What's in Your Tack Trunk? First Aid Edition

Every responsible horse owner needs a basic first aid kit handy for our horses that should really live in bubble wrap and padded stalls, i.e. every horse ever. Space to store things can be pretty limited depending on what else is in already in your trunk & how large your trunk is, so what items do you REALLY need? I could fit a dead body in my trunk, so I will list the necessities, and the nice extras if you have the room like I do! Included are links to various products I have used in the past.


The Essentials

  • Topical wound gel or cream

  • Betadine/Chlorohexidine scrub (to clean and sterilize)

  • Topical wound gel/cream

  • Normal Saline (for rinsing wounds & eyes)

  • Couple rolls of vet wrap

  • Gauze

  • Non-adherent bandage (telfa)

  • Elastikon (a very sticky tape)

  • Cotton Roll/sheet padding (also called Gamgee)

  • Thermometer

  • Stethoscope

  • Tourniquet (to temporarily slow bleeding to an extremity wound)

Recommended Extras

  • Box of gloves (you can put a few in a Ziploc bag to save space)

  • A pair or 2 of sterile gloves is nice too

  • Duct tape (great when used in combination with a diaper for a hoof bandage)

  • Hemostats and forceps

  • Scissors (for cutting bandage material)

  • Wire cutters (in case you horse gets caught in a wire fence

  • Knife (to cut a lead rope etc in an emergency situation)

  • Instant cold pack

  • Clean bucket

  • Clean towels

  • Twitch

  • Electrolyte paste

  • Bute paste

  • Needles and syringes if you have medications such as Ace, Banamine, Gentamycin etc.

  • Silver spray

  • Rubbing alcohol

  • Diapers (for packing feet)


Download our Amateur Hour tack trunk first aid checklist for easy shopping the next time you stop by your local tack store!

Five Alternative Ways to Bond Out of the Saddle

Sure, who hasn’t heard the age-old expression “practice makes perfect.” Not going to lie, it for sure puts the pressure on to make sure we get our hours in the saddle with the hopes of improving our balance, connection and overall relationship with our horse. 

But riding isn’t like other sports. Your partner isn’t an inanimate object. It is a living, breathing creature with it’s own unique thoughts and emotions. 

Regardless if you’re ground-bound from an injury, perhaps pregnancy or you are just craving a change - here are some alternative ways to put in some 1:1 bonding time with your four-legged friend that don’t involve a saddle! 

Grooming

Grab a curry, roll up your sleeves and get grooming! I love taking the time to deep-clean my guys. It’s rewarding, a decent upper body workout and who doesn’t love watching the relaxed droopy lip appear? Make sure to have your phone handy because 10/10 you’ll want to document your handiwork in order to prove you had a shiny horse at one point… until they’re turned out again. 

Hand Walks

Go explore! Have a horse that is nervous to go on trails or walk the property solo? I find that hand walking is a great way to introduce horses to new situations. Keep some treats in your pocket to reward good behavior, find some good spots for grazing and just enjoy spending time with your buddy. 

Carrot Stretches

Get your stretch on! Stand at your horses left shoulder and encourage them to stretch back for the carrot - I usually can get them to reach mid-belly. Repeat on the right side. I also do carrot reaches and hold a treat up as high as I can above their head and between their legs (these took Donny a little while to figure out, but he eventually got them!) I like to do carrot stretches pre and post ride to help give them a good stretch. 

Follow the Leader

Grab a halter and lead rope and head for the ring. I like leading my horse over ground poles, in figure eight patterns and practicing stopping, backing up and standing. Ground work is always a great refresher for all horses regardless of age. 

Lunging 

Work on balance, voice cues and ground work. If you’ve never lunged before, ask a professional to help you! It’s a wonderful skill to have and something you’ll be happy to know how to do if you’re ever stuck out of the saddle for an extended period of time. 

Have any other ways you like spending time with your horse that doesn’t involve being in the saddle? Let us know in the comments! 

xo

Taylor

Do You Have the Time?

