Based just outside Mooi River in kwaZulu Natal, South Africa, Easyboot SA is run by Ben, Helga and Peter Ward. Ben has an MSc. in Agriculture and worked in the Seed and Agro Chemical industry for many years. He got involved in saddle making through a friend and in 2006, he and Helga took over the running and ownership of Franco C Saddlery.
Ben and Helga.
Their main market is endurance and they compete in the sport with two of their three sons.
Helga grew up on a farm and has been riding since she can remember. After school she studied dietetics and worked in hospitals until she married Ben. She now runs the offices of Franco C Saddlery, Easyboot SA and their local Endurance Club.
Peter and Buddy
Peter is a dairy farmer and breeds American Quarter Horses and Thoroughbreds. After leaving school he studied for a Bachelor degree in Business Management and went on to complete his MBA. He worked in computers, marketing, sales and general management before going to farming a few years ago. He has been riding and horse-mad for over 50 years.
Easyboot SA identified three boots as their best-sellers: Easyboot Glove, Easyboot Glue-On and Easyboot Trail. "We felt that these would cover the vast majority of needs in our market," said Peter when asked about their inventory. "We have invested in a full range of sizes as well as accessories for these boots. The best seller so far has been the Easyboot Glove.
Peter does his own trimming and occasionally that of a boot prospect, but he never charges for it. "I enjoy trimming as it increases the bond between you and your horse. When you have a successful endurance event it is nice to know that you set up the hooves."
In July 2011 Peter took a little horse called Buddy to Fauresmith to do the ultimate South African Endurance race: over 200 km. It was the first time for both horse and rider – and the horse only made the age cut by a few weeks. "We finished and Buddy became the first horse in the thirty year history of the race to do it wearing Glue-Ons. We have no doubt that Glue-Ons will be used in every Fauresmith from now on." Peter chronicled his experience in the Team Easyboot blog.
Easyboot SA believes the hoof boot industry is moving steadily upwards. "Horsemen are becoming better informed and more caring for their horses at a very fast rate, thanks to the availability of information via the internet. Hoof care is an obvious place for many horsemen to improve their animal husbandry as hoof boots such as the Easycare range offer real alternatives to any nail-on shoes, be they metal or plastic," said Ben when asked about what he sees for the future.
When asked about their favorite events, Fauresmith is the consistent answer across all three owners. Peter adds that Tevis is on his bucket list.