Product Review: Shires Stormbreaker Lite Sheet and Jersey Cooler

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Before I won a trip to the Longines Wellington Masters last year, I’d never won anything in my life!

Then one day this winter I randomly entered a contest again on Practical Horseman’s Facebook for a Shires blanket, and I won!

I’ve never tried a Shires brand blanket, having always been loyal to Weatherbeeta and Rambo’s various brands.

I was sent the Stormbreaker Lite Sheet in black/tan with a standard neck. It features 1200 denier waterproof material with shoulder gussets, adjustable chest clips, a wither relief pad, cross belly straps and cross leg straps.

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Front view of the light sheet.

I’ll admit I’ve gotten so used to the single tail strap on my Amigo blankets that cross leg straps were mildly annoying, but they’re certainly something I’m used to from Weatherbeeta blankets.

The front chest straps were a nice touch. I tend to adjust those on the buckle end to get the right fit and then only use the snaps end for quick on and off.

I only tried the blanket on Oh So, who’s a 78″, and it fit true to size. The shoulder gussets aren’t a necessity for him since he’s very narrow-chested, but they certainly didn’t hurt.

Since I got this late in the season, I was only able to test it out a few times in the pouring rain, and he was dry underneath after spending all day outside. I can’t speak to the wear and tear yet, but with about a month’s use it still looks good.

He was in need of a new sheet anyways, so we’ll see how long this one lasts! The sheet retails for $134.99 and comes in sizes 69″-84″.

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Shires Jersey Cooler

I also received a nice jersey cooler in my prize pack. I tend to use half fleece, half mesh coolers during the winter, spring and fall because Oh So runs hot, so I think Thomas will be using this the majority of the time.

It’s also came in black/tan, but is available in navy. It’s quite simple, with cross belly straps, a tail cord and a simple buckle front chest closure.

The outer jersey alter is quite smooth, so nothing stuck to it, and the underside was fleece to keep him warm. It was quite smart, and I think I’ll be using this a lot for trailering.

It comes in sixes 69″-84″ and retails for $62.99, making it a good value for a smart looking cooler.

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Front buckle of cooler
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Product Review: Pre-Tied Stock Ties

I recently got the chance to try a bunch of pre-tied stock ties for the Chronicle’s Untacked magazine.

I’ve been really inspired to look into custom things for me and my horses since spending so much time at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival and watching all of the dressage queens sparkle and shine, so searching for companies that did stock ties was a lot of fun.

Continue reading “Product Review: Pre-Tied Stock Ties”

Product Review: Kerrits Stretch Panel Riding Jacket

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I’d been eyeing the Kerrits Stretch Panel Riding Jacket all winter because of my love of lightweight jackets, the color blue and color blocking, so when it went on steep discount recently, I picked one up in the Night Shade color.

The blue parts of the jacket have a really cool horse design if you look closely, and the black soft-shell points are slimming and stretchy.

I recently wore it on assignment when the mornings were chilly in the 40s and the afternoons were comfortable in the 70s, and it was a good choice. It’s slightly filled for warmth, almost puffy, with the effect of a fleece jacket, but the lining is smooth. The outer soft-shell fabric made it easy for hay and horse hair to come off, but I’m kind of wanting to keep this one out of the barn. Oh So tends to like to put his drippy nose on everything, especially when I come wearing something new!

This jacket is the perfect length for riding, but it’s also stylish enough to wear out and about. Love it!

Product Review: New To Me Items This Winter

I’ve found some great stuff this winter that’s come in handy around the barn. Here’s a few top picks. I’ve got some new horse care items from different brands to try this month, so I’ll check back in after I’ve tested them.

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Kerrits Outsider Barn Jacket

I’ve been looking for a new medium weight winter jacket for riding to replace my older Kerrits one, so naturally I went back to the source! I have a heavy Mountain Horse jacket, but I only wear it in the coldest of weather because I feel like it’s too bulky to ride in, but this is the perfect weight.

My older Kerrits one had the coolest design feature on the front–instead of buttons to conceal the zipper it had magnets. It was a little odd to be carrying it on my arm and have it stick to the metal railing on stairs, but it snaps shut as soon as you zip up the jacket making for a sleek look.

The new one doesn’t have that feature on the front unfortunately, but does utilize it in the back for the flaps so they open to have more flexibility when sitting in the saddle and snap shut when you’re just wearing it around the barn.

It’s very waterproof and stain proof (Oh So loves to put his drippy nose on me all the time!). It also has arm pit vents and a detachable hood and comes in some really nice colors.

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Noble Outfitters Horseplay Backpack

I was searching for a small backpack to take with me on cross-country when I’m working and don’t want to haul my laptop camera bag out on course. Noble has two different backpacks, and I got the smaller, cheaper one. I can fit snacks, orders of go, my wallet, drinks and even my 70-200mm lens in this little lightweight backpack, and I can use it to transport stuff from my house and car to my truck when I go to shows.

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FITS Zephyr Show Coat

Where has this been all my life? I hate wearing jackets in anything other than cold weather shows, and this mesh coat is so lightweight I have no problem wearing it in the summer. It’s kind of see through when you hold it up to light, but it’s opaque when you wear it. I did wear it at a November show and I was freezing, so I’ll make sure to pull out my trusty older jacket for early spring and fall shows. It’s got a zipper front with buttons over it and faux pockets. They also make a dressage version. I got this for a steal on TackOfTheDay.com last summer.

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Arista Equestrian clothing

I came across this brand at Dressage At Devon. It’s well above my budget, but I found two pieces that were steeply discounted, so I couldn’t resist. I got the Hooded Box Fleece Jacket and a lightweight technical fabric jacket, similar to the one above.

The fleece jacket is nice and warm and has a hood and an offset front zipper. It’s stylish enough to wear in public and warm enough to wear as an under layer at the barn. The jacket is made of a stretchy soft shell and has pleats in the back for riding and stretch panels on the shoulders. I love the black accents against the gray.

The brand also appears to have a lower priced brand called F.O.A.L. I’ve been eying their technical shirts at Dover, but I think I’ll wait until they’re on sale because they’re still a little pricey.

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Hands On Grooming Gloves

These are my new holy grail grooming item. A friend turned me on to them, and they’ve been invaluable for grooming Oh So, and now Thomas, who both love to get mud between their ears and everywhere in between. I can get crusted mud off of their faces and around sensitive areas like their eyes, and I can run my hands down their legs and get all the mud off every crevice.

These can be used for bathing too, but I haven’t tried them that way yet.

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Kerrits Pocket Fleece Zip Neck

I’m a sucker for a fleece of any kind for riding as a base layer and as a top layer on warmer winter days. I also love color blocking, so I got the purple version of this Kerrits piece. It’s got side pockets for a cell phone, and while I wish they were zippered, it’s still a cool feature. The material is sort of textured on the outside, so it could be OK to wear in the real world too!

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.