A Horse Box Subscription Review

I’m kind of obsessed with beauty subscription boxes, so I was intrigued to try A Horse Box, which is a monthly subscription box featuring lots of goodies for your horse.

I’ve received three boxes so far, so I thought I’d review each one. I’m doing the cheapest box, the Tack Box, which is $25.00 per month. They also have a Barn Box, which is $45.00 per month.

I love trying new human beauty products and getting travel-sized things, so I was excited to try out a combination of new brands and trial-sized items. Equine brands aren’t as ubiquitous as human brands, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised to find some new ones I’d never heard of. Overall the value is very good and the mix of products is excellent. I’ve found some new brands and some new products from old favorites.

I almost wish the box was cheaper and just included sample sizes of things like shampoos and other horse care items, but you really can’t argue with the value when you receive several full-sized items per month. I do think the box would be put to better use in a multi-horse barn, but single horse owners can also build up a good kit with what you receive.

September Box

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My first box in September contained the following. I’ve put the value of the full-sized item next to each product and whether it was full or trial sized. Each box also contains a horse treat sample:

Quietex Paste (full size) $11 – I’m not a calming paste person, but this is good to have on hand for travel.

Absorbine UltraShield (full size) $7 – I’ve used this before, and it’s great for putting under bellies and around sheaths when the gnats are really bad.

Absorbine Wonder Dust (full size) $8 – Thankfully I haven’t had to deal with a lot of big wounds, but I’ve put this in my vet kit. You take the top off and blow the dust onto the wound. It’s good for broader wounds and deep scrapes.

Mrs. Conn’s Bath Day Shampoo Filled Sponge in Liniminty Fresh $10 – I’d never heard of this brand, but I recently tried the Pony Tails shampoo-filled sponge. I’ve used it twice so far and it suds up nicely. It smells minty and contains some liniment. The brand makes some other kinds of sponges with nice scents that I’d be willing to try, and while they are meant to last a few uses, I feel that the value of a soap-filled sponge is kind of low for the price. They’re great for travel though!

Aspire Rain Rot Treatment (full size) $13 – I’d never heard of this brand, but they’re eco-friendly, and the bottle is recyclable. Oh So has a bit of rain rot on his haunches, so I’m going to test this out and report back!

October Box

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Farnam Cough Free (32 day supply) $13 for a 12 day supply – I’ve been testing this herbal supplement out on Toppers right now, and it seems palatable. He occasionally coughs but since I’m not around as much I’m not able to see the effectiveness. I’ll be checking in with my mom to see what she’s observed. It’s a good value though with enough product to see if it works for your horse.

Absorbine Reusable Mitt $10-$12 – This mitt flips over your hand and arm to keep it clean when applying lotions and sprays. I’ve been using it to wipe down Oh So with a shine spray or fly spray before I ride and so far, so good. It’s waterproof and reusable and can help get that last minute dust off before a show. It can also be used to clean tack.

E3 Tea Tree Shampoo (32 oz.) $13 – This shampoo smells so nice and pleasant. Tea tree oil is good for the skin, and the shampoo made Oh So’s coat nice and shiny.

Leather New Foam (full size) $7 – Foams are super easy to use, and I love this for a quick after-ride cleaning of my boots and tack. I don’t find it particularly moisturizing so I use a conditioner afterwards when I have time.

Cold Flex Show Pro Finishing Spray (sample size) – The company claims this will repel dust and insects, but I didn’t get a chance to try it before winter set in. It does have a nice scent and is all natural.

November Box

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Bigeloil Quilted Poultice Hoof Pad (1 pad) $6 – I’ve never tried this, but I’m keeping it in my emergency kit for the next lost shoe.The brand claims it’s not messy and is easy to remove. It contains kaolin clay and epsom salt so it’s perfect for abcesses and sore feet.

Powerflex Vet Wrap (1 roll) $2 – I’m not picky about my vet wrap brands, so this goes in the vet kit!

Charleigh’s Cookies (1 cookie) $23 for 1lb: You’d have to ask Oh So about how these organic cookies tasted, but he ate them right up!  The brand makes a Cover Up Cookie to help feed pills, so I’ll keep them in mind.

