What’s In My Grooming Kit?

Over the years I’ve had my horse, Pea, I feel like I’ve refined the contents of my grooming kit to cope with all weathers and all events – am I missing anything?

Coat care

SleekEZ – An absolute necessity at this time of year – the best thing I’ve found for helping to shed a winter coat and we’ve tried plenty!

Metal curry comb – This will be out of my grooming kit for the summer months but right back in for winter as it is the best thing for dry mud on hairy ponies.

HAAS brushes – I have the white/grey/coloured pack from Eqclusive.  The Schimmel brush (the first in the pack) is particularly amazing and I also keep the second in my everyday grooming box though I reserve brushes 3 and 4 (the dreamy sheepskin Diva brush) for my competition kit.

Curry comb – Forget traditional rubber and plastic curry combs, this “New Generation” one (from Eqclusive) is so good for mud, hair and using with the HAAS brushes to clean them after each stroke.

Magic brush – These get rid of dried mud but are also really good for scrubbing during a bath.

Hair care

Pea’s thick, gravity defying mane is pretty hard to manage but I think I’ve got as many tools as anyone can think of to keep it under control!

Mane and tail brush – Basic, robust – also functions as an emergency hairbrush!

Mane and tail conditioner – Carr & Day & Martin Canter Mane & Tail is my conditioner of choice.

Rake – A useful tool – this thins the mane (or tail).  Mine is a Smart Grooming one and they have different grades depending on the type of hair you are trying to thin.

SoloComb – For those who are opposed to mane pulling the SoloComb is a good alternative.  It doesn’t thin the mane as much as pulling but it is definitely kinder.

Metal comb – I’m not generally a mane pulling fan but I have given it a go.  I usually use this to help me to trim Pea’s feathers – she is not a clipper fan so I have got pretty good at scissor trims in the last 6 years!

Hairdressing scissors – Perfect for trimming feathers and beards alike!

Equi-Shave – A Smart Grooming tool – some people use these on fine horse’s feathers or whiskers but I use mine for refining the trimming of Pea’s beard!

Dog trimmers – These don’t do a proper clip (and Pea doesn’t like clippers anyway) but they are useful for light jobs like beards and not-too-floofy feathers.  I am using mine to try to get Pea used to the sound and feel of clipping.  There are loads of different ones like these on Amazon and Ebay and they are cheap too.

Hoof care

Looking clean and pretty is all well and good but there is a important saying “no foot, no horse”.

Hoof pick – A staple in every grooming kit.

Hoof oil/dressing – I keep a homemade hoof dressing in my grooming kit which is made from lard, oil and tea tree.  I do have black hoof ointment too but I keep that in my competition box.

If you would like a more visual tour of my grooming kit favourites head over to my YouTube.

A Guide To Shedding Tools!

It has come to the time of year when those of us who have unclipped horses are being punished for letting them grow their own rugs over winter.  Suddenly they are like bird nest machines, shedding hair everywhere and sometimes they need a little helping hand! Over the years I have used plenty of different gadgets to help Pea to shed her winter fluff so here’s a low down of our recommendations. All of these have been bought with my own money and my opinions are certainly my own and based on solid use.

The ‘Cheap and Cheerful All-Rounder’

These metal ‘shedding blades’ are pretty cheap (from £4) and effective at catching loose hairs and sweeping them away especially when you open them up like a scythe! I wouldn’t recommend using one of them on sensitive areas or legs but they do a decent enough job on the body and double up as an excellent tool to remove dry mud!

The ‘Sorry I’ve Found Better’

You know what it is like, you see a video on the internet of something looking amazing and you get sucked into buying it. That’s how my YO and I ended up ordering StripHairs from America a few years ago. When they arrived, although we were in slight shock that we’d spent so much money on what is essentially a rubber block, we thought they were great but they are hard work to use and have been far outclassed by more recent purchases! I know StripHair have changed the design of their blocks and I can’t comment on the new ones (they cost $39) but if I wanted a shedding specific tool I would certainly buy…

The ‘Best In Test’

I bought a SleekEZ two years ago with my Eqclusive brush pack (they cost £19.95 individually) and I haven’t looked back! It is so effective at taking out the hair that is ready to be shed and is so satisfying to use. The difference in all of our horses’ coats from the year before to the year we used these in the lead up to our riding school vet inspection was incredible. Because it is essentially a ridged metal blade coming from a wooden block, you have to be careful about pressure, particularly in more sensitive areas.

The ‘New Classic’

Although I use the SleekEZ on most of Pea’s body I turn to my Eqclusive curry comb (£7 each) particularly for her tummy and legs. It is the perfect reincarnation of a traditional rubber curry comb with a solid rubber structure but soft tips. In circular motions it teases all the ‘shed ready’ hair out of the coat, gets rid of any mud and provides a sort of massage for your horse.

Do you have any other shedding tools you could recommend?

Christmas Gift Guide 2018

Christmas is a time for friends, family and a bit of time off work HOWEVER it can also be a good excuse to give and receive some presents!  I have put together my top 8 picks for equestrians, equines and even non-horsey support teams.  I have chosen mostly small, British businesses – remember, when you buy from a small business, a real person does a little happy dance!

Click on each heading to be taken straight to the item.