I think that adulting is a lot like riding a hunter course: you’re doing a ton of work but you want it to seem effortless. We get asked all the time (by listeners, friends, ourselves) how we manage to keep so many plates spinning, and I can only share my unglamorous reality: it’s a lot of hard work and I have a great group of people helping me. And I’m tried. A lot. 

As a person who parents full time, works part time, rides competitively, and records and produces a podcast with a team of four busy ammies, life can get overwhelming. On a typical non-working day, I wake up when my toddler gets up, take care of her, take her to our morning mommy-and-me class, get lunch, drive to the barn while she naps, ride Pluto while my mom watches her, go home, make dinner, bathe my daughter, do bedtime, and do paperwork for my job, not to mention playing with my daughter throughout the day and running errands. And on recording days, there’s also a 2 hour Skype call with my friends usually from 9-11 pm.

It’s a lot, but I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m incredibly blessed and grateful for my wonderful life! There are a few strategies I use to keep my life more organized and fun, so here they are (as a list, because who doesn’t prefer to read lists):

1. I try to be as present in each moment as possible. This one is actually really hard for me because I often worry about the next step, but acknowledging “this is where I am right now and it’s what I need to be doing” helps me engage in each part of the day as it comes. When I’m with my family, it’s family time; when I’m with my horse, it’s horse time, and that’s where my mind should be. 

2. I schedule my riding early in the week and make it a priority. As long as I have childcare, I go ride. Riding is my self care, and I need it to allow myself to recharge. 

3. I go to sleep early. I’m in bed by 10:00 every night (except recording nights). Sometimes I stay up late watching TV or reading (or doing work), but I try to give myself time to rest, so I hav energy for the next day. 

4. I find ways to include my family in horses. I hate being away from my family, so I try to include them in the horses in appropriate ways. My daughter loves to feed Pluto treats and loves to ride and groom ponies, and I try to provide those opportunities to her as much as possible. However, it can be stressful to have a toddler at the barn even with someone watching her, so often she stays home or goes to my mother’s house to allow me to concentrate on my riding.

5. I make detailed schedules of deadlines and prioritize which to complete and when. Some I handwrite and some are in my phone, but I make sure I have plenty of reminders (some are literally scribbled in the margins of my work notebooks). It takes too mental energy to try to remember everything, and schedules help take some of the pressure off me.

6. I ask for help. If I need a babysitter last minute, I reach out to my friends and family to see who can help with child care. It can be really hard to ask for help, but I find that usually when you ask, you realize what a wide support system you really have. 

How do you manage your hectic schedule?

XO

Claire

Dealing with Scratches

Hey everyone, it’s Olivia aka @Remarkablemare! Taylor kicked off our first ever blog post with a super fun list of horsey reads and Kelly shared her favorite equestrian hacks, so I am here to tell everyone about how I deal with the devil season aka rainy season in Maryland. With rain, comes scratches, YAY! *Insert stale face here please* 

I want to disclaim that I am in no way an Equine Veterinarian, but I find this method to be extremely successful. If your horse presents with what seems to be scratches, please consult your Vet before starting a treatment plan.

You may have seen the more technical term of scratches as pastern dermatitis, which can be bacterial, fungal, viral, whatever it is, it’s no bueno. Scratches have been the bane of my existence the past year-or-so and now that I have this process down to a literal science, I’m ready to pass down my knowledge so we can all defeat scratches together!

 

1)    Cleaning

If you’ve ever watched Grey’s Anatomy (not judging if you haven’t), then you have definitely seen doctors and nurses “scrub in” for surgery. Here comes our first step, you’re going to put some gloves on, and gently scrub your horse up with Chlorhexidine like you’re in your own episode of Grey’s Anatomy. I don’t like to scrub so hard that the scabs come off, I prefer them to come off naturally so it’s not more uncomfortable than they already are. But this at least helps clean up the area and disinfect a bit. You can find Chlorhexidine scrub at your local drugstore.

