Written by Hoof Care Practitioner, Maia Chaput of Metta Equus
I am a PHCP Certified Hoof Care Practitioner, mentor and clinician in Québec, Canada. I teamed up with my friend and client, Claudia Iannuccilli; Eventing Rider, Coach and Trainer, to test out the new EasyCare 3D as an option for her 3-day eventing horse named Ghost. Claudia currently has horses competing barefoot at training and preliminary levels and has reached as far as CCI2*-S in the past. Our team goal is to help the horses grow strong, healthy hooves, ultimately being well-adapted to do their job barefoot, and to use shoes when this is not possible. Ghost has been in shoes for the competition season since he came off the race track many years ago.
When transitioning competition horses out of shoes, it can take 9 months or more to grow a new, well-adapted hoof capsule. This means that if we pull the shoes for winter break, we may not be able to develop a strong enough bare foot in time to withstand the rigors of show season in the coming year, and so the shoes go back on. We’re finding that the EasyShoe 3D is a step towards eliminating this vicious cycle permanently. Until now, we’ve struggled to find a composite shoe option that bridges the gap between the practicality in application of steel shoes and the physiological benefits of being fully barefoot.
The EasyShoe 3D is proving to be a solution in bridging this gap. The shoe’s flexibility and frog support allow optimal flexion and circulation of the hoof, encouraging it to strengthen as though it were barefoot, while still providing needed traction and protection. Traction requirements of higher level cross country courses can be demanding. Claudia and I were both surprised at the quality of the traction, not only in wet conditions, but also on hard packed dry ground, which can be slippery in metal shoes. We believe that the narrow web, the urethane material, and maybe most importantly—the flexibility of the shoe (which allows the horse to feel the ground) are responsible for the superior traction. The shoe does not impede the horse’s proprioception, which is an important and often underestimated part of traction. At the first event at the Bromont Equestrian Park in June, the EasyShoe 3D was used in wet muddy conditions during torrential rain in the jumper ring, and at full gallop on the cross country course. The shoes provide good traction on their own, and there’s the option of added Quick Studs when needed.
Claudia says “if he didn’t slip in those conditions, he’s not going to slip. Ghost felt better immediately in these shoes. He is more comfortable, the shoes definitely have superior shock absorption in addition to the other benefits, which has led to a big improvement in his movement and balance. These shoes are a game changer.”