Farnam Purishield Emergency Wound Kit (4 sample sizes): This sample kit is just what I need for my vet kit. I rarely use products before they expire with just a few horses to deal with. Farnam’s new products include a wound spray, a barrier spray, hydrogel and skin spray. The skin spray is meant for bacterial and fungal skin issues, while the hydrogel is for wound care and is meant to bind to the wound. Thankfully I haven’t needed to test these yet!

Finish Line AirPower (1 syringe/1 dose) $5 for one dose- Meant as a natural cough syrup, AirPower soothes the airway with ingredients including aloe vera, honey and lemon juice. Oh So doesn’t have a cough, but when I gave it to him to test it went down easily, and he didn’t spit it out! I’m not sure how effective this would be for a horse with a cough. I would have to test it over a longer period. Having just written two stories about equine airways, I’m skeptical about supplements, and if my horse did cough, I’d take him to a vet and see if he might have inflammatory airway disease or something more severe like laryngeal paralysis. I could see giving it if your horse had a dusty bale of hay or to help a horse with IAD, but I’m not sure about the effectiveness long term.

Product Review: Sun Shirts

The idea of wearing long sleeve shirts in the summer makes me want to faint, but with a big trip to the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro coming up I thought it would be wise to invest in some sun shirts to protect myself from mosquitoes.

We’ve had a miserable heat wave the last week, so I took mercy on myself and wore sleeveless shirts, but before then I was able to test out a few different brands.

Ariat Sun Stopper Shirt

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Ariat is one of my favorite brands, so I picked up a few colors of their classic sun shirts with 1/4 zip tops. They also make several of the above colors in polo versions.

I know it totally goes against the idea of keeping you cool in the summer, but I bought the navy and red (so I can be patriotic!) and the navy geo. I like the look of the white striped one but I just don’t love wearing light colors to the barn, and I wanted to make sure that what I invested in could be used throughout the year.

The technical polyester/spandex fabric was very light and the shirt has fine mesh panels under the arms to help with airflow. Ariat’s Moisture Movement Technology is supposed to keep you cooler by pulling moisture away from the skin.

When you hold the shirt up to the light you can see through it, but it’s not too revealing. The 1/4 zip tops have a mock collar and stock tie loop, so the plain white shirt would work well for a show shirt.

I found the shirt to fit true to size and was stylish enough to wear out and to the barn. It was long enough to tuck in if needed and had flattering seams on the sides.

The fabric isn’t the softest compared to some of the other brands I tried, but it’s very light, and I felt it cooled my skin even when I sweat.

I wish they made a red and black one, then I’d be all set for those cooler cross-country days!

SmartPak EQology 1/4 Zip Long Sleeve Top

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I’ve been really impressed with SmartPak’s clothing, especially their breeches, and after trying an EQology short sleeve top I decided to try their budget sun shirt.

The tencel/bamboo material is eco-friendly and very light weight and has UV protection. I bought the turquoise first and thought it was too sheer, so I exchanged for the navy.  I don’t think it wicked moisture away as well as some of the other tops I tried.

The shirt has Raglan sleeves and thumb loops. I was not a fan of the fit of the sleeves, especially towards the bottom where they were quite baggy. I ended up rolling them up several times. They sort of felt like they’d been stretched out, but that’s just the design of the shirt. The rest of the shirt fit true to size on me.

Tuff Rider Ventilated Tech Shirt

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The Tuff Rider Ventilated Tech Shirt immediately felt heavier when I opened the package. The material also felt cheaper, but I think it’s just a different technology. It’s a thicker mesh with lighter mesh on the underside of the sleeves, and I felt a little “stuffier” when I rode. It’s not as sheer, so I think that contributes to the lower breathability factor.

It wasn’t my favorite for super hot days, but it comes in several sizes and with a good price!

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Kastel Denmark Signature Sun Shirt

Maybe it’s the $75 original price tag, but I feel so sophisticated and European wearing the Kastel Denmark Signature Sun Shirt.

They’re on sale on eBay for $25-$30 each though, so jump on it quick!

I have a zip up and 1/4 zip top one, and these are a close second favorite to the Ariat shirts. The material, which has a slightly pocked underside to aid in moisture wicking, is very soft and has a UPF 30 factor as well as anti-microbial agents to help keep the smell down.