 

2)    Coating

Once the pastern area is dry from being scrubbed, apply your favorite healing lotion/ointment, whether it is Equiderma, That Blue Stuff, or my new favorite; Triple Paste AF. After months of trial and error, I’ve found that the Triple Paste AF is the absolute quickest and most effective way to clear up any spot of scratches. The mark up on products once it’s advertised as being for horses is out of this world (in the worst way possible), so Triple Paste AF is quite cheap for a large amount since it is technically for human use. My beloved Triple Paste AF can be found at your local drugstore also.

 

3)    Wrapping

  I like to pad up the area with sheet cotton and wrap with Coflex. This keeps the area dry and allows the paste to soften up the area. Since it’s such a small area, I have no issue turning horses out in this little, magical wrapping concoction. Let it sit for 24 hours, remove wrap, and VOILA! Your horse no longer has scratches! Cotton and Coflex can be found at your local tack store.

 

After this 24-hour process, your horse should be free of scratches. If your horse’s skin is dried out where it was treated for scratches, I like to follow up with Equiderma lotion to make the area less crusty.

 

Anyone else seriously battling scratches? Feel free to complain about them with me in the comments below!

 

Happy healing!

XO

Olivia

Equestrian Hacks & Dupes!

Hey! Kelly from Hunky Hanoverian here!

Let's face it, almost everything that is branded for equestrians has a crazy mark-up. We talk a lot on the podcast about how hard it can be to afford this sport. But, if you are like us and you love your horse like a member of your family, it can be difficult to save money without feeling guilty. Being an adult ammy is hard enough, and spending a boatload on fancy shampoos is really not necessary. There are many "hacks", aka non-equestrian branded products, that save you money and are comparable. I have reached out to the equestrian community and have received some amazing feedback. I am so excited to share this list of equestrian product hacks with all my fellow hardworking adult ammies!

Ear Plugs- the nice rubbery ball type ones (submitted by @Havana_has_my_heart)

  • A single pair for $11 from SmartPak

  • 2 pairs for $6 at Amazon, marketed as a cat toy

unnamed.png

Bickmore Mac Wipes- an equestrian specific disposable grooming wipe (submitted by @theecequestrian, socalequestrian, & @juliacskowronek))

  • $22 for 63 wipes from SmartPak

  • $18 for 1152 baby wipes from Sam's Club. Fragrence and alcohol free, baby wipes are great for wiping gunk out of eyes and noses, cleaning your tack off in a pinch, wiping sweat off of your own face, cleaning oil off your own hands, etc. Not quite as large or as sturdy as the Bickmore wipes, you still get wayyyyyyyy more for your money's worth! I always have a stash in my trunk.

unnamed.jpg

Mare Magic- A blend of dried raspberry leaves to support a quiet disposition in mares and geldings (submitted by our own Olivia aka @remarkablemare)

  • $50 for 3z oz (2 lb) from SmartPak

  • Hack: Raspberry leaves in bulk from amazon, $12 for 1 lb (so $24 for the same amount from SP)

 

Equiderma Zinc Oxide Paste- as a treatment for scratches & rain rot (submitted by by our own Olivia aka @remarkablemare & @caroline.lurie.eq)

  • $25 for 16 oz at SmartPak

  • $13 for 16 oz of Desitin maximum strength diaper rash cream (40% zinc oxide) from Walmart

unnamed-1.png

Shampoo- stop splurging on equestrian specific shampoo & conditioner when the human stuff smells amazing and is much much cheaper!

  • $10-25 equestrian branded shampoos

  • $2 & up for the human versions

Leg brace & anti-fungal solution- 2 different hacks for this one!

  • There are many products that claim to be great as a leg brace under standing wraps and have anti-fungal properties, so I couldn't choose just one for a direct comparison. Must of them range anywhere from $10-25.

