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The cost of living, Davis bell boots, and Smartpak (a silly thread)

How do you notice changes in the cost of living? Gas prices? Food prices? My measure of increases in the cost of living… Davis bell boots.

I order these a somewhat disturbing amount, almost always from Smartpak.

2020- $18

2021- $19.95

2022- $21.95

Today…. $35.95

https://www.smartpakequine.com/pt/davis-bell-boots-687?_br_psugg_q=davis+bell+boots (the draft size are actually over $50 which seems like lunacy to me).

That’s an astounding jump ($14) given that the average yearly increase on the product was $2.

Maybe that’s an error on the website, because WOW that’s a significant price hike?!

I wonder what else I could trace so easily over time? Smartpak archives your orders seemingly into perpetuity and organizes them by year which makes it easy.


I was working in a tack store when those came out in the 90s (or at least we first got them) and I am trying to remember what they cost then. I think it was $11.95? Could have been $9.95 but that’s ballpark.

They are made in the USA. Wages stagnated for 25 years and are finally going up and I think that’s what you are seeing here.


I’ve noticed that the prices on some items just keep jumping up month after month-- chicken feed, for example, at my local chain feed store has increased by $15 over the last 3 years. In the last month alone, it jumped $3/bag. Why? What factors are going into that jump?

I strongly suspect a bit of gouging or at the very least, taking advantage of the strong economy and full employment. And the fact that if you (g) can afford to own a horse, you clearly can afford to pay through the nose for items needed by that horse. Sigh…


There is some gouging but for things produced in small town/ rural USA it’s housing and wages mostly. The cost of housing and wages both stagnated in rural American for 30 years. It was dirt cheap to live in a lot of areas. Then there was a mass migration during Covid and housing in some areas went up 5 fold (NC, Florida etc), it at a minimum has doubled most rural places that are large enough to support a feed mill. People are absolutely unwilling to work for $13/hr anymore because they can’t live on it so a lot of places have had to raise wages, a lot. And as new young people enter the workforce it will continue to go up as they do not have a fixed housing cost like many of their older colleagues.

Also commercial chicken feed is the kind of thing we just didn’t buy a lot of back in the day because it was so expensive, They ate scraps from the house and the farm and vegetable garden and free ranged and maybe got a small amount of commercial feed but it wasn’t most of their diet. People got very used to convenience and to paying a low price for things like that.


Beet pulp has gone up quite a bit since July of 2020 at some stores. I want to say I was paying in the $15 dollar ballpark then, and at TSC a 20 pound bag today is $19. I can get a big 40lb bag at our co-op store for $14.99!!

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Adequan. I last used it in March, and I paid ~320 for it, thru my vet’s online pharmacy. Pretty much same price anywhere else.
I went to look the other day…it was $370. I quickly googled all other sellers I could find. I managed to find it for 320 at Vet Depot but I know nothing about that seller. Valley Vet is 345.

$50 price jump in less than 6 mos. W. T. F.


I too am a frequent Davis bell boot buyer. I shop around on line, and my experience is that Smartpak prices for them are way higher (sometimes as much as two times higher) than other places I buy them. And if you are willing to buy red or purple or neon green, sometimes you can find great deals. I recently paid $18.95 for XLarge from The Tack Room, with free shipping but that was the price only for orange boots. Other colors were $28.95. The Smart[ak price for XLarge at the same time was $35,95 for all colors.

So my boot destroyer sometimes wears pink Davis bell boots in the pasture. I keep a black set on hand in case we go somewhere he would feel self-conscious about his hooves wearing pink.


Given the rate at which they are DESTROYED here, I can hardly be picky about color :wink:


Not necessarily.
My feedstore prices oats based on what their suppliers (farmers) charge them.
Price has fluctuated a bit over recent months, but never more than a dollar or so up or down.
Same for their namebrand feeds - Purina & Layena - & bedding (bagged shavings).
TSC has kept the same price for shavings, but the bags are smaller.

For a laugh:
Friend sent me an old jar of Swat she had when I said I wanted to try it.
Price handwritten on the jar is $5.19.
Current price at TSC is $15.99
Same size jar.


The one thing I really have noticed (at least here) is the price of flax seed. I used to buy just regular flax and grind it myself. 50# bag at the feed store was around $35, or I could get a 25# bag at Winco for $17. I switched to TC Golden Flax and it was maybe $27/25# bag.

Our feed store a couple of years ago had a somewhat snotty sign posted that TC made them raise the price of the golden flax, and to ask them about regular flax. Asked them about regular flax - they don’t carry it. LOL (the golden flax is I think $57 now).

My regular feed store doesn’t carry flax in anything more than 5# bags ($18!!). I get it at Winco now, paying $56 for a 25# bag. Yikes.

