairline) can lead to different heel heights, when one heel is compressed and pushed upwards. The amazing thing: shortly after the horse loads the foot, the compressed heel / wall relaxes and slips down to a normal position. This is possible because of the great flexibility of the hoof. I can remember having heard Pete Ramey speaking about adjusting the heel length rather than the heel height, but it never seemed as clear to me as it is now after watching Daniel Anz’s presentation.

same heel length, but different heel hight

when the horse loads the foot, the heel will relax and the foot will be balanced

My conclusion: anytime people listen to the horses and their very needs instead of holding on to whatever they have learned before, they come to similar results. For the benefit of the horses.

Read more: www.danielanz.com.

Anke Schreiber

April 2012: Back Country Available Now, Easyboot success at USA Time Trials

Garrett Ford celebrates Easyboot's win and Best Condition award at the USA Endurance 100-mile Team Time Trial in Texas last weekend.

Kevin Myers points you to four areas of information about the Glove Back Country, including a video review by Carol Crisp.

Dawn Willoughby discusses tips and tricks to combat the effects of diet on the health of horses.

Debbie Schwiebert introduces a must-read article on hoof loading by Gail Snyder in Natural Horse Magazine.

We welcome three new dealers to the EasyCare distribution network.

And Team Easyboot 2012 member Anke Schreiber reports on a hoof trimming clinic she recently attended in Germany.

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

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

Read more...

Reliability and Dependability

Submitted by Lalita Creighton, Team Easyboot 2012 Member from Hillsboro, Missouri

As I get older, I value certain characteristics in my life more and more. Two of these are reliability and dependability. Not only in my relationships with my family, friends, and even coworkers, but also with my horse and even the tack and equipment I use. I’m always willing to give new things a try, and if they work well, they become part of the “tried and true” I depend on every day.

My horse, Flirt, falls in this category. My husband’s horse, Jinx, also falls in this category. So do the Easyboot Gloves we use on their front hooves, every single ride. We don’t use any boots on their hinds. They are both barefoot, and have been for several years. Although they can probably handle most trails without any boots in front, we like using them for that little bit of extra protection, and not having to worry if we ride somewhere with a lot more rock than is in their pastures.

We originally started using Boa Hoof Boots on Flirt back around 2005, because we just could not keep metal shoes on him no matter what we tried. After having the shoer out three times in one week, and still missing a shoe on Saturday, I threw my hands up in the air and was willing to try anything. Boa Hoof Boots seemed like a good solution. They were easy to put on, I didn’t ride a ton of miles, and I no longer had to worry about lost shoes.  The Boas performed reasonably well, and I used them until 2010. 


I was fortunate enough to be selected for the original Team Easyboot in 2010 (and chosen again both in 2011 and this year – thank you, Easycare), and was able to perform some testing in the new Easyboot Gloves. They were revolutionary. No moving parts to break or replace, fairly easy to put on, and boy do they stay on.

A few years before, I had a barefoot trimmer that stopped trimming due to a back injury teach me to trim our horses. When I had abdominal surgery, my husband stepped up and learned, and to this day does all the trimming. Keeping the hooves in shape for the Gloves is never an issue for us, and we have never had a Glove fail us.

The closest we’ve come to one “failing” was due to poor fit. We had let Flirt’s toes get a bit too long, and his Gloves were fit to that hoof size and shape. As we corrected that runaway toe, his boots became a bit too big and started to occasionally come off.  We found a few wraps of athletic tape around the hoof allowed us to keep using those boots until I could get a Fit Kit and confirm his smaller size.

We’ve also been able to depend on these Gloves to perform duties outside what they are recommended for, and perform well. Flirt had stepped on one heel bulb with his other hoof when he got tangled up on the trail in a badly eroded hill. He walked off without any indication something was wrong, and since he had his boots on, I never thought to get off and check. We rode about ten miles that day, and back at the trailer we discovered he had actually split his heel bulb open about ¼” wide and deep, and about  1” long.

