Product Review: EcoLicious Equestrian Smeg-U-Later

This will be the only photo I provide for this blog post for obvious reasons.

Sheath cleaning is certainly not one of the more enticing aspects of owning or caring for a horse, but it certainly is something that needs to be done! I clean my horses’ sheaths personally about once a year (my horses’ dentist will do a cleaning when he comes, and that is once a year, making it twice a year in total for my boys), but I have also seen recommendations for an every 6 months cleaning. I’ve also heard of people who never clean their horse’s sheath, so to each their own. I think once a year is the bare minimum it should be done. This advice also counts for mares’ udders.

I actually don’t mind sheath cleaning. When I was still at the barn that my best friend’s mom manages, she would always make me do the sheath cleaning while she held the horse so he could graze. I’m an awesome friend, aren’t I? But for some reason, it really doesn’t bother me. I saw that EcoLicious Equestrian had an all-natural sheath cleaner, and I had to try it. We are cleaning a sensitive area so the less chemicals and irritants, the better!

Smeg-U-Later is made with coconut-derived cleaners and honeysuckle extract. It also has lavender oil which can be calming to those horses that may not enjoy being cleaned in their private area.

I used this product for the first time on my lease horse, L, and it coincidentally was also my first time cleaning his sheath since I’ve only had him for about 6 months. I put a little bit of the product in my hands and got to work cleaning. It quickly dissolved the dirt and gunk that was stuck up there, and it was very easy to see that the product was doing its job. It lathered really well, and I didn’t have to worry about it slip sliding off my hands like Excalibur does when I use it. The Smeg-U-Later bottle says there is no need for rinsing, but I rinsed with a hose anyway after I was done.

L was pretty cooperative during the whole process, so I wasn’t sure if the lavender calmed him at all. However, I noticed that after I had put him back in his stall, I was brushing him and accidentally grazed his sheath, and he swished his tail as if to say “hey lady, get your paws off my junk!” So, he did seem a bit annoyed about me going near the area. Again, since it was my first time cleaning his sheath, and he was so good, I have nothing to really compare against. I will have to try Smeg-U-Later on my baby horse who has not yet been acclimated to all the ways of the domesticated horse, unlike L who spent the majority of his years as a show horse.

Overall, I really like this product. It will last a long time because you don’t need much to get the job done, and you shouldn’t use a lot because it is concentrated. It smells great, and the dirt and gunk come right off and out of the sheath. The fact that it is an all-natural product is what makes it so great. The less chemicals the better, especially when cleaning sensitive areas! Smeg-U-Later can also be used around your horse’s nostrils and around his eyes.

Remember to clean your horse’s sheath or udder at least once a year! It’s important to make sure that everything down there is in good working order. Certain breeds and colors – like pink skinned horses – can get melanoma, and there are other things to watch out for like sores that can indicate a worm infestation or other issue. If you can’t clean your horse’s sheath or udder yourself, you can always enlist the help of your vet or a more experienced horse person. It only needs to be done once a year, and you shouldn’t skimp on your horse’s health – no matter how icky the process may be!

Happy sheath/udder cleaning!

The Fault in Our Fly Spray

If you’re looking for a post on fly spray that works, this isn’t it – if you couldn’t tell by the title. If you’re looking for a post on fly sprays that do not live up to their advertised expectations, you are in the right place!

I have yet to find a fly spray that lives up to its advertising claims. I’ve used the so-called ‘natural’ fly sprays and the so-called ‘harsh’ fly sprays, and to be 100% honest, I have noticed NO difference whatsoever.

Here are the 3 fly sprays I have used the past three summers:

Tri Tec 14, “lasts” for 14 days.

Bronco “e” Fly Spray – This was recommended to me as a less harsh fly spray that still worked.

Absorbine Ultra Shield EX – This summer’s fly spray choice.

 

Tri Tec 14: I chose Tri Tec 14 because it was advertised as lasting up to 14 days. I should’ve known to be skeptical of the claims, but since I had been using barn-provided fly spray for years, I fell for it. This does NOT last 14 days. I switched over to something new the next summer.

