EasyCare at the 2018 International Hoof-Care Summit

The International Hoof-Care Summit is one of our favorite events of the year. The 2018 IHCS continued the tradition and helped EasyCare introduce two new products for 2018. The Easyboot Stratus and the EasyShoe Flex.

EasyCare and PolyFlex Horseshoes partner in a booth and we try and focus on activities that give hoof care professionals the ability to see product demonstrations in person or participate in person. In 2018 we decided to hold a contest that would focus on the application of the new EasyShoe Flex.  

Aussie Christopher Beggs giving it a go.  

It's just another shoe so why is a contest needed? The EasyShoe Flex is different. The shoe is flexible, has a spring steel core, and can't be shaped like a traditional shoe. The contest was designed to draw attention to what makes the shoe different. We feel these differences will benefit horses.

 

1. Spring steel core: The spring steel core provides yielding stability. The core will deflect in the toe, quarters and heels. Heels can independently flex up and down. Spring steel returns to shape and therefore can't be shaped by hammer and anvil. Shaping is done by removing material with a grinder. 

Contest winner Robbie Schuler removes material with a belt sander.  

2.  Secure clinching: The spring steel core allows nails to be set and clinched tight. Many urethane shoes without a steel core have a tendency to have clinches loosen with time. 

Spring steel core holds nails tightly and allows for a solid clinch.

3.  Urethane: The urethane ground surface allows for traction and reduced concussion on hard ground.

Urethane provides traction and concussion reduction. Clear urethane allows the installer to see the while line before driving nails.  

4. Wide web design: The wide web design comes in an open heel and heart bar design. Both versions come in toe or quarter clip models.  

Open heel, heart bar, toe clip and quarter clips.  

5.  Sole-packing versatility: The wide web design holds packing extremely well without mesh.  

The 2018 contest was a huge success. We ended giving four prizes as we had two competitors very close for third. Rather than disappoint, we added another $200 to the payout. 

Robbie Schuler takes first and $500.00

Doug Workman takes 2nd and $300.00. Doug later donated his winnings to the Disabled Farrier Fund!

Luke Farmer takes 3rd and $200.  

 Ollie Middlefield takes 3rd and $200. Ollie is 15 years old. All the contestants were very supportive of Ollie and blown away by his talent. Watch for this young man!

Great week! Great people! Lots of folks and products that help horses do what they do best.  

Garrett Ford

easycare-president-ceo-garrett-ford

President 

I have been President of EasyCare since 1993. My first area of focus for the company is in product development, and my goal is to design the perfect hoof boot for the barefoot horse.

 

 

Foreign Field Notes

Submitted by Christoph Schork of Global Endurance Training Center

Visiting new countries is always such a treat for me; meeting new people, new cultures and tasting local food never loses its fascination. Although my travels over the years have led me to several of the Scandinavian countries, I had not set foot in Norway til last November. Alright, November in Norway does not seem to be that inviting, knowing that the days in the northern latitudes are rather short. And skies are known to be mostly grey during these short days on top of it. 

But so be it. I was invited by Christina Bruhn to come and share some of my hoof knowledge with a group of Norwegian endurance riders, hoof care practitioners and equine professionals. The schedule was set to trim various hooves on day one, share my trimming thoughts and experience, and follow up on day two with a workshop on the proven and also newest hoof protections developed by EasyCare Inc. As luck had it, I actually arrived in Oslo on a blue bird day.

Brummundal with Lake Mjosa. Norway's largest lake.

For the following clinic days, though, late fall grey skies prevailed again. Well, not being tempted to take in the magnificent scenery hidden behind low level clouds and fog banks, we could all focus on the task what we all came for. About 20 of us gathered for indoor PowerPoint presentations which I had prepared for the event. During these indoor presentations, we looked at slides detailing the conformation of horses and the resulting hoof development because of it. We also spend a lot of time discussing the role of the caudal hoof on horses performance potential. Afterwards we all went to work in the barn, evaluating various cadaver hooves, followed by trimming. Each participant had opportunity for hands on work. 

