Submitted by Stacey Maloney, Team Easyboot 2012 Member

Last summer my Competitive Trail Riding prospect, Zahara, broke my heart when she suffered a pretty bad heel bulb laceration – twice. Instead of spending the summer getting broke she spent the majority of ride season in a hoof cast standing in a small pen healing.

Now that the soft tissue has healed the defect in her cornet band is very evident. She is growing a hang nail of sorts on her affected quarter. About 4 months ago the hang nail grew down and seemed solidly attached. I was thrilled. It wasn’t pretty but it was trying its best!

The day of the final trim that put the defect in passive contact with the ground seemed like a good day, we had grown her hoof out and I was ready to get riding. The very next day the whole quarter had been torn away and we were back at square one. The attachment wasn’t strong enough and the hang nail was indeed hanging out there!

I trimmed it back as far as possible and since then it hasn’t tried to grown down again: it just hangs around, attached to nothing in particular only to get trimmed back as needed to keep snags to a minimum.

I can see the light at the end of this tunnel though. She grows a surprising amount of heel on the affected side though there is still a deficit of hoof wall. Looking at her hoof from the sole there is enough heel there for her to use it properly, and use it properly she does! Throughout this process she has always been relatively sound and there is no evidence of flare, underslung weak heels or the opposite, contracted high heels, which would indicate abnormal weight bearing in this hoof.

Since all signs pointed to go, I started riding her again about 6 weeks ago. We’ve been conditioning slowly on the shoulders of the gravel road, lots of long slow miles, hoping to get her muscles strengthened and her bare feet toughened up. We’ve been patiently awaiting the arrival of our new boots before adding the speed required to get her cardiovascular system conditioned as well. We haven’t even been on a real trail yet as I’m scared the hang nail might get caught and torn in any sort of rough terrain.

Well guess what? The Easyboot Epics have arrived and I was worried they might not fit well on her damaged hoof due to her extra parts. Here’s how they looked:

The abnormal part of her hoof sits above the shell of the Easyboot Epic so there is no pressure on the hang nail at all. If it ever does decide to try to grow attached and down with the rest of the hoof it should still fit in the boot no problem.

So far we’ve put about 25 miles on these boots since their arrival mid-week last week and I’ve seen no rubs or discomfort across her scar tissue on her heel. I couldn’t be happier.

My hope is that with the Easyboot Epics we can continue to eat up the miles with the intention of being competitive one day soon. My gal who was once a “wait an see but I don’t think that hoof will stand up to any sort of heavy work”, according to the treatment vet, now has hope.

We will keep everyone updated on our progress as time goes on but I have big plans for this girl.

Stacey Maloney