Eventing is expensive. Boy, is it ever! Almost everyone I know is on a serious horse budget. Of course, there are those lucky few that have a money tree in the backyard (wouldn’t I love to be one of them!). However, if you are like me, and you are always looking for ways to save money and even time, here are some common household items that can be used around the barn and the show venue.
HOTEL SOAP: Wait, what? Hotel soap. If you travel at all anywhere (and it doesn’t have to be to a horse show), you have come in contact with hotel soap. Here’s what it does and why it’s great. First of all, it’s FREE! Woohoo! Here’s how you use it: Whether they are paddock boots or tall boots, most of us have boots with zippers. Zippers break. All the time. Usually when you are a show and really don’t want to have to buy a new pair of boots.
Zippers are made to slide up and down. Zippers break because they can’t slide up and down because of all the dirt and dust lodged in the teeth from all the riding we do in this fabulous sport we all love. This is where the hotel soap comes in. Those little bars of soap are PERFECT for rubbing on zippers creating the lubrication needed for said zipper to slide up and down. The zipper moves easier, and guess what, it doesn’t break. Easy peasy.
Furthermore, if you use bars of soap at home and are constantly finding yourself left with those annoying little slivers of soap that you just can’t throw away, they work on zippers, too. Two problems solved!
OLIVE OIL: This fabulous substance can be used for so many things, and it’s available at just about any grocery or super store you can think of. I buy it in the spray form and in the liquid form. Why? Just like the soap we discussed in the paragraph above, the spray form is amazing at keeping your zippers zipping, and it’s cheap.
So before you unzip your boots to take them off, spray the olive oil on the zipper, and viola! The zipper slides easier. It’s a super lubricant (the spray oil costs less tham $4) and it gets rid of dust in the process. Olive oil is also an incredible, wait for it, tack cleaner and conditioner. And it’s cheap!
At this point in the blog, I have to insert a disclaimer: PLEASE! Do not put anything on your leather that you are afraid might affect it in anyway that you don’t want it to, whether it’s the color of the leather, the finish, etc. As you should with any leather product, please test it first.
OK. Back to the olive oil. I buy the small bottles of generic olive oil. It is usually around $4. It lasts for quite awhile; it’s natural; and it cleans and conditions all my leather, from my boots to my breastplates to my saddles. I love it! Bonus: it also makes my super dry eventer waitress hands soft in the process.
DESITIN: If you have children or if you have ever been a babysitter, you have heard of Desitin, that super sticky thick white substance that is used to prevent and treat diaper rash. Turns out it has uses around the barn as well (or it wouldn’t be in this article, duh.)
Ever gotten a horse kiss or a random dark stain on those wonderful white breeches at a horse show just before you’re headed into the ring? What to do? What to do? Grab that tube of Desitin you’ve been keeping in your tack trunk and dab it on the stain. That stuff is so thick it will cover the stain and stay put while you ride. Problem solved (at least temporarily).
Again, this is one of those super cheap (less than $3 for the generic) items that are easy to find and great for solving equestrian problems. Desitin is also great used as sunblock on white horse noses. (It has some of the same ingredients as the white stuff we put on OUR noses.) It doesn’t rub off easily and is super safe. I mean, we put it on baby’s bottoms, right?
One more use: it helps get rid of rain rot/scratches on legs. I discovered this by accident. I ALWAYS have a tube of this miracle stuff laying around. I live in the hot, humid south. One day it occurred to me that Desitin is supposed to protect and heal diaper rash because it is made to repel moisture. My horse had a minor case of rain rot on his hind legs. As an experiment, I tried smearing Desitin all over the areas of rain rot. It worked! It dried up the old spots and prevented new ones from forming. I’m pretty sure it made my horses legs feel better, too.
TUBE SOCKS: I live in an area without a tack store. The horror! It’s probably a blessing in disguise except for when I need a piece of tack right now! I have a wonderful synthetic girth that I absolutely love, and I use it for both my jumping and my dressage saddles. One day I discovered small cracks in the girth that were irritating my horse. Well, you can’t ride without a girth, and it takes awhile to have one shipped. A new conundrum to solve!
The answer: one of my husband’s old white tube socks. He wasn’t wearing it because it had a hole in it and the elastic was worn out at the top. I cut the end off where the toes go, and almost instantly I had a girth cover. I know, it’s a bit redneck, and I would never use it anywhere but at home. However, it worked great in a pinch and hardly cost me anything.
I hope these ideas help all you penny pinchers out there save some much needed cash. Leave me your comments and let me know what you think. Better yet, got an idea of your own? Share those, too. And Go Eventing!