Discussions regarding bar trimming rounded out the afternoon:

-How long should bars be left?

-How do the seasons and the substrates influence length and growth of the bars?

-Benefit and harm of long and short bars.

November daylight is waning around 4pm in the northern latitudes and temperatures are dropping by then as well, so we moved back to the warmer rooms inside to watch slides of Mongolian horse shoeing, which, I might add, is quite different from our 21st century hoof care in the West. You be the judge.

Comfortable at the fire, discussing horses, hooves and life.

The next day we started with an indoor presentation on EasyCare Inc. hoof boots and EasyShoes. Of particular interest was the new EasyShoe Flex. I did bring a few with me to show and discuss their advantages.

Riders in Norway are always concerned about snow, ice and muddy trails. So traction is of utmost importance for them. For icy roads and thin snow cover, the EasyCare Quick Studs work very well. 

Here, one of the Norwegian endurance riders discusses with me advantages and placement of the Quick Studs in the EasyShoe Performance N/G.

Practicing Quick Studs application is shown below.

For the real mud and deep snow conditions, the Norwegian riders prefer heavier armour. 

These heavy duty studs can get easily placed into the EasyCare Glue-Ons, Gloves or any other type of EasyCare hoof boots. 

Shown above are a pair of Easyboot Glue-Ons after we placed the snow and mud studs on during the workshop. These boots were then glued on some front hooves with Vettec Adhere and Sikaflex 227. 

I also demonstrated  the new EasyShoe Flex during the clinic. In a blog last June, The EasyShoe Flex in Action I elaborated on the benefits of the EasyShoe Flex. Garrett Ford also explained the EasyShoe Flex here in a blog last year. Again, I believe that the EasyShoe Flex will be a big and valuable addition to the line of EasyCare products.

Several of the Norwegian National Endurance Team riders joined the clinic.

When visiting Norway, one should take the opportunity to visit Lillehammer, if at all possible. Site of the 1994 Olympic Winter Games, Lillehammer has a special place in Norway. Arguably, these Games were one of the best in the history of the Olympic Games. Here the view from the top of the iconic Ski Jump in Lillehammer, with a great view of the town and Lake Mjosa. 

From Norway, my travels led me through England, where I had the opportunity to participate in a traditional English Fox Hunt.

Somewhat unusual outfit for an endurance rider!

From England my travels brought me to Austria and Germany and finally to the Elsass, nowadays a part of France. Here, Mireille Housencroft organized another Hoof Care Clinic for me, geared towards professional Hoof Care Providers and Farriers, as well as the interested equestrians of all disciplines from Switzerland, France and Germany.

Together in a group setting we trimmed, glued and nailed EasyCare Glue-Ons and EasyShoes. For gluing we used mainly Vettec Superfast and Adhere, with Vettec Equipak CS for packing. The whole palette of Vettec glues was introduced and practiced. Here again a big "thank you" to the Vettec Company for helping me setting up the clinics.

These yearly workshops and clinics help to spread the word about the superior EasyCare products throughout the world. I love doing these clinics. Meeting wonderful people and learning at the same time while helping horses and riders. More trips like that are planned for this coming year.

Christoph Schork

The Bootmeister

Global Endurance Training Center

EasyCare Introduces Free Shipping!

Submitted by Sam Glaser, EasyCare's Chief Executive Officer

When I traveled to Zappos headquarters with Garrett Ford this past spring, we knew we were opening up the possibility of making big changes at EasyCare. When I started with EasyCare in the spring of 2017, I instantly appreciated this team's commitment to customer education. Now we were out to discover what excellence meant beyond just education - we want the customer experience to be exceptional from the moment you call, email or visit our website, to the time you use product on our ultimate customer - your horses. 