  • $7 for 1 liter at Walmart: Listerine Mouthwash diluted with water is a great leg brace and to help stop any itching/fungus/hair loss. I used to use Listerine myself when I was a junior on my Arabian's face & cannon bone crud in the summers and it worked great, so I can vouch for this one! (Submitted by @corleyan)

  • $2 for 16 oz at Walmart (or buy in bulk at Sam's club like I do, it's even cheaper) Wintergreen alcohol is also a wonderful leg brace. Make sure the legs are completely dry before wrapping though!! This website actually has tons of great uses for common rubbing alcohol when I comes to our equine friends, I highly recommend checking it out. (submitted by @flying.french.flower, @kbiggsy )

 

Show Sheen- coat shiner spray

  • $11.80 for 15 oz continuous spray Show Sheen at Smartpak

  • $5 for 15.9 ox ORS Olive Oil Sheen Spray at Target- submitted by  by our own Olivia aka  @remarkablemare, she credits this amazing hack product for her mare Juliet's beautifully shiny coat, and says dust doesn't stick to it, and it doesn't like a residue like Show Sheen does. Talk about a win-win!

unnamed-2.png

Sunshirts- As we all know, there are many brands of equestrian specific sunshirts at different price points. These price points tend me to PRICEY though. You are lucky if you find one in your size under $50. Most retail for $75 and up. You do NOT need to buy equestrian specific shirts to protect yourself from the sun though! Many people have suggested checking out sale racks at places like TJ Maxx, Marshall's, Dick's Sporting Goods, Athleta etc. Any place that sells gold/tennis gear should have sunshirts, and some even have under arm mesh. Get creative and shop around for the best prices and styles! (submitted by: our own Taylor aka @theecequestrian, @pamgoeseventing, @equi.ranch, @theplatinumequine)

  • People have reported finding these non-equestrian specific sunshirts in the $15-20 range

Huge shout out to @pamgoeseventing (one of our prior listener of the weeks!) for sharing her beautiful quarter-zip sunshirt finds with us!

Huge shout out to @pamgoeseventing (one of our prior listener of the weeks!) for sharing her beautiful quarter-zip sunshirt finds with us!

Quick Knot braiding pins- equestrian specific metal pins used for button braids

  • 100 for $45 from Saddleword

  • 100 for $8 from Walmart: Curved bobby pins are definitely not exactly the same as the specifically horse designed Quick Knot braiding pins, @trou_story_farm swears by these and says they are a great alternative to the pricey equestrian specific ones!

unnamed-4.png

Show Sheen for body clipping- if you body clip then you probably know that a coat shiner will help the blades slide through the coat easier by reducing friction, which also helps keep you clippers from getting hot. I just clipped Rio a few weeks ago and DOUSED him in Show Sheen for this purpose.

  • $18 for 32 oz at SmartPak

  • $2.47 for 20 oz from Walmart: Mix 1/3 baby oil and 2/3 water in a spray bottle, spray all over pre-clipping like you would do with Show Sheen (submitted by @corleyan)

Bit Cleaner

  • $22 for 6 oz bit cleaner and a cloth rag from Victory Canter

  • $2.77 for 84 count denture cleaner at Walmart: Denture cleaner is GREAT for cleaning dirty bits. Throw a bit in a tub with some water and one of these tablets and it will be sparkly clean in no time! Don't believe me? Check out this guest blog post that talks all about it!

Bit Butter- Made with a blend of natural butters and essential oils, this balm moisturizes, revitalizes, and helps heal skin for a smoother, softer feel.

  • $19 for 4 oz from FarmVet

  • $3 for 16 oz Coconut Oil from Walmart: Smells great and the ponies love it! (submitted by @Armani_monster)

unnamed-5.png

Saddle rack for your car

  • Pegasus brand one is $180 or Ebay has this plastic one for $65 after shipping

  • $10 trash can from Target, lay it on the flat side and you are good to go! (submitted by @kaylahaynes_). Want to learn more about this awesome hack? Check out Kayla's blog! She also lists tons of great uses for everyday products at the barn!

@kaylahaynes_ demonstrates how a $10 trashcan from Target can makes a wonderful saddle rack for your car!

@kaylahaynes_ demonstrates how a $10 trashcan from Target can makes a wonderful saddle rack for your car!