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Gallop Guru – ‘Palomo’ Leather Saddle Handbag £175

I was lucky enough to receive one of these for my birthday several years ago.  It is great quality and totally eye catching – I have had lots of pointing, looking and ‘where did you get that?’ when I have worn it.  It is the perfect gift for the equestrian who isn’t afraid to express their passion for horses even when dressed up!  It is well worth checking all the other gorgeous items Gallop Guru have to offer.

Eqclusive – Brush Pack – £80-102

Christmas is a time to treat yourself and your four legged friends.  I have an Eqclusive brush pack and use at least some of the brushes on Pea every time I ride.  They were so worth the money.  If you’re after more of a stocking filler, my top picks would be the Schimmel brush and the New Generation Curry Comb.

Derby House – Pro Snowman Medium Combo Turnout Rug £54.99

I’m a big fan of Derby House rugs, they are good quality and they always have fun prints.  Pea has had a varied wardrobe of checks, spots and fair isle in the past and she has written to Father Christmas to ask if she can be bedecked with snowmen this Christmas.

Olivia Towers – Zip Jumper £46.99

I’m an avid follower of Olivia Towers’ vlogs and social media.  Her riding and mindset skills are inspirational.  I’ve ordered myself a ‘Believe it’s possible’ jumper which I know will both remind me to get my head in the game and will be great to ride in.  Do check out her other slogans and pieces.

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Horseshoe Hearts – Original Horseshoe Heart Good Luck Charm £23-6

I discovered this wonderful business on Instagram and if I could, I would fill my house with everything they sell!  I think that a heart would be a particularly nice present especially as you can personalise them.  Get your order in quickly as they close their order book on the 10th December!

Willberry Wonder Pony – Berry Pony – £20

Christmas is a time for charity and this charity is so worth supporting.  To keep the memory of Hannah Francis alive, I think every rider should have their own ‘Berry’ pony.  ‘Peaberry’ certainly helped me to put my life in perspective when I was in hospital.  All the proceeds go towards bone cancer research and granting equine wishes to seriously ill people.

Emily Cole – 2019 Calendar £7.99-9.99

If you’re a regular blog reader you will already know that I love Emily Cole’s work.  Her calendar is a 12 images in 1 present whammy but I would highly recommend having a search around her website at the prints and other items as there are pieces to match each rider and horse’s personalities and interests!

Daniel Skinner AKA Skint Dressage Daddy – From Nags To Numbnuts £6.99

If you’re not familiar with Skint Dressage Daddy, he’s the ultimate reluctant pony-parent (and writes a blog). His book makes the perfect present for other long suffering non-horsey partners and family members who will be able to laugh and cry (and swear) with Daniel through his guide while us equestrians try to defend ourselves!

What’s on your Christmas list this year?

Can’t Ride, Can Horse

I have always been a big believer that there is so much more to horses than riding.  For most riders there will be a time where they can’t ride for some reason whether it is surgery, an accident, horse injury, weather or something else.  Obviously over the last few weeks I have been in this position so here are a few suggestions for things to do to keep horsey when you can’t ride (which are geared towards the non walking for obvious reasons!)

  • Give your tack a birthday!  Even if you are religious about cleaning your tack after every ride, tack can always benefit from a thorough clean and condition.  Better to get anything mended when you don’t need it!
  • Sort out your grooming kit.  Clean those brushes, chuck out anything broken, replace anything you are missing.  I have had my Eqclusive HAAS brushes for a year and love them but this is the first time they have had a proper clean!
  • Groom that horse!  I can’t get her in from the field but being able to shuffle around is good enough to give Pea a good groom, particularly if I’ve got my mum to help me.  It is amazing what you can achieve with good brushes and a bit of Canter Mane & Tail – her tail has never been so silky!
  • Organise the lotions and potions.  I tend to use my car as a moving horse care cupboard but every now and again I do a seasonal sort out – if it is July you do need fly repellent and suncream, you don’t need pig oil and mud cream.  Put the winter stuff away.. or at least for a little while longer.
  • Make some lotions and potions!  Mum and I made some hoof dressing out of lard, oil and tree tree the other day.  Next on the list is some milk, fairy liquid and glycerin based tack cleaner.
  • Sort out your photos.  Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a bit of an ‘insta kid’.  I take ALOT of photos and sometimes they don’t get very far.  Delete the bad ones, print the good ones, put them up on the walls.  Remind yourself of what you love doing and what you want to achieve.
  • Display your rosettes.  It may be because I came to riding so late but I love a rosette – even the completing the fun ride ones!  Put them up somewhere and remind yourself of what you have to be proud of or just to add a bit of colour to a wall.
  • Go and watch someone else.  I’ve been to local riding club dressage and the Hartpury Festival of Dressage.  If you can’t ride you can still pick up some tips from others.
  • Make plans.  Work out your schedule for when you can ride again whether that is planning how you are going to build up your fitness, booking lessons or looking up your next competition.

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I’m sure before long I will have a whole new set of activities to add to this as I am getting so much closer to walking.  In fact today I walked from the field shelter to the gate in Pea’s little paddock without my crutch.  I might be ‘can’t ride’ for a few weeks more but I’m nearly at ‘can walk’!

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