My horse Kainoa (Noa) is an 8 yr old OTTB. I got him on a whim as a 2 yr old “early retiree” with a left front suspensory injury, which healed over several months of easy outdoor herd living.

I wanted to keep him unshod, but alas, he exhibits the DNA frequently found in his breed in the hoof dept. (flat, thin sole, thin wall). Literally days before his hoof was scheduled to meet a nail again, I started learning about alternatives to metal horseshoes through meeting friends who have healthy, active and shoeless horses, some even succeeding at high levels of competition in competitive trail and dressage.

Seeing how well they were doing set me on a path of constant learning of how to promote hoof health and be able to get out there and have fun.

Madeline O’Connor, Noa’s hoofcare practitioner, suggested Easyboots for him, educated me on proper fit, and helped me through the learning curve process of “fumbling fool” to “anyone can do it” booting.

I am a pleasure rider, mostly trail, which in our area of NY is a mix of everything, wet grass, asphalt, mud and rocks being regular features. I started out with Epics, fronts only, and have expanded to Gloves, using both.

I won’t lie, I’ve tried another brand of boots, as well as polyurethane shoes, but neither were as reliable or practical for my budget or the wear and tear of herd life, roaming all day through god-knows-what.

Every now and then I go out Hunter Pacing or Hilltopping with our local Foxhunt. Even though I don’t jump, it can truly put our boots to the test. I like the tenacity of the Epics for muddy and/or faster travel, and the ease and simplicity of the Glove for less demanding conditions.

I am looking forward to trying the new Glove Wides, their proportion looks to be a good match. I also plan to try removable studs this coming Winter. My latest adventure is trying Gloves on hinds. Hey, a horse can never have too many boots, right?