As I look around my barn and tack room, I realize that I use pretty much the same items over and over, whether it is a favorite hoof pick, topical medicine or saddle pad. After more than 50 years of being involved with horses, I realize how far we have come with our grooming supplies, feed and supplements.
When I was a kid, riding my grandparents horses on their Pennsylvania farm, we fed straight oats, used metal curry combs on our horses and applied motor oil to hoofs. We had one saddle pad, made of wool and our bridle leather was flat and plain.
My how far we have come!
Here is a list of grooming products, tack and feed that I cannot live without!
My hoofpick! Someone gifted my this custom made hoofpick several years ago in a Secret Santa exchange. I never found out who gave it to me or where it was made, but I love the way this pick fits my hands. A search on Etsy found lots of custom made hoofpicks, some really cool looking. Every seasoned equestrian needs a custom made hoofpick!
Rub rags! I love the towel that the hoofpick is laying on, but I also have a dozen or so dish towels that I bought at IKEA for practically nothing. I have never been able to find this towel, which I bought from Millers Harness Shop (I am dating myself!) so that shows how old it is, and it is frayed, but it is the best for rubbing deep shines in the coat!
Argan Oil Shampoo has become my favorite shampoo to use, and I always use the Epona grooming mitt to apply the soap and work up lots of suds! Leaves a soft and shiny coat!
Hilton Herbs! I use all of their products. The Herballs are THE best treats! With no added sugar or molasses, they are the perfect treat to feed. My Gabriel will only eat these treats. All I have to say is the word cookie and up pops his head and he is looking for his treats!
Bye Bye Itch was the first product I discovered from the Hilton Herbs line and it, along with the supplement, were a life saver for my beloved Tucker, a very allergic draft cross. The lotion is great for all kinds of itchies and stings, and because all of Hilton Herbs products are made with human grade ingredients, they are safe to use on humans and all animals, so if you get a bee sting at the barn, grab the Bye Bye Itch!
The Mud Defender was developed for rain rot and scratches (there is also a supplement for chronic cases) but this anti-bacterial and anti-fungal is great for all skin crud. Gabriel has Aural Plaque in his ears and the Mud Defender has reduced the infection by more than 80%.
Phytobalm is a lovely creamy ointment for all scrapes and cuts. No warning label to wear gloves because it can cause cancer!
TLC and Muscle Magic are great products to use after strenuous rides. Apply to legs and sore muscles along the back. Bonus, you can use it on yourself!
Hoof and Health is the best hoof supplement on the market, and I used to be a big fan of Farriers Formula. This tub lasts forever, as you only need a small scoop daily. My farrier now recommends it to all of his client’s and he has asked me from time to time to stop using it, due to the hoof growth getting a little out of control! My horses always have the best hooves. And a bonus? They dapple on it!
Gluquestrian was recommended to me by my vet many years ago. I credit it with keeping our upper level Thoroughbred mare going sound, despite the odds. Our testimonials are on the companies web page, that’s how much I believe in it. No unnecessary fillers and products that will be peed out. www.mdschoice.com
I learned about using Castille soap to clean my tack long before my daughters became pony clubbers and I read the manual, which also suggests using Castille soap. And jockey Calvin Borel taught me that it is also good to bathe horses to remove skin crud and allergens. I also love the Higher Standards products for cleaning and conditioning. Hand crafted, they come in different scents. It cleans and conditions the dirtiest of tack. www.hsleathercare.com
Solocomb! God’s present to horses. No more pulling mane out. This painfree and stress free product should win awards! Never again will I pull mane.
I am a pad junkie, but my all time favorite pads are from Fleeceworks. This is a bamboo pad. Perfect for the hot and humid climate where I live. They retain their shape, wear well and are easy to wash. www.fleeceworks.com
Half pads with fleece! While my Gabriel continues to grow (he is approaching 17 hands as a coming 6 year old) and I ride in my 30 plus year old Stubben Siegried until he stops growing, I need a half pad to keep him comfortable. There are many excellent fleece half pads, and while I would have preferred to buy a Fleeceworks, this one from Shires is an economical pad that has held up well. The girth is a Total Saddle Fit shoulder relief girth. It improves saddle fit to prevent it from interfering with the shoulder. I have been a fan of this girth for many years now. www.totalsaddlefit.com
Another Epona product, the Tiger Tongue. Perfect for sensitive OTTB’s like Gabriel, this is the only product I use to remove sweat marks, dirt and dust and follow up with a natural hair brush. I love, love, love Epona’s grooming products. Owner and designer Stacey has such vision when it comes to grooming products, and they are the only ones I use anymore. (No more metal curries!) www.eponaproducts.com
Platinum Paks. I love the ease and convenience, plus Gabriel gets his autoshipment delivered every month. I discovered Platinum Performance when another Thoroughbred I owned had ulcers, and I liked the company and product so much that I decided to keep Gabriel on it. I just feed the original wellness and performance formula, which provides total body support, with omega’s, anti-oxidants, vitamins and trace minerals. www.platinumperformance.com
Every grooming kit needs a mane and tail detangler. I have learned to spritz some on my tail brush and to brush it into the tail. I also spray it directly into the mane and tail after a bath. There are many great products for this. I like Vetrolin and Cowboy Magic.
Farriers Fix Hoof Oil. It’s natural (no motor oil!) and really helps to keep hooves hard. I discovered it when I was a rep in the equine industry and would get free samples at the trade shows. I would bring a plastic bag with me so I could bring home several bottles in my suitcase! Now I have to buy it, but it is not expensive at all.
Feeding choices used to be between choosing oats or corn. Boy have we come a long way! I discovered Hallway several years ago. I love that it is a family owned company in Lexington, KY and that they use only the best ingredients. They have been at the forefront of equine nutrition for over 50 years. I have an awesome rep as well, who is always available if I have a question. www.hallwayfeeds.com
Gabriel is modeling his FaySport bridle by Presteq. It is the only bridle with 12 anatomical properties. The design means no pressure or blockages. The design also makes for easy and fast tacking up and switching pieces if needed. The leather is oh, so soft and of the best quality. www.presteq.com
And lastly, I could not live without this work horse, a Newer Spreader. Made locally, they were the first to come up with this design. Perfect for a small barn, it is easy to spread. It may not be glamorous, but it makes my life easy!
What are your favorite products that you can’t live without?