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Best horse products that aren't horse products

What’s been a favorite discovery of something that wasn’t made for horses but works so well for them it should have been? Here’s mine- This year my son has gotten heavily involved in showing cattle, and OMG the cattle shows make all of us horse show people look normal! (I’m grateful to them for this.) They wash the cattle multiple times a day, fluff their hair up just so (gluing on extra hair in some places, and shaving it off in others) and generally shape all that cow fluff like a bovine bonsai tree. The super serious cattle live in refrigerated rooms to make thier hair grow thicker. We now own a special chute, cow blow dryers ,and a giant equipment box on wheels, which I will totally be appropriating as a tack box when kiddo is over the cow show phase because its actually really easy to move around. And that brings me to this thread- the cattle show supply companies really ought to be eyeballing the horse folks and expanding thier market. I’ve been using the hair growth products on Pony’s previously scraggly tail and darned if his tail doesn’t now drag the ground in the middle of fly season. The hoof polish has a specifically designed polish removal product. The show day shine oil smells amazing and doesn’t turn Pony’s back into a silicone slip and slide. Finding cattle stuff to use on my horses has been the funnest part of schlepping around to cattle shows. On the flip side, the show steer’s clipped face was really irritated by flies. He’s now the only steer at the show sporting a rather dapper no ear equine fly mask. Waiting to see if the neighbors will stop to ask why he’s blindfolded😆.


Little embroidery scissors with the smooth, rounded, dull, cuppped tip on the bottom blade are perfect for stitch removal in horses and … cattle :smiley: and sewn in braids.

Terry towel tea towels, microfiber golf towels, and dish cloths are perfect for a variety of body/face/eyeball/nostril wiping.

Zep brand wide-mouth spray bottles make decanting fly sprays, etc. from their refill jugs easy.

Footlockers (used to live where they were manufactured so might not be something widely available) make awesome medicine/emrgency chests for barn/trailer.

Large wheeled sewing machine case or rolling file case for a grooming kit.


Ooooooh do tell!!


If you have a soft spot for cows or even animals I recommend not googling cow forums to try and figure out the product referenced in the OP. I had no idea there was such mistreat of calves in the industry. If they were horses people would be horrified at the things suggested all for growing hair and instead the other posters just seem to shrug and move on to their product recommendations. Wow. I wish I could unread all of that.


Courtesy of the majikal Aldi center aisle (motto: Where Restraint Goes to Die), I bought a pair of dishwashing gloves whose digits and palms are covered in lots of little silicone fingers. They are amazing at scrubbing dirty coats, manes and tails, and I can’t wait to try them in the spring during shedding season. They look just like this:



“motto: Where Restraint Goes to Die)”

& The sheep & goat folks aren’t far behind in the WTF Grooming :open_mouth:

My NOT 4 Horses specifically:
*Dollar Tree hairbrushes that illustrate Murphy’s Law. Pay $1 (now $1.25 :expressionless:) and that mane & tail brush lasts literally years. The ones with rows of separate bristles that have rounded ends.
Why buy the pricy version intended for horses?
*Caveat: not all horses agree, but my 3 are total Hos when it comes to Dollar Tree gingersnaps.
A bag lasts me a bit over a week & that includes a daily evening treat of 3 apiece.
*For brush boxes I have small wicker baskets that sit on decorative wood shelves outside each stall. Not for everybody, but I like the look & the oldest are near 20yrs now.
Excuse messy state of implements in the box (including DT hairbrush)

The spray bottle is also a DT find.
After going through numerous purpose-made spray bottles for flyspray & having them all fizzle… Generally the spray mechanism :rage:
I bought a quart bottle of some cleaning product, decanted that into another container, washed & refilled with my flyspray concentrate.
Again: Murphy’s Law
Bottle still spraying after nearly a year of use & if/when it dies, replacement will be $1.25 :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


Make up removal cloths extra large. When you have a white grey horse something always needs to be touched up!