Whitening Shampoo

  • $13 for 16 oz Quicksilver at SmartPak

  • $7 for 8 oz Mrs. Stewarts at Walmart:  At first glance, it may seem like you aren't saving money with the non-equine specific version, but a little of this stuff goes a long way! @hayner.g says she puts 2 capfuls in a bucket of sudsy water to get her 2 large greys bright and shiny. She also recommends following up with a conditioner so as to no dry out their hair.

unnamed-6.png

I received so many wonderful hack suggestions, thank you to everyone who shared your ideas with me! Horses are expensive enough, it's nice to be able to save a few dollars here and there when possible. Did I miss a great hack? Please leave a comment to share!

XO

Kelly

Horsey Reads!

Hey guys! Taylor from The East Coast Equestrian here. So… I am a huge reader. I rarely go anywhere without my kindle (ah-hem, first edition, mind you. No, I haven’t given into the black and white “upgrade now!” ad they somehow manage to get onto my home screen.)

Occasionally I spoil myself with what I call “beach reads” - easy, breezy books that are simple to get through and don’t require too much brain power. 

We have an exciting minisode coming up where Claire and Olivia will be interviewing the author of a soon-to-be-released equestrian novel, so I thought it would be fun to share some of the horsey books (fiction and non-fiction) that I’ve read over the past year! All of them can be purchased on Amazon.


Show Barn Blues by Natalie Keller Reinert

I have to admit, I cruised through this book on the way back from Florida. For those of you that show hunter/jumpers, this is a fun fiction that dives into the life of a trainer/barn owner who struggles to adapt in order to maintain the longevity of her stable while real estate developers slowly take over the surrounding farms, turning what was once horse heaven into cookie cutter home developments. Fun to read and lots of funny characters that made me draw real-life comparisons while reading.


Horses in Wonderland (Book 2: Show Barn Blues) by Natalie Keller Reinert

Of course I had to read the sequel! I think these two could be combined into one bigger book, but nevertheless I had fun reading it. The sequel doesn’t feel like a half-baked afterthought at all, which makes it a nice follow-up read to a fun story that I really enjoyed reading. 


The Happy Horse: An Amateur's Guide To Being The Human Your Horse Deserves by Tania Kindersley

This is a seriously refreshing book on horsemanship. It really made me stop and think about different aspects of my relationship with my horses and my awareness of how I interact with them on a daily basis.


Summer Circuit (Show Circuit Series -- Book 1)

Winter Circuit (Show Circuit Series -- Book 2)

Hunter Derby (Show Circuit Series -- Book 3)

Gossip girl: the equestrian edition. I’m not joking! Struggling junior rider falls in love with young pro on the summer circuit (and beyond… in the sequels) - what could go wrong?! Drama and lots of eye-rolling monologues make this series a true guilty pleasure. 


Ephemeral by Andie Andrews

Romance author decides to take riding lessons, encounters stereotypical wealthy New Jersey witches at her new barn, falls for trainer, leaves trainer, maybe gets back with trainer and also learns to ride? This one made me go, “really?” a few times but was an entertaining read with a warm and fuzzy ending.


101 Arena Exercises for Horse & Rider by Cherry Hill

Sometimes I need a little inspiration to help me formulate goals and plans for flatting when I’m not in a lesson. This book has great exercises for both English and western riders that I love referencing when I find myself brainstorming what I want to work on. 


101 Jumping Exercises for Horse & Rider by Linda Allen

I like this book so much because each exercise includes advice on what the rider should keep in mind while executing the lesson plan. It’s the same format as the 101 Arena Exercises for Horse & Rider - it includes simple up to more advanced exercises to help you and your horse gain confidence over fences. 


How to Think like a Horse by Cherry Hill

This book takes you back to the (very important) basics. It covers why horses usually do what they do, how their brains are hardwired and how we can be better owners and communicators by understanding and recognizing their thought processes. A very worthwhile read!

Any listeners out there also fellow bookworms? Tell us your favorites in the comments!

XOXO

Taylor