Bronco “e”: One of my horses had developed hives last summer, so I was told to try switching my fly spray since we couldn’t identify what was giving him hives. A friend’s horse had a similar issue, and she told me she switched to this fly spray because it was gentler than the others and had a more pleasant smell, and her horse’s hives disappeared. I tried it, and while my horse’s hives disappeared, the flies did not. This fly spray does smell a bit better than the others, but I would take nasty smell over poor efficacy any day. By the way, my horse developed hives this year before we started using fly spray, so I don’t think the hives were fly-related. I also have been using a different fly spray since the bugs came out in full force, and he has yet to develop any hives, even though the new spray is definitely way harsher than Bronco “e”.

Absorbine Ultra Shield EX: I first heard about this spray from a brochure I got with one of my SmartPak orders. The Ultra Shield line has four different sprays based on different riders’ needs. I chose to try the EX because it seemed like the ultimate in bug protection. Its advertising claims include: remaining active for 17 days; sweat-proof formula; weather-resistent formula; and kills and repels up to 70 species of insect. I haven’t really noticed a difference between this and any of the other sprays I’ve used. I put this on my horse before I ride, and it doesn’t even last an hour. I once even tried spraying him down twice with it – still didn’t last the hour. Normally I would understand because my horse has been sweating, but this is supposed to be sweat-proof. It definitely does not last 17 days as advertised. I read the reviews on this product on SmartPak, and some people have touted this as being the best fly spray they have ever used, but I just haven’t seen those results.

Maybe I am being a little picky, but if a product is advertised as working for a certain amount of time or being able to resist sweat or weather, I kind of expect it to conform to those claims. Overall, I’ve found that most of the fly sprays are not as effective as they claim to be, so buy whatever you want or whatever you think smells good!

Have you had this same experience with fly spray, or have you found something that works? Let me know in the comments below!

Washing Your Ogilvy Half Pad: How-To

I get a lot of search engine hits on my blog from people who have searched how to wash their Ogilvy half pads, so I decided to do a post on the topic!

1. Remove the memory foam inserts: This is an important step! You don’t want to wash the memory foam. Open the velcro at the top of the half pad and take out the inserts. You only want to wash the cover.

2. For stains, use OxyClean or another stain remover: If you have stains on your cover, I suggest using OxyClean or another stain remover. For my white Ogilvy pads and half pad cover, I spray OxyClean onto the stains and let it sit for approximately 1 – 5 minutes. I use a different stain remover, like Shout, for my half pad covers and pads that have colors on them. There are certain OxyClean products that are safe on colors, but I don’t want to take a risk! I suggest researching the OxyClean you have before putting it on any color fabric you have.

3. Use a small amount of detergent: Next, I put a tiny amount of detergent in the detergent dispenser. You don’t need a lot to get your pad clean – it’s not that big! I use regular detergent for lighter colors, but I highly recommend using Woolite Detergent for Dark Clothes for black or darker colored Ogilvy pads! My pad that is black with black binding and turquoise piping recently was washed in this detergent, and I loved it! I’ve also used this detergent for my black saddle pads.

4. Wash on gentle/delicate/handwash cycle: I always put my washing machine on the delicate or hand wash cycle. This has a low spin and uses cold water. My washing machine has settings for these cycles, so if yours doesn’t, just use the most gentle washing cycle you can.

5. Air dry: After the washing is done, I let my cover air dry. I’ve seen people say it can be put in the dryer, but I have not done that.. so do so at your own risk!

You can follow the same steps for your Ogilvy baby pads or other saddle pads. Instead of OxyClean on my white baby pads, I’ve actually used bleach to help get the stains out, but OxyClean works as well. It’s up to personal preference! Note, I use bleach on my baby pad that is ALL white – no embroidery or anything. I wouldn’t recommend bleaching a pad that has embroidery or any type of color on it. I just got another baby pad that has embroidery, and I will NOT be bleaching that when it needs to be washed. Also, if you are using this advice for another type of pad, don’t bleach any pads that have sheepskin or fleece, as this can destroy the fabric.