  • Human shampoo and conditioner works just as well for getting ponies clean and isn’t $20 a bottle.
  • Korean exfoliating gloves for cleaning sheaths and udders. Gentle enough that everyone in the barn thinks they are great, but still will remove all the stuff up there.
  • makeup eraser cloths for equine faces. The dirt clings to the cloth so well, you just get it a little wet and rub it on the face. It’s great for horses who don’t do so well with actual soap on their face. (I actually use them myself. It’s so convenient just bringing a little towel when traveling instead of a bottle of makeup remover)

The daughters at the barn I board my horse at decided they wanted to dabble in show cows. Their parents purchased two show heifers professionally fitted and ready to show. As a horse person, I have never seen the work that goes into that sport. IT IS UNBELIEVABLE the amount of time and labor and grooming that go into those animals. Not to mention the show “prep” they do to them. No thank you.

The kids decided the same thing a couple months into their new ownership. LOL “It was more fun when the trainer was fitting and prepping them for us to show!” (12 year old)


An eventer friend of mine suggested the following for black horses when their coats look “dusty“: Pledge on a rag! I have yet to try this – but definitely worth a shot :wink:


I’m entirely ignorant here (but do want to know the magic potion to make a tail grow from the OP!). What prep are you referencing?


Oh boy this may have opened a can of worms regarding show cattle, which was not my intention. I didn’t want to product plug but having been asked, Sullivan’s Sure Coat Max is the product I use for tails. It doesn’t bother the horses in the slightest, though the acquisition of it does irritate my bank balance. Smells a million times better than MTG. FWIW I asked the company rep if it was safe for equines and was told they’ve been selling it to reining horse owners for years. I don’t disagree that there are some bad practices in prepping show cattle. The first few shows we went to were eye opening. The focus is all on getting the cattle to grow hair and some folks go to extremes to do that, to the detriment of the cattle. Thankfully we raise Charolais cattle, which are expected to have thinner hair as a breed standard. We don’t have to choose between being humane and being competitive. Son bathes them often, but that’s mostly to keep them clean (they’re white). As with many equine competitions, there’s good and bad, and change doesn’t always happen from the sidelines. We’ve actively supported creating no-prep and ‘packer’ classes at our local fairs that judge animal quality and care -not hair- in an effort to modify what a ‘winner’ looks like at the entry level and involve youth in a way that focuses on good husbandry.

Dr_Doolittle, very tempted to try a bit of pledge on my always dusty dark bay!


They can go to great lengths to make them look certain ways when they walk in the show pen. One example I think of when I say this, it they insert a tube into their stomachs and pump them full of water or something (I assume its water) to make their barrels plumper and more round.

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I’m not seeing how 2x daily washing and blow drying is “inhumane” - what additional things are done? Is it the refrigerator keeping? Or more?

Again, I’m ignorant. I don’t know a thing about show cattle. But I am going to look up that magic potion…

Oops, I’m so sorry if my reply derailed it. I was more astonished with how involved the whole sport is. Far more than I ever expected once I saw it firsthand.

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Same, honestly. The amount of time and $$$ poured into the animals is mind boggling. We’re more in the camp of ‘people who have a cow calf herd and our son shows them for fun’. Which is very different than ’ we raise show-only cattle and have to win because its our business model’.


Endlessclimb, you nailed it- some cattle are never allowed to drink freely. The fitter calculates exactly how much water the animal needs and that amount is ‘tubed’. We don’t do this, it just feels wrong to not allow free choice. Some are kept in refrigerated rooms with little turnout. Some have thier heads tied high for extended periods because they are supposed to walk around the ring with thier neck stretched high. I helped halter break my son’s first steer and did it just like I might have a colt. He ambled around on a loose lead like a gentleman and I was dumbfounded that that was NOT how the judge wanted him to behave. We still train them like a horse for the most part and my son uses pressure and release to teach them to stand and stretch. They know when the show halter goes on and they are given the cue to strike that pose. It’s a lot more work than tying up and walking away though. Cattle shows today remind me of the Era when cowboys would snub a horse, climb on, and let it buck to saddle train it. It used to be the way it was done, but thankfully horsemanship has evolved and we’ve found better ways. Sometimes people don’t do better because they don’t know better.


It’s not a nice toasty bath and spa but dumping literal ice water until they appear visible cold, refrigeration, water restriction, light restriction for 20+ hours a day, head restraints, etc.

It is like the 90s horror stories of western pleasure magnified and casually talked about like it’s a “well duh you need to win” type of thing.


I came here to say Gold Bond foot powder on my horse’s heels before putting on his hoof boots keeps him from getting rubs.

But now I’m just sitting here in shock after reading what is done to cows to show them.


runs to Walmart definitely giving this a try on my sensitive chestnut’s heels!