However: there are some products out there that are worth buying on the more expensive end of things. They're not necessarily what most people think of first. I firmly believe that you can shop smart and get quality tack and clothing at a fraction of the price. (I paid $300 for my jump saddle, an older Passier, for example.)
Here are a few things that I personally have paid a bit more for and been thrilled with.
1. Oster Mane & Tail Brush
Buy @Smartpak, $11.95
I actually did a review of this mane & tail brush some time ago, and you can read my full gushing there.
Suffice to say: I was a buy cheap human brushes at Walmart horseperson...until I borrowed a friend's Oster. Holy mackerel. Little angels appeared and sang in chorus. It is legitimately that good.
I'm not sold on the other Oster brushes - they're nice enough, but not spectacular - but this? This is mane and tail brush perfection, and it is worth paying the
2. Brush Therapy Effervescent Brush Cleaner
Buy @Smartpak, $7.95 for two
This stuff? It is a miracle. A weird, powdery miracle in a purple tube.
It may seem indulgent, but trust me. It will change your life. Here's what you do: fill a rubber feed pan with water. Mix one package of this in. Place all your brushes bristle-side down, so the water covers the bristles. If you have wooden handles, go just below the handle; if you have plastic handles, get the water right up to the handle.
Wait 10 minutes. Take out perfectly clean, brand-new brushes. Rinse them once with clean water and you are done. Miracle.
3. Winter Tall Boots
Buy @Smartpak, range of prices
If you're looking at me funny right now - if you think it's weird to have a pair of tall boots just to ride in the cold - then you've never lived through a New England winter, and I kind of hate you right now. Kidding! No, actually, I'm not.
Is it more than a little indulgent to own an expensive second pair of tall boots for winter riding? Yes. Is it the only way to survive riding through 6' of snow and -17F temperatures with a modicum of grace? Yes. I don't care how many layers of Smartwool you wear underneath regular tall boots, it's not enough. It will never be enough. You need waterproof Thinsulate-lined boots designed for the purpose of keeping your feet functional when it's below zero.
I don't know that I have a specific product recommendation; I have the predecessor to the boots shown above, Ariats that I got as a gift about 8 years ago. They retailed for $250 then, and that's about what you'll pay for a good pair now. WORTH. EVERY. PENNY.
Buy @Smartpak, $26.95 for four
Have you ever wrapped a horse in vetwrap, and said every bad word you know and a few you invented while doing so as it slipped and slid everywhere? Like, trying to wrap a hoof? or a hock? or some other twisty bendy tricky part of a horse?
Elastikon is the magic wand you are looking for. It's sticky on one side, but stretches just like vetwrap. It sticks to hair, and then molds around whatever awkward thing you are trying to wrap. It wears like iron - easily twice as tough as vetwrap. I never try to wrap a hoof without it, and I would put the conservative number of hoofs I've wrapped at 2,163.
5. Sore No More Liniment
You can't buy this anywhere right now. :(
I also reviewed this in full. Since that review, there was a national shortage of Sore No More, and I could not get it at Smartpak or locally or anywhere. I sulked, but thought, well, it's expensive anyway. I ordered a bottle of Absorbine. FAIL. I am counting down the days until that bottle is gone.
Accept no substitutes. Pay the extra $ for Sore No More. You won't regret it. (If you can find it. Goddamnit.)
What about you? Is there anything on the more expensive range of products that you've tried and fallen in love with?
I'm a Sore No More convert as well! I need to pick up another spray bottle for mine though, because the sprayer stopped working and Simon has done without for a few rides.ReplyDelete
I'm working on a DIY sore-no-more gelotion. Especially important now that you can't buy it! But I've minorly investigated mixing aloe and liniment and some essential oils to see if it doesn't work just as well. I like the gelotion because it's easy to apply, and easier than liquid liniment on a fussy pony!ReplyDelete
i've always been intrigued by the SNM but never actually tried it... perhaps that'll need to change!ReplyDelete
Does not include free shipping, but it is available.
I wonder why SNM is so hard to get?ReplyDelete
The brush cleaner - I don't suppose it magically dissolves hairs that are stuck to the brush? No? Damn.
I do like the sound of the Oster mane & Tail brush tho. Maybe next time I'm in a big tack store...
The Oster brush is my favorite and reminds me of my childhood My Little Pony brushes except much larger and with real life ponies! I love the brush cleaner but recently did a blog post on a DIY brush cleaner that is a little more cost effective. And Elastikon is always on stock in my medicine cabinet - the best place to find it is at horse expos and large shows!ReplyDelete
I'm so with you on the Sore-No-More and the Oster brush! Worth. Every. Penny. I haven't tried the other three. I don't need the boots, but the brush cleaner would be nice and I also hate using Vet wrap,especially on feet. Unfortunately, every horse gets there feet packed with Magic Cushion the night before a race so the Elastikon might end up getting a little too spends, but I still want to at least try it.ReplyDelete
The trick to making it last longer is to do the hoof in a light layer of vetwrap, and then one layer of elastikon. The elastikon helps the vetwrap stay on, and provides an extra layer of protection. I bet you might use half a roll doing all four feet that way.Delete
Wait....is there no more SNM gel? I feel like I missed something!ReplyDelete
I do not know WHAT is happening with Sore No More- work ordered some like 2 months ago and they still haven't shipped it to us (or let us know when we can expect it)!ReplyDelete
I love the Oster tail brush, too!
Although it looks like they're selling it directly through their website, with no mentions of backorders? http://shop.arenus.com/category_s/1817.htmDelete
Had no idea brush cleaner actually existed! I was pampered with a full set of Oster brushes over 10 years ago and they are all holding up great (and yes love the tail brush), but could all use a good cleaning!ReplyDelete
HOOKED on SNM and am concerned about the shortage! Thankfully my horse and I are both stocked up at the moment because we both rely on it pretty heavily. Also - completely agree with everything on this list. Just used brush therapy for the first time and it's amazing. Can't live without elasticon and that brush is the only thing I use on my horse's tail.ReplyDelete
I've never tried SNM.... but with so many rave reviews, next time I need some liniment, I'm going to have to try it! And that brush cleaner... also going on my list.ReplyDelete
LOVE SNM and Big D's has it - http://www.bigdweb.com/Sore-No-More-Gelotin-12-Oz/productinfo/2K/ReplyDelete
Love the brush cleaner too - need to get more.
Another price-ier grooming product I love is Carr & Day's Mane and Tail detangler. That stuff is wicked good. Spray it on, let it dry, and whoa nellie, slick and shiny - doesn't get all gunky with dust either.
Nice post! The only item I've used is the Oster brush and it's great. I'll have to try the other ones due thanks to your suggestions. Except for the winter boots. Don't need those where I live. :)ReplyDelete