Tuesday, February 2, 2010


Last night, as I obsessively cleaned and scrubbed my tack, I noticed something quite disturbing -- the bottle of my beloved tack cleaner was almost empty! Now, as I am a bit of a clean freak, the thought of being tack-cleaner-less caused me to break out in a cold sweat. There might have even been some heart palpitations involved. But it made me think -- what can I absolutely not live without? Now, of course we all know we need thermometers and Vetrap and duct tape. But, besides the obvious choices, here's my list of Must Haves (in no particular order):

1.) Effax Ledercombi - Best leather cleaner ever! As you might have guessed, I do quite a bit of tack cleaning; and, as I also love to try new products, I have used pretty much every leather cleaner under the sun. There are a lot of good cleaners, but this is the only great one. It cleans and conditions in one step, requires no buffing or rubbing, and leaves leather soft, squeeky-clean and glowing. Those Germans sure are innovative (plus, they make products whose names are super fun to say)! I will never be without my beloved Ledercombi. Unfortunately, this means either ordering it online or waiting for a Wellington trip -- but it's well worth it!

2.) Calm Coat (or Cut Heal's DermaCalm, which is the exact same thing but cheaper!) -- Back in November, Salem developed a body-wide case of fungus. I used a lot of different products and concoctions to clear it up, one of which was Calm Coat. Then I started noticing that it had all kinds of different uses -- the best in my mind was the re-growing hair claim that the label made. As Salem always looks like he's been in a gang war (he has lots of fun playing with his neighbors), I decided to start using the Calm Coat on all of his nicks and scrapes that were healed but needed to re-grow hair. This stuff really works! Plus, Salem loves it -- his eyes get all sleepy and droopy when I rub it on his face (maybe from the lavender oil). It smells sooooo good and works well, so it's become a tackbox staple.

3.) Hoof Rasp -- Everyone who has a barefoot horse under her care should have one and know how to use it! This is what kept Salem's feet in check while I searched frantically for a natural barefoot trimmer. And, yes, I was a bit intimidated by it at first -- but, after the first few tries, I realized that it would be pretty difficult to do harm to a horse using only a rasp. (Oh, and an essential that goes along with this is a good pair of gloves -- rasping your hands is not fun!)

4.) White Lightning aka "Gas Chamber Hoof" -- I feel like a bit of a broken record here (or a White Lightning saleswoman!), but I can not say enough good things about this product. It cleared up Salem's abscess in a single treatment and is now battling his White Line Disease. It kills everything (thrush included) except hoof material, so it now has a permanent home in my tackbox. (Plus, Jennie and I made up a really fun death metal song that you sing while doing Gas Chamber Hoof -- actually the whole GCH process, while complex, is a hoot!)

5.) Simple Saline Solution and Triple Antibiotic -- Is it weird that I love wound products? Maybe it's because horses are so amazingly talented at injuring themselves, but I have a bit of a wound-treatment fetish. I have Derma Gel and Aluspray and Wonder Dust and about a zillion other products. Whenever a new horse catalog arrives, I spend an inordinate amount of time reading about Agwraps and collagen gels and creating my "dream first aid kit" in my head. But, when it comes down to it, the two products that I use most are simple saline solution (I actually make my own from a recipe in my vet book) and plain old generic triple antibiotic cream plus pain relief. You just can't beat 'em for effectiveness and affordability. They are definite must-haves.

6.) Rubber Curry Mitt -- At last count, I had six different curry combs. During a long grooming session, I will probably use three. You see, I was raised right -- you always curried the horse after every ride. I believe that some of the younger generation just don't get how essential these little tools are. (Aack! I am getting old! I am starting the "these darn kids these days" statements!) Anyways, if someone were to hold a gun to my head and tell me that I must choose just one curry, it would be the rubber mitt. You can use it effectively and gently on (almost) every part of the horse's body. *glares at snotty teenagers* They even work on all that funky gook that builds up on the fronts of your horse's back cannon bones!

7.) Carrots and Peppermints -- I think Salem would trample me with his rock-hard little hooves if I left these off the list. According to him, they are the most essential items!

So, that's my list of must-haves (at least, what I can think of at this late hour). What are your essential items? What can you simply not bear to live without?


Anonymous said...

Fun post - now you've got me thinking!

Golden the Pony Girl said...

I love calm coat as my little pony has many itches and allergies. My only complaint with all of the skin care products is that they attract a lot of dirt. That is just part of the game though! Neosporin is always in my grooming box-- works better than a lot of the horse specific creams for sure! I have never used the white lightening stuff but it sounds great! I am always trying to find something for thrush that works. What is the active ingredient?

Frizzle said...

Golden, the active ingredient in WL is chlorine dioxide, which is "bactericidal, fungicidal, virucidal and sporicidal while remaining harmless to healthy tissue."
And, yes, Calm Coat is greasy. That's why I stopped using MTG. But at least Calm Coat is herb-smelling grease instead of burnt-bacon-smelling grease!

Golden the Pony Girl said...

True! I have MTG but reserve it for only extreme circumstances :) because of the grease and stink

SprinklerBandit said...

My girl is barefoot and I'm terrified of hoof rasps. I feel like I shouldn't do anything to her feet unless I understand them, and I don't. Sigh. Maybe I'll ask my farrier (I just can't say trimmer) next time she comes out.

And I'm going on an effax hunt. I <3 cleaning tack.

Frizzle said...

Sprinkler, rasping really is quite simple. I completely understand your terror, though, as I had the same fears at first. I did a lot of research, carefully studied my "mentor"'s technique, and watched Pete Ramey's "Under The Horse" DVDs obsessively. Hhhhhmmm, maybe I should do a barefoot post soon. In the meantime, definitely ask your farrier to show you how it's done!

Kristen Eleni Shellenbarger said...

Looove my curry combs! Agreed on the gunk on their legs-lol! I just added a cheap hair brush, Goodie I think, from drugstore for mane/tail and winter coat! Love it and it's $3!

Denali said...

Things I can't live without.
1. Cocosoya oil (thanks to you!) Denali is a shiny penny and now the whole barn is on it. So goes my horse being the shiniest!
2. boots! for my over-reaching, cross firing TB
3. Ex-Stress
This is hard! Everything I have is something I "couldn't live without" including the horse ;)

Frizzle said...

I also love love LOVE Cocosoya! Unfortunately, I can't afford it right now, so I am giving Salem flax seed and he's still shiny and slick as ever.

sumaclab said...

Oakwood for cleaning tack. "The Pink Stuff" aka Healthy Haircare Moisturizer. Shur-Hoof - the stuff reeks, but it keeps her feet healthy. Grooma curries. Hoffmans pellets, Ration Plus, and aloe vera juice, after her health problems last year I depend on these to keep her healthy. UltraShield in the summer. And of course Equinox cookies, she'd never forgive me if I forgot those! (this is Squeaksmom, by the way)

Frizzle said...

Sumaclab, I've always wondered about that Healthy haircare Moisturizer -- I might have to give it a shot.
I've heard of lots of peeps giving their horses aloe vera joice. I might have to go look that one up because I have no idea what it's supposed to do!
And agreed on the Ultrashield, that stuff is awesome (well, that and Endure).

sumaclab said...

Aloe vera is basically cheap maintenance for horses prone to ulcers. It doesn't reverse it, but keeps it from getting worse (or coming back after you've treated them, as in our case). The U-Gard pellets for ulcer-prone horses are basically aloe vera with calcium as an acid buffer.