Back in the day of your grandfather, steel shoes were shaped the hard way, in a forge and over the anvil. Some were shaped poorly and applied to an improperly trimmed hoof. The practice of shaping the hoof to fit the shoe was quite common. But back in the day no one was too concerned about hoof care and overall soundness. Horses were just expected to provide transport and plow the field.
Fortunately for the horse a lot has changed. In fact the horse has played it quite well as getting a ride in a trailer is common place over having to pull the trailer himself! Seriously, hoof care of the performance horse has experienced a revolution. In less than ten years customary hoof protection has rocketed from cold steel to rubber and polyurethane. High tech gluing agents are enabling boots and shoes to be glued to the hoof and no longer nailed on. Yes – successful technology has truly entered the horse world. Oh I know we have had all kinds of techie gimmicks and devices but not really for hooves and not with a huge level of success.
Rubber shoes were introduced 20 or more years ago, with perhaps 1% of the horse owners ever trying them. Personally I liked the Flex Step, it nailed on great and absorbed concussion well. It wore pretty fair also and we used them on a horse, Dusty Desperado, in 1993 for the AERC National Championship series. But they had to be nailed on. I still have a couple orange ones out in the shed too!
A rubber shoe from the 90’s – Flex Step, notice the complete heel bar.
But in 2014 we now have the amazing new and well tested EasyShoe. Everyone is full of questions. Many of these can be answered by reviewing the information on EasyCare's website but my first answer is “These aren’t your grandfather’s horse shoe. These are so much better because they are lighter, have more traction, and they allow the hoof to remain fully functional.” To me that is the bottom line. A fully functional hoof!
The Easy Shoe is not solid across the back which allows for a fully functional hoof.
The EasyShoe has heels that flex independently of one another. It is built to stretch and expand with hoof growth or hoof shape, yet it has enough rigidity to be supportive to the hoof structures. The wide web design offers a lot of stone protection to the sole. The EasyShoe Performance offers frog support and provides even more protection.
Gail Williams and Karen Vining get their first look at the new EasyShoes at my
booth at the PNER Convention in Portland, OR. Everyone was quite impressed.
My thoughts for the innovative EasyShoe are more than just function. Not all horse owners can physically put boots on the hoof due to bad hands or a bad back. Now there is a new form of hoof protection that can be applied and remain on the hoof for a traditional trimming cycle. This makes the EasyShoe very practical. I love the options and I appreciate that EasyCare thinks outside the box. And we know that no one is going to tell Garrett Ford that it can’t be done!