One interesting perspective we gained from Zappos is that they treat shipping expenses as the price of good customer service. Amazon, who owns Zappos, does the same thing. We decided that this was an outlook on customer relationships worth adopting, and so beginning in 2018, all US orders over $49 will receive free standard shipping. We hope that this change goes a long way to help create a great buying experience. EasyCare also has many customers in countries outside the US and we continue to work with our carriers on solutions for you. 

EasyCare Product Specialist, Kelsey, applies the Easyboot Glue-On with Garrett Ford.

You can see our new pricing and shipping options at our website. In addition to these shipping changes, we have made many changes behind the scenes so that we can continue to provide you the most innovative products (like the Easyboot Glove Soft, Easyboot Stratus, and EasyShoe Flex hitting the market this spring), backed by industry-leading customer education and service. For instance, we spent time in 2017 working on our corporate mission, vision and core values. The goal was to re-create all of our roles so that they added value to the customer experience. Ultimately, we come to work each day because you trust our products to benefit your horse. Our focus on the customer experience helped us decide to move forward with the free shipping model and will continue to help us shape how we interact with you all. As EasyCare enters its 48th year as the leader in hoof boot technology, we are thankful for all of you who have helped shape this industry and we look forward to many more years of providing great products to great people! I'll leave you with our new mission, vision and core values - along with a couple of photos of our team.

Our mission, vision and values guide our actions and, taken together with our actions, reveal who we are. 

Mission

The mission of our team is to improve the well-being of horses by providing the equestrian community with superior service, education and innovative equine products.

Vision

Our vision is to lead the way – through relationships and innovative behavior – to an equine industry revolution in hoof care practice.

Values

Relationships are the lifeblood of our business.

We approach each interaction with empathy and respect.

We act as a corporate family that takes ownership of our life together.

Education for our customers and selves empowers our community.

We build our culture of integrity through honesty, doing what we say, and consistency in our actions.

Having the courage to be innovative moves the needle in our personal and professional lives.

Life is short – have fun! We cultivate an intense culture, but fight against a tense culture.

Getting to Know Me...Three Months Later...

Hi, I’m Regan Roman, the newest member of the EasyCare Inc. Product Specialist Team. I moved to Durango, Colorado from Washington, DC shortly before the ski season of 2016 with my husband, Cory.

Cory and I had a surprise wedding at the farm in Maryland where I grew up. On that farm I spent my summers in Pony Club, hours of trail riding on our ponies, weeks of trail-clearing for hunter paces, practicing dressage tests in the indoor, show jumping in the outdoor and cross country on those 200 acres of rolling rich grass. I was a lucky city girl that got be a barn rat for most of my childhood.

I have a degree in Communications from the University of Maryland. While in school, I fox hunted with Goshen Hounds Hunt. I catch rode for many seasons and for a few seasons I was fortunate enough to hunt my own horse and pony. I had an off the track Thoroughbred named Bucky for 13 years. Bucky taught me everything as a young pony clubber.

A few years ago, I was able to participate in something I never would have imagined doing when Bucky was a younger man. On April, 13th 2015, Bucky and I rode from the White House to Lincoln’s Cottage to honor 150 years since President Lincoln's last ride. This ride took us through the streets of Washington, DC with the United States Calvary, the DC mounted police and a few other fox hunters from Maryland. Bucky and I were on C-SPAN! I now look back at that day and wish I had an EasyCare product on Bucky. I remember how sore he was afterwards and I now know that iron shoes, pavement and 5 miles of walking were pretty hard on his old Thoroughbred body. 

Since moving to Durango I’ve gotten the chance to ride Western and learn to barrel race. I can’t wait to explore all the trails that this incredible part of the country has to offer. But I will always be an English rider at heart and I love when people tell me about the jumping and dressage they do in EasyCare Inc. products. 

Still Going

Submitted by David Landreville of Landreville Hoofcare.

