I don’t use many products on myself. I use Rodan+Fields skin care, Sun Bum sunscreen and lip care, and OGX haircare. That’s pretty much it. You could say I’m low maintenance…until you saw the unbelievable amount of products I have and use on a very regular basis for my horses.
Arli is spoiled, there’s no doubt about it. He has a wardrobe for every season and then some. His winter blankets are all matching Pessoa turnouts, he has a coordinating saddle pad and bonnet combo in nearly every color, and he’s always the picture of “put together” when he enters the show ring. But it’s not just about his apparel. The number of products that I own for my horse is beyond counting, from sprays to lotions to poultice wraps and liniments, I have at least two of everything your heart could desire. Finding somewhere to put it all is quite a feat. I have a show trunk, a stand up deck box, and two shelves of a large cabinet, all bursting at the seams with the products I have for not only Arli but also to share with the rest of the horses in the barn.
Becoming an Absorbine Ambassador last year was a dream come true. I love Absorbine products, and I love that they are making their products more and more natural for the safety of the horses and the peace of mind of their owners. My cabinets are stocked full of Absorbine products that I use on a daily basis on all of the horses, and I have spent a good bit of time teaching my students about the products and their uses so they can use them on their ponies as well. In addition to Absorbine products, I also love Zephyr’s Garden. They offer a full range of completely natural products for horse and rider that allow me to treat and protect my horse without worrying about what exactly is going on his skin (and mine!).
As the weather turns hot and usually quite muggy down here in South Carolina, I am using more and more of the products to keep my horses safe, sound, comfortable, and happy. So many of these products have me wondering what I did before I found them! I’ve decided to put together a Top 10 list of my Spring & Summer must-haves, one for the horse and one for the rider. Today, I’ll be going through my favorite products for my horses, why I use them and when I use them!
1. E3 Antibacterial/Antifungal Shampoo
This shampoo is liquid gold. There’s no other way to describe it. This “red shampoo”, as I tend to call it, is an antibacterial and antifungal powerhouse. During the hot southern summers, our horses are sitting ducks for things like scratches, scurf, rainrot, and other disgusting nuisances. I use this shampoo on a very regular basis, usually twice a week on legs and once a week or once biweekly on the full body, to keep the bacteria and fungi to a minimum. One of our ponies had some sort of fungus on his legs a few weeks ago. I told his lessees to buy this shampoo and after just one use, the fungus was gone. It works like nothing else I’ve ever used, including other medicated shampoos, and smells amazing.
2. USG Fly Bonnet
Flies and gnats run rampant in the summer, and there’s nothing more frustrating than your ride being ruined by your horse’s constant need to shake his head. Imagine how aggravated he must be! Fly bonnets are a no-brainer to keep your horse comfortable and focused while you ride, but I’m pretty picky about what brands of bonnets I use. The USG bonnets are my favorite for schooling, thanks to their affordable price tag and the spandex material used on the ears. I tend to think that the cheap $10 fly bonnets in the little clear baggies at the tack store probably make the horse’s ears too hot and uncomfortable, so I prefer the stretchy feel of the USG bonnets and I imagine they do too!
3. Santa Fe Coat Conditioner & Sunscreen
First of all, the smell of this stuff is addicting. I wish they made a candle, or a perfume. I’m obsessed. But it’s not just about the smell… Santa Fe spray made by Absorbine is a huge favorite of mine for its two fabulous properties: conditioner and sunscreen. The spray makes your horse’s coat soft and shiny without any worries about saddle slippage. I also use it in my horse’s tail to make it easy to brush out. The sunscreen property is great for my white horse (who has already had eye cancer and I’m very protective of) and is perfect for keeping coat fade under control on darker colored horses. It’s inexpensive, smells great, and works like a charm!
4. UltraShield EX Fly Spray
There is no better fly spray on the market than this spray by Absorbine, and I’m not saying that as a biased ambassador. Having 11 horses in my barn, I have tried pretty much every kind of fly spray there is. Owners bring out all sorts of things, from the cheapest stuff to the most expensive to the most natural and all over the board. Nothing kills, repels, and stays active the way that UltraShield EX does. It’s a little pricey, but the value size bottle is a great deal and lasts a good while thanks to how long the spray stays active!
5. Absorbine RefreshMint Liniment
I use liniment after nearly every ride to help keep my horses feeling fresh and comfortable. Absorbine offers a full spectrum of liniments, ranging from hot to cool and everything in between. RefreshMint is their coolest liniment, and is usable as a liniment, under wraps, or as a body wash and brace. After hard rides on hot days, I use the RefreshMint diluted in water as an all over body wash to keep Arli feeling cool and loose.
6. Green Liniment VIGOR Power Wash
Then sometimes I bring out the really big guns… This green vigor liniment is kept in my show trunk and I use it as horse shows during the hot months when we’re finished for the day. The structure of the packaging is genius – you just screw the bottle onto the end of a hose, and use the switch on the liniment to change from water to liniment and back. It’s perfect for a full body wash to keep your horse clean, comfortable, and feeling his best after a hard ride.
7. MOSS Leather Care Goats Milk Saddle Soap
This is another where the smell takes the cake as the most attractive feature. I use the citrus basil scent on my tack and the fragrance alone is enough to entice me to clean my tack regularly! But seriously, keeping your tack clean is crucial in the summer months as it gets grimy from sweat, humidity, and dusty arenas. MOSS goats milk saddle soap is natural, works great, is easy to use, and comes with a tack sponge that fits perfectly in the container. It comes in a few other scents such as lavender and vanilla bean, but the citrus basil is by far my favorite!
8. Zephyrs Garden Tea Tree Tonic Spray
Sometimes the fungus gets a little out of control, or you don’t have time for a full bath with the E3 shampoo. This spray from Zephyrs Garden used to be called the Anti-Fungal Spray before getting this fancy new name, and works wonderfully for killing and preventing fungus on all parts of the body. I also have the anti-fungal salve which I will often use on legs or under the chin to help rid my horse of fungus and dry skin.
9. Zephyrs Garden No Fly Zone Healing Salve
This stuff is a serious must-have. The others in my barn use Farnam’s Swat on a daily basis to prevent sores caused by gnats, but after using it all last summer, I decided I needed to find a more natural way to protect my horse. Something about all of the chemicals I was putting on his skin (and mine when I applied it) and seeing the way the dead gnats stuck to his underbelly really grossed me out…for good reason, I think! I found this bug repellent salve from Zephyrs and immediately placed an order. It works just as well as the Swat, doesn’t give me the heebeejeebees when I put it on my horse, and stays active. Sure, it is a good bit more expensive, but the peace of mind I have when I use it is totally worth the extra few bucks. You don’t have to use much at a time, and you can even use it on yourself thanks to the all natural ingredients. It is safe to use on cuts and abrasions (and works wonders to heal them! ZG’s regular healing salve is a staple in my vet box and the only thing I use on cuts).
10. Centaur Climate Control Polo Wraps
Finally, the climate control polo wraps from Centaur are a must-have when schooling my horse on hot days. I know that normal polo wraps must make his legs so hot, which worries me about overheating his tendons, and sometimes boots don’t give the coverage I want. I purchased these polos last summer and love them. The material that comes in contact with his legs is Centaur’s cooling climate control fabric, and the other half of the wrap is elasticized for a great secure, low-profile fit.
So there you have it, my top 10 must-haves for my horses this spring and summer! I have been using some of these products for years and have not found anything better on the market. If you have any questions about where to purchase, how to use, or anything else, please comment below! Also, what are some of your must haves for your horse during the toastier months?