Our Dealer of the Month for October is Jeannie Wright of Wright Hoof Care in Ringwood, Illinois.
Jeannie started learning about barefoot hoof trimming in 2005. She said she was fascinated with the difference in her horse’s stride after his first natural trim and that is what got her started. She attended hoof care clinics and says she could not stop asking questions. She first started trimming her own horses, calling them her guinea pigs, while she received supervision from other barefoot trimmers until 2007, when she began trimming professionally. In fact, Jeannie worked in the legal field for 25 years and left that career in 2010 to become a full time hoof care practitioner. Jeannie became certified through the American Hoof Association in 2010. She currently has about 230 horses in her practice ranging from trail horses, jumpers, polo ponies, draft horses, minis, donkeys and one mule.
Jeannie feels her success as a trimmer is directly related to her passion. Helping animals has been a part of her life since she can remember: she attributes her success to proper training and guidance in developing her skills. Jeannie is especially grateful for the support and friendship of Ida Hammer, Eric Knapp and other trimmers, who help and encourage one another. She also spends time studying, especially Pete Ramey’s book, Care and Rehabilitation of the Equine Foot, and she likes to carry on educational discussions with other trimmers.
When asked about her successful marketing strategies, Jeannie stated, “The horse world is very small, so an important part of successful marketing comes from personal relationships with my clients. Being punctual and actively listening to the concerns of clients are some the best things a trimmer can do. I work hard to meet my clients when they are with their horses so I can accommodate their individualized needs. In order to make sure that my clients have a great experience with their boots, I carry a range of sizes and styles. I also have the EasyCare brochures so that I can properly educate my clients and thoroughly answer their questions. For my own personal marketing, I also have a website, which is www.wrighthoofcare.com, which features before and after hoof pictures and explains my philosophy, education and background.
Jeannie says that horse owners have the most knowledge about their horses and situations and they love to share that information. She feels that horses also share their stories as to what areas are bothering them by how they travel and how they are ridden. Jeannie feels that listening and learning about each one is critical to her success with every horse and owner. She likes to discuss each horse’s needs, owner expectations and she likes to give her predictions of the hoof until the next time that she visits. She prefers a holistic approach and discusses diet, environment and exercise with the owners.
Jeannie feels that EasyCare has made the hoof boot industry change because its versatile products are exceptionally user friendly and are available to a wide range of riders. She feels that more people are realizing that boots can be a realistic option for them because EasyCare offers so many different types of boots. Plus, she feels that EasyCare has innovative solutions to common boot problems, like using Mueller’s Athletic Tape for additional security. Jeannie says that with boots that accommodate the various needs of horses and riders, EasyCare is on the forefront of the hoof boot industry.
Jeannie started using EasyCare products in 2009. She indicates that the Fill Your Truck program made it very easy for her to get started. She carries different style boots to include the Easyboot Glove, Glove Back Country and Easyboot Trail to accommodate every hoof and she also carries accessories such as Power Straps for the Gloves and Comfort Pads. Jeannie said that the Glove has been her best seller, but the Epics and Trails are popular among horses that are just transitioning out of shoes. When asked which boot was her favorite, Jeannie had to say the Glove was her favorite for natural hoof care. She also feels that the Easyboot Trail is great choice for transitioning out of shoes and for light riding. She feels that the Trail is perfect for horses that are slightly sensitive or working towards a healthier hoof. Jeannie also feels that Trails offer many different options when using the Comfort Pads.
When asked about her most rewarding experience, Jeannie said, “Every day in this line of work is rewarding, but I get really happy when a horse owner tells me that their horse has never moved so well, and that their trainer, friends and/or vet has noticed the improvement.”
Her most memorable hoof boot success story? “I took the shoes off of a newly purchased OTTB mare about a year ago. She was clearly uncomfortable in her back and back legs. Her owner used the Easyboot Trail right from the beginning for riding and turn out. This mare is now a sweet, comfortable and wonderfully-muscled horse. She has the best feet in the barn, according to her owners, and other boarders comment on them regularly. Her Trail boots give her the opportunity to more freely, protected from the sand and gravel outside, which she needed during her transition period. Being part of the team that restored her to healthfulness and usefulness has motivated me to continue to advocate for natural hoof care.”
Jeannie ventured into the horse world when she bought her first pony at age twelve. She laughs when she thinks back and says that her board was only $20 per month. She then had an Appaloosa mare for several years when she was in her teens. Husband, Larry, bought her TWH, Mikey, in 2001, which was when she was first able to really get back into horses since her teens. She now owns two Tennessee Walkers: Count, beautiful and young at age 26; and Mikey, sporty and fun at age 19. She recently purchased Mona, an 8 year old Missouri Fox Trotter mare. She boots her horses in exceptionally rough terrain and feels that she has the most success with her personal horses using the Easyboot Glove.
So, where does Jeannie see the barefoot industry going? “I think the barefoot industry is going to continue reaching into all equestrian disciplines. Barefoot success and education about alternatives to traditional shoeing are going to be key factors. Boots are a key ingredient in a horse’s ability to perform and be comfortable as well as in restoring horses to healthy feet. Right now, I believe that each barefoot success story increases awareness exponentially. A healthy hoof is beautiful in its design and function. I hope that is the norm in the very near future.”
Jeannie has just celebrated her five year anniversary as a Hoof Care Practitioner. Please visit her website at www.wrighthoofcare.com.