Sera, the buckskin mare in the video below was going to be euthanized for chronic lameness before she had reached the age of two. We found out about her through a client and brought her to our place. She was wearing steel shoes and pads that had been on so long that all the nails were gone and the walls had grow over the shoes keeping them fixed in place. She has been a tough rehab case due to the extensive damage done to her feet by poor and neglectful shoeing while her feet were still growing. Although I've never be enable to restore her feet to a sustainable shape and function I've been able to help her make slight but steady progress in form and function over the past 10 years. I can typically rehab most horses with minimal time in boots and pads but this mare has been a lesson in exhausting all options. Since originally pulling her steel shoes and plastic pads I've tried many different protective applications including: hoof casts, boots with Comfort Pads, and EasyShoes.

I've even tried combinations of these products. While I have had success keeping her comfortable from time to time (she's even been ride-able through some periods), I never had any good long term results improving the form and function of her feet. The biggest challenge that I've had with her is that her coffin bones were so badly remodeled at such an early age that I haven't been able to figure out how to fully eliminate wall flare or get her to produce an adequate thickness of live sole. I read some of Dr. Bowker's research on bifurcation of the lamina and I feel that this is one of the reasons that she can't produce a wall that has enough integrity to hold up her muscular 1100 lb Quarter Horse frame. The solar corium needs to be non-load bearing to produce healthy, thick, live sole and with such little support from the wall she is set up for continual crushing of her solar coriums and further bone loss. Due to the extreme wall flare from the bifurcated lamina, her toes grow super fast and require weekly trims. This is one reason that EasyShoes haven't been the right solution in the past. Her feet simply out grow them in a weeks time. Another problem that she has may be hormonal. One vet mentioned to me that there may be a connection to mares with bad feet and hormone issues. Every summer, after several months of progress building sole thickness and reducing distortion, her feet would collapse after our rainy season. The combination of heat, humidity, and possibly hormone imbalances would undermine all the progress made in the months prior. This has been a constant cycle for 9 years.

I've kept up on her on weekly trims for 10 years. This has helped minimize further structural damage. I tried something new about a year ago. I started using the Easyboot Cloud almost like you would use a shoe. I leave them on her 24/7 with frequent brief periods out of them. She has thin hoof structures but they are mostly live tissue due to the style and frequency of my trimming. Her feet stay clean and dry in the boots and she has no trouble getting around in any gait she pleases. The thick wedge shaped pads make up for her atrophied digital cushions and this was the first year that she didn't lose concavity over the summer. I'm always looking for continual progress with horse's feet, no matter what the rate of progress. I've never been comfortable with just making a horse appear sound and I'm careful when it comes to using boots for rehabilitation. It needs to be done thoughtfully. If there's no structural integrity it's not true soundness. To me, form and function are interdependent. Hoof distortion is just a problem waiting to happen. I'm still hopeful that Sera can have sustainable sound bare feet sometime in her future. I don't believe in quick fixes or keeping horses around with a poor quality of life. In my opinion, we are all here to express ourselves, including horses.

This is Sera expressing herself in our track system with her herd mates.

Good Choice

In 2016, my friend bought an eight year old Wielkopolska gelding. I look after trimming this horse's hooves. The horse unfortunately had hoof issues and when my friend started jumping on him, everyone around advised putting shoes on. However my friend listened to my advice and the gelding is barefoot with the help of the Easyboot Glove.

Thanks EasyCare!

Name: Aleksandra Marczak
State: Massachusetts
Equine Discipline: Jumping
Favorite Boot: Easyboot Glove
 

Hoofjack Photo Contest

Submitted by: Jordan Junkermann, EasyCare Product Specialist.

As a horse lover and dog parent I work hard to document every moment of that animal's day. Whether it is a majestic mountain backdrop, a funny face, or a new activity I love capturing every moment. If there are others like me out there, then I have an opportunity for you! 

EasyCare is holding a photo contest November 21st through December 1st. The winner will receive a FREE Hoofjack!! There will also be a raffle for other EasyCare prizes based on the number of submissions.

We would love to see your horses, donkeys, and mules in our Easyboot products. That can include any of the following: Easyboot Performance products, Therapy products, Pleasure riding products, and EasyShoes.