It’s important to keep your saddle pads clean. Sweat, hair, and other stuff sticks to the pad after each ride, and it can cause irritation eventually if you don’t care for the pad properly. Additionally, if you use your pads on multiple horses, and one happens to get a fungal or bacterial infection on its skin or coat, you can end up transferring the fungus or bacteria to another horse by accident!

Grazing Muzzle Mayhem

I know that a lot of people swear by grazing muzzles, but I had to put my own opinion on these out there:

I hate them.

If you have been reading my blog for a while, you know that my pony sometimes has some poop issues. He has had wet poop ever since I’ve known him, and he also has embarrassingly wet gas, especially during the spring when new grass comes up, and the weather starts to change.

When I moved to a barn that had huge grass pastures, my horses had to be put on a tiered turnout schedule because they had not been on all grass paddocks in a very long time. A tiered turnout schedule is also a good thing in general in the spring, as the new grass can cause some awful health problems like colic and founder.

Even though my pony had been put on a special schedule to get him used to the new spring grass, he still was getting very bad wet gas – I like to refer to it as the “squirts.” It’s quite gross, a mess to clean up, and worrisome because I thought he had a major health problem!

I spoke to my vet, and she suggested that it was probably due to the grass, even despite his special turnout schedule. She suggested I limit his grass in-take even more. She said I could turn him out in a sand paddock, which we don’t have at my barn (we aren’t allowed to turn horses out in the riding rings) or use a grazing muzzle which will allow him to still eat grass, but not as much.

I decided to try the grazing muzzle, though I wasn’t happy about it. I bought this one from SmartPak.

The muzzle came with specific directions for use including how to get your horse used to eating with it. I followed all the directions and turned my pony out, excited to see if this thing actually worked.

It didn’t.

He spent a good 30 minutes walking around the pasture pawing at the ground, confused as to why he couldn’t eat. Even when I would “help” him by poking grass through the hole (as recommended), he still couldn’t figure out how to eat with it by himself.

I brought it home in exasperation and though that maybe the hole was too small, so my dad cut a bigger one with one of his power tools. I brought it back the next day – still no dice.

After the third day, and an even bigger hole, my barn manager told me that my pony didn’t even want to get turned out. One morning, after turnout, he saw my pony go up to the pasture gate and just lay down in front of it until someone came and brought him in.

I felt awful. I didn’t want my pony to associate being turned out as something negative. He loves being outside and grazing! So I stopped using the grazing muzzle. As far as my pony is concerned, it didn’t do squat.

I know that others have had positive experiences with this contraption, but I will never use it again. I instead decided to adjust my schedule so I could turn my pony out and bring him in each day 2 hours longer than the previous day until he got used to the spring grass. Using a grazing muzzle wasn’t worth it to me, especially because it was making him so miserable.

I have also found a product that has made his wet poop and his squirts much, much better. With proper grass management in the spring, and a monthly feed-through supplement, plus a daily digestive supplement, he is much, much happier than he was walking around with a grazing muzzle.

Have you tried a grazing muzzle on your horse or pony? What were your experiences? Let me know in the comments below!

Staying Cool When It’s Hot: 10 Summer Riding Tips

Currently, it is 93 degrees outside with a heat index of 102. The humidity is 54%. What does all of this mean? In one word: Disgusting. In a few words: It feels like a sauna outside.

Thankfully, it isn’t this hot everyday – otherwise I would never be able to ride! Nonetheless, here are some tips you can use to keep you and your horse cool on a hot summer day.

1. Wear light-colored riding apparel: Dark colors absorb sunlight more easily than light colors. Light colors will reflect the sunlight and keep you cooler. You can also keep this in mind for your horse. If the sun is beating down, and it’s hot, you might want to go for the lighter color saddle pad rather than the dark one.

Ogilvy Memory Foam Jumper Half Pad & Ogilvy Baby Pad.

Ogilvy Memory Foam Jumper Half Pad & Ogilvy Baby Pad.