The shirt looks very fitted in the promo photos, but I ordered my usual size and it wasn’t tight, which I prefer. The sleeves have fitted cuffs, which felt weird at first, but I much prefer that to the loose SmartPak sleeves. They also have a very fine mesh on the underside.

I think these did the best job with cooling. When I walked in my air-conditioned house after sweating through during a ride I almost immediately felt chilled! It was also very breathable during the ride.

I bought the royal blue and dark blue, and they’re thin, but not sheer thankfully!

Product Review: Favorite Bathing Essentials

I’ve been trying out a few new products this summer from Pony Tails Products and Equifuse after liking what I tried for a recent issue of Untacked. Next on my list will be some more Ecolicious products, but for now, here are my thoughts!

Pony Tails Bubbles and Bucks Conditioning Shampoo

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After trying Pony Tails’ conditioning shine spray, I decided to try a few more products from the brand. Bubbles and Bucks conditioning shampoo is a lightly soap-scented milky product that definitely has the consistency of a conditioner.

Oh So doesn’t get dry skin, but I think this would be a good choice for a horse that does.

Pony Tails Foam and Frolic Soap-Infused Sponge

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When I first saw this soap-infused sponge, I thought, “Why?” But now that I’ve used it, I can definitely see how it could be useful.

The Foam and Frolic sponge is hard in the package, but once you get it wet it lathers up quite nicely. It’s meant to last about 3 washes, and that’s what I got out of it before it started to lack lather.

It got Oh So clean enough, but I don’t think it would replace my normal shampoo. I felt a little weird putting a wet and soapy sponge away in my bucket to dry again. I think it would be easy to use for away shows when you want a quick clean up or to use after cross-country as you’re cooling your horse out.

Pony Tails Mane Stay Styling Spray

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I was on the hunt for a new braiding aid after years of using QuicBraid. To be honest, the scent of QuicBraid holds a lot of memories for me, mostly of braiding Oh So at 4 in the morning before one of our prelim events, sick to my stomach with nerves! It’s amazing how much the scent affects me!

I also found QuicBraid a little sticky, but I think I’ve found my new replacement with Pony Tails’ Mane Stay.

It’s got a pleasant scent and gave me enough grip to braid without leaving my fingers feeling gross.

My hair’s not long enough to do much braiding, but this can also be used as a styling spray for humans.

The bottle is not super-convenient for hanging on my braiding belt, but that’s just a small nitpick!

Pony Tails Show Pony Shine High Gloss Serum

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I’ve been a die-hard Cowboy Magic Detangler user for the cost and quality, but I really liked Pony Tails gloss serum. It’s a little pricier than Cowboy Magic, but I liked how light it was. Most serums contain silicones that can make the mane and tail greasy, especially if you put in too much, but it was hard to go overboard with this. It contains natural oils that help detangle and give a soft shine without the slickness.

Equifuse Coolout

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Ever wanted a dry shampoo for your horse? I love dry shampoo for my fine hair as a mid-day volumizer and refresher, so I figured I’d try it for my horse to absorb excess oil and sweat. Equifuse’s Coolout is a light, airy white powder that you sprinkle on sweaty spots after you ride. After letting it sit for a couple of minutes, you brush and curry the spots, and voila! No more saddle marks.

An anti-bacterial agent is meant to help stave off any skin conditions. I’ll be curious to try this when mud season comes around again.

This is perfect for those cooler summer days when just a hack or light ride means you don’t need a full rinse–a plus when repeated daily baths can destroy feet in the dry months. A light touch is needed or your horse will be white!

Equifuse CFS Concentrate + Paste Horse Shampoo and Equifuse Rehydrinse 1-Step Coat Protector + Conditioner

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After trying Equifuse’s Shine Spray for Untacked, I decided to try a couple more of their bathing products. They’re a little pricey, so I went for the 1lb version of their paste shampoo and a new kind of product for me, the rehydrinse, which is basically a leave-in conditioner.

I’ve never actually used a paste shampoo, so it’s a new concept for me. The product was jelly-like in the container with no discernible scent. The brand recommends using 1 oz for a bath and states that the 1lb container can give you 60 washes, which comes out to .28 cents per wash.

It made Oh So pretty clean with the amount recommended, but I kind of guessed for his tail, and I think less is more! I was rinsing suds out for awhile.