By submitting a photo you are giving EasyCare permission to publish and use this photo. 

If you have more than one photo feel free to submit more than one entry. Photos must be the property of the person submitting.

Contestant pictures will be reviewed and announced Monday, December 4th. 

Please submit your picture - with photo credits, product name and animal name - along with your contact information (phone number and email) to marketing@easycareinc.com with the subject line "Hoofjack Photo Contest".

Thanks for being part of the EasyCare community and we look forward to seeing your submissions!

 

EasyShoe Flex is Trending

Curtis Burns, of Polyflex Horseshoes, and I have been working on a shoe for many months. Too many months to be candid. The project has taken longer than expected, cost more than anticipated and has made us both more bald. Frustrating, but if bringing a product to market was easy, everyone would do it.  

I did a recent Facebook post on my personal page about the EasyShoe Flex and the post was quickly shared over 1K in a very short time. The shoe and the features of the shoe appear to have some interest.  

A urethane and steel shoe that allows hoof mechanism. Roughly 3.8mm of displacement in the quarters just standing on a nut.  

Curtis and I set out to develop a nail on horse shoe that would provide many unique features. A shoe that would absorb concussion, be easily applied with nails and would allow the hoof to move and flex. Our goal was the following.

1.  Easy application with nails. The shoe can also be applied with adhesive, if needed.

Heart bar version.

2.  A steel or aluminum core that would allow farriers to set the nails and apply a solid clinch.

3.  We wanted a shoe that would move and flex with the hoof.  

 

Rigid, but flexible!

4.  A shoe that would absorb concussion and would outlast iron.  The wide web design is hard to wear out and we believe it will outwear iron.  

5.  We wanted a shoe with sturdy toe and quarter clips.

Sturdy toe and quarter clips. The spring steel is different to work with but the clips can be set nice and flush.

6.  We wanted a urethane shoe that would not cup and apply sole pressure with time.  

7.  A shoe with a heart bar and open heel option.

Open heel.

Heart bar.

We ended up with a bonus product we will call the EasyShoe Light. Same as the heart bar above but with no metal. This version will be priced very aggressively and will compete with the 100% urethane shoes on the market.  

EasyShoe Light.

After nearly two years, we are close to launching a product that we believe has have achieved our goals. A shoe that we view as a "Tweener". More rigid than a urethane shoe and more flexible than steel or aluminum. Another tool for farriers to make the horse happy. In the end the horse is the ultimate customer. If the horse is happy in the new shoe, we will know if the project was a success. 

Would love to hear your thoughts and comments.  

Garrett Ford

easycare-president-ceo-garrett-ford

President 

I have been President of EasyCare since 1993. My first area of focus for the company is in product development, and my goal is to design the perfect hoof boot for the barefoot horse.

 

Not All Composite Shoes Are Equal

One of the biggest advantages of composite shoes and glue is the wide variety of styles and application methods that are successfully used to help horses! However, if you talk to 100 Hoof Care Providers you'll get 99 different opinions about what you can and can't do with these materials.  

"You can't glue to the sole." I glue to the sole all the time.

"Dental impresson material doesn't stay in composite shoes." It does for me every day!  

And the best one....

"Glue-on shoes can only be used for a short period of time because the glue breaks down the hoof and wall." Tell that to the dozens of horses I have in glue-on shoes every month with no break for over 10 years! Their feet are perfectly healthy with no wall defects or problems.

But there are definitely nuances to these materials that can make or break your success! What is it that I'm doing specifically to lead to success? I believe that comes down to the quality and selection of materials being used in each situation, as well as the education, experience and skill of the person applying them.  

I have worked hard to develop my skills in using these materials over the last 13 years. I study every shoe and every glue and every nuance of application I can. There is no reason to believe that just because you trim or shoe horses, that using glue and composite shoes, wouldn't have as many nuances as variations in trim styles, or in metal shoe selection and application!  