I rinsed it with saline, put a clean bandage on it (no ointments), secured the bandage with tape, and put the boot back on. I hauled him home and called my veterinarian. After explaining the wound and my treatment of it, my veterinarian said he couldn’t do anything more than I had done, and to keep it clean, change the bandage twice a day, use antibiotic ointment, and keep using the Gloves for turnout to help protect the area. For approximately one month we followed this protocol, sometimes leaving the boots off during the night so his hooves would have a break. He never had an infection, never took a lame step, and the boots showed no wear and tear from this usage. This obviously falls outside the normal recommendation for these boots, but I was absolutely delighted with how well they worked.

Just today, after giving the horses the winter off, we hooked up and hauled to a local trail for the first trail ride of the season. I took all of my reliables and dependables with me:  my husband, our horses, and of course our Easyboot Gloves.

Lalita Creighton

A Video Review of the Easyboot Glove Back Country

Carol Crisp has been involved with Team Easyboot for many years. She has a passion for the high elevation mountain trails of the rockies and has become known for putting boots to the test by riding on some of the steepest trails she can find.

Carol recently took delivery of a set of Easyboot Glove Back Country hoof boots and was kind enough to make this video review for us with her horse, Smoke.

Carol makes some interesting points worth underlining:

1. Check the hardware on your boots when you get them out of the box. If you bought from the first batch of Back Country boots, make sure all the screws in the boot are tightened up before you use them for the first time. Carol even puts a dab of nail polish around the screw to keep it in place - and shares a tip on how to remove it if and when you want to change out components.

2. Fit on the Easyboot Glove Back Country is more forgiving that the fit of the Easyboot Glove. You should feel comfortable that going up a half size will still assure you a successful booted experience.

3. Certain boots work better for certain horses. Depending on the conformation of your horse, one boot may perform better than the other. We believe this boot is a good complement to the Easyboot Glove, and allows for more variations in hoof shape and angle than the Glove. It also allows for boot fit throughout a longer trimming schedule.

4. Test the boots before you go out on the trail or go to an event. Carol longes Smoke in the boots before she rides him - just to make sure there is no twisting or signs of rubbing.

Carol's first test of the boots was for over 2.5 hours. I see a future for the Easyboot Glove Back Country. If you subscribe to this blog via RSS, you can see Carol's video review at http://youtu.be/gUXhrqLZYJg.

Thanks Carol. 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.

 

Bucking Traditions

Traditions, they say, die hard in the West. Contrary to popular belief, back in the 1800's men weren't the only ones shooting whiskey and packing a Peacemaker. Women were often going toe to toe with the best of cowboys. These women broke tradition and blazed their own trail. They knew no boundaries.

In that same spirit, Kimberly Knight of Date Creek Ranch, Wickenburg, AZ is not afraid to buck tradition. Date Creek is the continuation of over 130 years of family ranching and is now in the capable hands of Kimberly and her husband Stephen. 

This past December Kimberly was interviewed by EasyCare dealer of the month and natural hoof care practitioner Amanda Beno Marsh for Western Horsemen Magazine's monthly feature Women of the West.

As Kimberly reveals in the  interview, Date Creek Ranch embraces innovation and recognizes what it takes to survive in the ranching business today. Proactive and environmentally conscious, the ranch embodies a true spirit of a new West. 

This same forward thinking carries over to the ranch's horse keeping practices. Kimberly, with the help of Amanda Marsh of Mountain Top Hoof Trimming Services have had success keeping the ranch horses barefoot, happy and sound in some very tough country.                                                                                                                                                 

Rocks!

Kimberly, has tried several styles of hoof boots but found the Old Mac's G2  with 12 mm Comfort Pads to be the hoof protection that suits her horses best and can handle the extremely rocky terrain on the ranch. Now with the new Easyboot Glove Back Country she is excited about giving this new boot the ultimate rock test. 

Rocks and more rocks.

The spirit of the West is one of individuals who never settled for the status quo. I challenge you to get a little western and to not be more comfortable with your old problems than with a new solution. Folks from all over the country and around the world just like Kimberly Knight are bucking the tradition of shoeing and choosing a barefoot lifestyle for their horses. Perhaps there's a little bit Western in all of us.

Debbie Schwiebert

easycare-vet-hcp-deaaler-accounts-manager-debbie-schwiebert

Vet Dealer & Hoof Care Practitioner Accounts

I manage the hoof care practitioner and veterinarian dealer accounts at EasyCare. An integral part of my job is to stay current in all areas of barefoot hoof care, which enables me to serve this vital group of EasyCare dealers at the next level.