The Rehydrinse is meant to be mixed in a bucket with a gallon of water and is supposed to condition the coat as a post-bath rinse. Wheat protein and almond oil help reduce static and grooming time.

Oh So’s coat felt pretty soft, but I think it also helped bring some residue I missed during his bath to the surface once it dried.

For those in a hurry, a spray on coat conditioner is probably easier than mixing up another bath and sweat scraping, but if your horse has dry skin I think this could be very useful.

Product Review: Smartpak Piper Breech With Silicone Grip Fullseat

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The minute I saw Smartpak’s new Piper Silicone Fullest breeches, I had to have them. I’m a fan of their original Pipers and have several colors. They’ve become my go-to schooling breeches, and I use a dark brown pair for cross-country at events and a black pair for dressage schooling shows.

I was intrigued by the silicone grippers on the new Pipers, and picked the black and white pair to try, but there are so many other fun colors I would love to have.

They’re very similar to the original Pipers in fit (a mid-rise on me that requires a belt to fit the best) and just a little more expensive.

I’ll admit, it was a weird feeling sitting the saddle for the first time in these. I felt like I had a little less give in my seat, and they actually squeaked a little in the leg area as I broke them in during the first few rides. Maybe it was because I tend to grip with my knees a little? I guess that’s a good reason not to!

When I got off, I noticed little squares imprinted on the seat of my saddle, but those went away after a few minutes.

I’ve found my other pairs of Pipers wear out in the crotch through the full seat material very quickly and tend to pill a little, but I wear them ALOT. These don’t have the same material in the full seat so I’ll be curious to see how they hold up.

If you’re worried about them imprinting in very soft leather, these might not be for you, but if you want a fun pop of color at a good price, these are a good buy.

Available at Smartpak.com for $99.95 or a little less with a USEF discount. Smartpak also makes a knee patch version.

Product Review: Ariat Saga Full-Zip Jacket

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Now that I live near a Dover Store, life has suddenly become very dangerous! I walked in last week with a list of basic items I needed like shampoo and treats, and came out with all of that plus the Ariat Saga Full-Zip Jacket.

It’s been so mild this winter that the sweatshirt/jacket style piece has become a staple for me when I ride. I get too warm with a full jacket and it’s too cold for a long sleeve shirt or vest combo. I’ve always been a fan of Ariat’s “sporty” riding pieces, and the Saga Jacket fits right in that category, working for riding and stylish enough that you could wear it out to run errands or to the gym.

The grey/blue color combination is really nice. I tend to like neutral base colors with a pop of color. The Saga Jacket has a matching blue fleece lining with a honeycomb pattern and an outer grey soft shell.

There are two pockets on the inside, one for each hand on the outside, as well as a zippered pocket on one arm and one on the back/side. I can’t say I’ve ever seen a pocket placed there. I’ve been using it for my cell phone since it’s zippered, but to get it out it requires a bit of twisting.

If I could change anything on the jacket, I’d make the outside front pockets zippered too since that’s where I tend to put my phone. I just don’t trust non-zippered front pockets to hold my phone in while I’m riding or doing barn chores.

The soft shell material cleans easily. How do I know, you ask? Oh So was quite fascinated with my stylish new jacket and proceeded to slobber on me throughout our grooming session and each time he thought I had a treat. Luckily the dark grey color doesn’t show green too horribly!

It’s wind proof and water resistant, but it’s not the warmest sweatshirt/jacket I’ve owned. The material is thinner fleece than some of my Horsewear jackets, so I make sure to wear long sleeves under it on chilly days.

There are also Velcro cuffs on the sleeves to make them tighter to keep the wind out.

The Ariat Saga Jacket is comfy and stylish and has become a staple piece for me during this mild winter. It’ll be perfect for spring too.

The jacket retails for $89.95 and comes in sizes XS-XL in Lava Beach or Purple.

 

Product Review: Bell Boots

It’s been awhile since I’ve done a product review here, then I remembered I’d done two recently for Untacked!

Here is my bell boots Test Lab. I would like to amend one thing though with the Woof boots. I used them for a full show jump lesson on Bear this fall and the bulb on the back that helps them stay in place actually rubbed him raw! So, negative points on those.

I’m going to try to find some time this week to write up a post on what I’ve been up to with the boys, but until then…

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