Having been around horses most of my life, I’ve had occasion to use just about every horse care product under the sun. It seems like someone is always coming out with the newest and best product guaranteed to make your horse happy, shiny, clean, healthy, etc., but there are a few tried and true items that have been in my tack room – in one form or another – for years. So, here’s a little testament to the five horse care essentials that have stood the test of time for me.
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I don’t think there’s a horseman on the planet who hasn’t used, or at least heard of, “Vet Wrap”. Whether you’re treating an abscess, covering a wound, or holding a bandage in place, this stretchy miracle product just can’t be beat.
Some “creative uses” for Vet Wrap are: I had my mare’s shoes pulled for a cycle a while back and she took a nasty chunk out of the sidewall of her hoof; a little wrap before turn out held everything in place until I could get her to the farrier. I’ve also cut small strips of Vet Wrap and used them to wrap around the rowels of my spurs…the strips that are on them right now have been there for about two years! And, yes, I have also used Vet Wrap to wrap my own knee underneath my chaps at a horse show after twisting it the wrong way…it works for people too! It has as many uses as it does colors and patterns; Vet Wrap is just one of the horse care essentials that I can’t live without.
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BETADINE ANTISEPTIC SCRUB AND SURGICAL SOLUTION
It’s red, it can stain, if you spill it on the floor it looks like a murder may have just taken place, but Betadine is just another one of those products that I’ve never not had in my medical kit. Whether you’re cleansing a wound, scrubbing a skin irritation, caring for just about any fleshy injury out there…the uses for this stuff are just too vast to list. There is a reason why Betadine has been around for so long (in both solution and scrub form), because it works! My mare had a case of mastitis not too long ago, and in addition to the prescribed treatment, I used a mixture of half distilled water and half Betadine solution to “dip” her teats, and I continue to use this mixture every time that I give her a bath just to help ensure she doesn’t have a reoccurrence. Betadine…get yourself some!
The sweat scraper is a bath-time necessity, and perhaps one of the most ingenious inventions in any horseman’s grooming bucket. Used in all seasons, during bath-time or a simple hose-down, the right sweat scraper will save you both time and aggravation by allowing your horse to dry more quickly and in turn stay cleaner when he inevitably rolls and covers his newly clean coat with dust, dirt or shavings. I’ve used the “scraper sticks”, but my personal favorite scraper is the style that looks like a curved squeegee…I have owned the same one for about 10 years and it has scraped the coats of more horses than I can possibly count.
Looking for a way to make grooming easier? Or a way to keep manes and tails detangled? How about a way to keep that freshly washed coat clean? Want to have that “show ring shine” whether you’re competing or just riding down the trail?
Well, the answer is simple and one product does it all…Showsheen! There are a lot of products on the market that compete with Showsheen, but this stuff has been around for as long as I can remember and it works now just the same way that it did when I was ten years old – better than any other product that I have tried, and I’ve tried a ton of them. I, personally, buy Showsheen by the gallon and fill my own spray bottles, because I give my mare a light spritz just about every time that I groom her (which is just about every day). Showsheen is not just for the “show horse”, and I actually have anxiety when I’m running low on this stuff.
BACK ON TRACK QUICK WRAPS
I was only introduced to these horse care essentials a few years ago, but I have gotten more use out of them than I have any other “wrap”. First, these are not wraps meant for riding or workouts, but they are basically a standing wrap and shipping wrap alternative. Honestly, I am a big believer in all of the “Back on Track” products, and I use their polo wraps and no-bow wraps as well, but the “quick wraps” are my “go to” for hauling and for use as standing wraps at shows or during stall rest.
These quick wraps are easy to apply, provide a unique warming sensation by radiating back the horse’s own body heat, so they eliminate the need for poultices, liniments and other messy topical products in most situations. Perfect for tightening up those legs, reducing swelling and providing an increase in circulation, the Back on Track Quick Wraps are just a fantastic thing to have in your horse care kit. Best of all, they are pretty much fool proof to put on, unlike a traditional standing wrap, so when I go out of town or leave my horse in the care of someone else and she happens to need a wrap, I can trust that just about anyone can apply these successfully. Check out the products if you’ve never heard of them before – they all get a thumbs up from me.
There you have it, my top five horse care essentials – the products that I just couldn’t live without on a daily basis.
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