Here is an example of someone who had good intentions to help this foundered horse, but their selection of materials and lack of experience in applying them led to problems for the horse.



The well-meaning farrier had applied a home made composite shoe that he glued on and the horse became lame. 

I was called in to see if I could come up with a different solution to the horse being sore footed. The idea of Glue-On composite shoes was excellent for this horse. By selecting the EasyShoe Performance, Acrylic Glue, Dental Impression Material and some hoof casting, this horse had a very different response.

This is right after shoeing with EasyShoes and hoof casting.

The hoof casting was beneficial in the beginning to stabilize this horse's hoof capsule. We removed the wings off the EasyShoe and used casting to add stability to the horse's foundered foot. After he was more comfortable and the inflammation had calmed down, we eliminated the casting and went with EasyShoe Performance applied with the attached wings.

After a short period of time, the horse was back to work in his EasyShoes.

This is just a quick example of how small details can make or break your success when using glue and composite materials! Maybe the difference for this horse was adding frog support, or the acrylic vs. urethane glue. My recommendation is like anything, the more you study and learn, the more tricks you have in your toolbox, the better prepared you are to help the horse! Not all Glue-on composite shoe applications are created equally. They are just a tool in the person's hands!  

www.DaisyHavenFarm.com

www.IntegrativeHoofSchool.com

Glue On Clinic at Canoga Farrier Supply, Canoga California

Submitted by Jon Smedley, Trim and Train

Hosted by Jon Smedley and Sarah Smedley of Trim and Train as well as Larkin Greene of Vettec

We don’t need to go to the farrier supply store because we get most of our supplies from EasyCare Inc. but I do like to go to look around and stay connected to the local shop. I’m like a kid in a candy store and my wife Sarah gets super anxious as the nice lady at Canoga Farrier Supply rings up the small stack of tools and toys that I just cannot leave without.

Last year, Julie, the store manager, suggested we have a glue-on clinic because a few of her regular customers where asking a lot of questions about EasyShoes. Those that had tried them were having a lot of failures. I figured it was just ‘small talk’ and she was not really serious. When she asked again a few months later, I realized she was serious.

Julie and, the shop owner, Bobby helped open the clinic to the public for FREE. Larkin Greene of Vettec is always offering to help at an event so I knew we’d have a great clinic. EasyCare was kind enough to send a box with some Glue-On shells and EasyShoe Performance N/Gs that fit our hoof buddies as well as some EasyShoe Bond for demonstrations and practice. Bobby and I estimated around 12 people would attend the clinic. 

Larkin’s display of Vettec products

Other manufactures got wind of our clinic and wanted to get involved. We had Epona, Sound Horse, and Renegade send products for us to play with and Hawthorne paid for breakfast and lunch.

On Saturday morning, 21st of October at 9am, the shop was packed. I counted 53 people at one stage, not including presenters. At introductions, we found that the crowd was made up of professional farriers with over 30 years experience that were there to expand their knowledge and skill base, as well as horse owners that just wanted to learn more about the glue on options.

Larkin led off with a great presentation about glue and a lot of information to keep you thinking. I wrapped things up with an overview of the processes that I have found to be helpful in keeping glue-on products on successfully! 

After the class room portion we adjourned to the parking lot for hands-on demonstration and practice. Sarah and I had a wonderful time answering more specific questions and spending some individual time outside with a great group.

My favorite question of the day, “How long have you been working for EasyCare?” which I was asked multiple times. (Jon is not an employee of EasyCare, but rather a valued dealer of EasyCare products since 2014).

Jon demonstrates how to heat fit a glove shell in the beautiful California sun.

Jon explaining the importance of using the Dremel 9931 bit and some techniques.

Trim and Train, based out of Ventura, California, are a husband and wife team that specialize in providing hoof care and protection for performance and leisure horses. The pair got their start in the barefoot community with PHCP and are enjoying facilitating training opportunities for other hoof care professionals.