The Development of the Easyboot
In 1969, while Dr. Neel Glass was a nuclear physicist at the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory in New Mexico, he and his wife bought a horse for their two young daughters. The horse soon began to show occasional lameness and was diagnosed as having navicular disease.
A veterinarian prescribed solution, farrier installed iron shoes with build-up heels on the fore hooves, didn’t solve the problem. A short time later, when there was snow on the ground, snowballs accumulated under the hooves, drastically impairing the horse’s gait and movement.
Dr. Glass searched for a suitable boot with an enclosed bottom which could be slipped over the hooves so snowballs would not accumulate. When he found nothing available, he began to improvise.
He became interested in the age-old problem of hoof protection, traction and treatment. By mid-1970, he had made many prototypes with patent possibilities and decided to form a company to manufacture and market such a horseboot. By the end of 1971, patents had been applied for in the United States and Canada, the name Easyboot had been trademarked, and a significant number of sales had been made. He resigned his position at the Laboratory, continuing as a consultant there, and started devoting full time to the development of Easyboot.
Early on, he completed a course in horseshoeing at the Agricultural College of New Mexico State University and became a charter member of the American Farriers Association. The first major practical test of Easyboot came about that time. He got a call from a Florida horseman who was riding from Florida to Arizona and was having trouble with iron shoes because of too many nail-holes in the hooves. Iron shoe wore out in 200-250 miles or less. Glass sent him Easyboots which he used all the way to Arizona with no more problems.
In 1972, Dr. Glass decided to conduct his own test of Easyboots in endurance riding. Other riders were beginning to use Easyboots as “spare tires” in such rides. He decided to use them throughout the entire race. He tied for 5th place in the first Los Alamos Endurance Ride in 1973. Easyboots were a success! Over the next several years he and his wife, Lucille, each rode more than 5,000 miles in American Endurance Ride Conference sanctioned rides. Essentially all of the miles completed by Dr. Glass and Lucille, were with Easyboots over bare hooves. Easyboots proved their worth in these events.
The British Post office sponsored The Pony Express Race in 1979 to publicize a commemorative stamp issue honoring Sir Rowland Hill, the inventor of the adhesive postage stamp. The race was over the historic Pony Express Trail between St. Joseph, Missouri and Sacramento, California, a distance of some 2,000 miles. Riders raced about 60 miles each day and each segment was a separate race. Each rider had four horses. Glass entered and at the midpoint was near the rear of the pack. At that point, things began to improve for him because his horses, wearing Easyboots, seemed to do better and better and win daily races. Other riders, who weren’t using Easyboots, began to switch to them. At the end of the race, Glass was in second place and every rider was using Easyboots.
Over the years, Easyboots have become more and more popular. Equestrians with a wide spectrum of applications have benefited from the evolution of the Easyboot.
Read more about Neel Glass