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Yeah, ugh. Just in case you missed it, there’s a $20 rebate available (link and details on the Valley Vet product page).


Wow, what a jump in price. Glad I don’t need bell boots.

Someone needs to trace the cost of fly spray. I feel like it jumped WAY up this year.

There was a nice period of time from the mid ‘10s - 2020 where it felt like the cost of horse feed stayed mostly consistent.

But now we’re back to playing the game where my total at the feed store is a surprise every time, because the price is always going up up and away!


I think that price comparison from 2020 to now is fascinating and puts real numbers to what I find a really scary trajectory when it comes to inflation.

I’ve said it on other threads but will say it again here, because it blows my mind on a DAILY basis, that our household makes (verrry low) six figures yet we struggle to pay our credit card bills and have resorted to regularly shopping the 50% off at-its-best-before-date food at the grocery store.

Yes there are horse expenses but they’re limited to one small pony at a pretty basic barn on outdoor board (mini rate), who requires very little in the way of grain or maintenance. We don’t take frequent luxury vacations or replace big-ticket items (TVs, phones, iPads etc.) unless they literally don’t work anymore. I make it a habit not to buy things at full price unless absolutely necessary, most discretionary purchases are sale items or Amazon Warehouse deals (returns).

We’ve gone from having extra money to stash away in our savings account each month (pre-COVID) to having to cash-out said savings account to pay-off credit card bills and our line of credit as the interest rate on the latter has jumped significantly.

And to use the Davis bell boots as an example, the reason I feel so despondent about our household finances is because things are now costing up to 2x what they used to despite salaries not increasing to keep pace*!

[*In my DH’s case, raises were incredibly modest throughout COVID as his company wanted to play it safe rather than risk having to lay employees off - yet trying to attract employees to replace those that left during that time got EXPENSIVE as prospective employees were receiving multiple interviews and job offers from competing firms. So new employees were being hired at much higher salaries than was standard, and the salaries of existing employees weren’t - and still haven’t been - adjusted.]

Okay, Debbie Downer rant over :sweat_smile:


In the spirit of “count your blessings” I started thinking about some of the things that have stayed the same or even decreased in cost. Your experience may vary.

My co-op’s electric rates are the same as they were 9 years ago.

Winter rye seed was down this year $20 per 50 pound bag.

Gasoline prices are down in my area, as is diesel fuel.

Fertilizer prices are also beginning to drift down this year for me.

I have better internet speed (40 vs 1,000 Mbps) for less cost than just a few years ago.

Electronics (computers, televisions, printers) are way less now than back in the olden days I recall. More speed and better picture quality, too. And way bigger screens as well.

My new EV still cost half a year’s income, just like every other new car I have ever bought cost about a half a year’s income at the time.

Lumber prices peaked a couple of years ago, but are more reasonable now.

A bucket of ground flaxseed is less now than I was paying last year.


I found ( coincides with Covid but may not be related to it) Whole Flax went from $25 to $ 36 and has now gone too high for me to justify the purchase anymore. I find that BOSS is the same. I used the Flax for my horses and the BOSS in my goat/ cow feed but not anymore.

They look just as good without it :wink:

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I went to Tractor Supply today and bought two things:

  1. A bag of Purina ProPlan Sensitive Skin and Stomach dog food (the medium bag, not the big one)
  2. A bottle of Tri-Tec fly spray

$94.99 was the total. I handed her a $100 bill and got a $5 bill and a penny back.

The freakin’ fly spray was almost $34. Insanity. I’d change to a cheaper brand but this works and it’s one that he’s not sensitive to.


I just did a quick Google search and several places have the Davis Bell Boots for 19.99 including Schneider’s and Big Dee Tack.

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Coming here to say the same thing! I go thru the Davis boots like crazy too, and I buy thru Schneiders. I like the hot neon colors, easier to find if lost.


I’ll probably buy elsewhere. I appreciate the tip. Just noting the big price jump on SP which is easy to track because of the way they archive past orders. I also noticed SP was slightly more expensive before but was willing to pay a buck or two more for the item due to the free barn saver shipping and the easy if just randomly tossing in items knowing they’d come quickly. Now that there’s a sly fee added into every order and more other stores offer free shipping, there’s no much reason to go with SP.


There has been big price jumps on a bunch of stuff. Flax seed, Timothy pellets are up 4.00, fly spray, and and basic stuff.

Flax seed was 45.00 for 50 lbs when I brought my horses home, last bag cost 85.00. Timothy pellets are up 4.00 a bag, fly spray was 19.99 a bottle for endure now it’s close to 30.00.

Shavings has gone up 30% as well.