2. Invest in some baby pads: If you use a half pad while riding, you may want to invest in some baby pads to put under the half pad. Baby pads are just like saddle pads except they are made of lighter material and thus will keep your horse’s back cooler when riding. If you do not use a half pad, then you should not use a baby pad with just your saddle. While baby pads are thinner, lighter, and cooler, they do not provide cushioning when used by themselves, so you will end up making your horse more uncomfortable. If you use just a saddle pad, I recommend the Lettia CoolMax Saddle Pads or the Ogilvy pads which have moisture wicking fabric on the underside. If you are looking for a good quality baby pad, I of course recommend Ogilvy profile baby pads, which also have moisture wicking fabric on the underside.

SmartLytes Pellets

SmartLytes Pellets

3. Make sure your horses are hydrated: At an absolute minimum, your horse should drink between 5 and 10 gallons of water a day. If your horse is a good drinker – great! If your horse is naturally a poor drinker, you will want to encourage water drinking on hot days (and on cold days too). There are several ways to do this. First, keep your horse’s water supply cool. Most of us don’t like to drink water that has been sitting in the sun, and neither do horses. Second, you can invest in an electrolyte supplement. Electrolytes will not only encourage your horse to drink water but also replace any minerals and electrolytes he or she has lost during exercise and sweating. I personally love SmartLytes by SmartPark. SmartLytes encourage healthy drinking, do not have unhealthy sugars, and mimic the the minerals your horse loses in its sweat. SmartLytes come in pellet or powder form, and you can even create a nice hot weather treat from the powder if you would like!

4. Focus on hydrating yourself too: We all know the importance of hydration for our horses, but oftentimes we don’t think of ourselves. When it is hot and you are engaged in physical activity, it is essential that you stay hydrated. Not drinking enough water can lead to fatigue, headaches, dizziness, and passing out. When full dehydration hits, you can suffer from heat exhaustion or heat stroke, as your body is no longer able to cool off. Keep a refillable water bottle with you throughout the day and make sure you drink before, during, and after you are riding or doing barn work. If you don’t like water, you can put some lemon or lime in it to make it tastier and more appealing. Sports drinks can help replace lost minerals and electrolytes too, but make sure you choose a drink that does not have a lot of sugar content. Additionally, don’t confuse energy drinks with sports drinks. A drink with too much caffeine can actually hurt you in the heat more than it will help you.

5. Alter your riding time: During the summer, it might be a good idea to choose a different time to ride on hot days, if possible. For example, riding in the early morning or in the evening is more desirable than riding at noon when the sun is at its highest and strongest in the sky. If you are going to be doing heavy work or jumping, early morning lessons are much better and healthier for you and your horse.

6. Give your horse a bath: A cool bath after a ride can feel amazing to your horse. After riding, hose or sponge your horse off while scraping him off with a sweat scraper. Keep doing this until the water that is coming off of your horse is a normal temperature. Bathing your horse and letting him get hot while he is wet can actually be more uncomfortable than when he is dry and hot. Additionally, after bathing, walk your horse or graze him until he is dry. Putting him back in his stall while wet can cause him to overheat because of the confined space and already hot temperatures.

7. Get a stall fan: Stall fans are a great way to keep air circulating while your horse is inside. However, you should research the fan you will be buying and make sure it is appropriate for use in a barn. Using a stall fan can increase the risk of starting a fire if the wrong equipment is used. As an added bonus, increased airflow will decrease flies.

8. Consider night turnout: Some barns will actually turn the horses out at night when temperatures are cooler and bug frequency is lower. This may not be a feasible option for your horse or your barn, so it is important that you talk with your barn manager to see if this would be okay. However, there are some important things to keep in mind for night turnout. You will want to keep an eye on the weather, especially if thunderstorms will be moving through the area. If your horse does not have adequate shelter in his or her pasture, night turnout may not be the best option, especially if there will be storms. Also, night turnout means that horses will be unsupervised outside for a long period of time. If a horse gets hurt or sick, odds are that no one will discover it until the next morning. Finally, night turnout makes it a bit harder to monitor a horse’s vitals. For example, unless you are REALLY good at identifying which manure pile belongs to which horse, and will be willing to walk through the field each morning, you might not know if your horse’s poop has changed or if he or she pooped at all. This may be on the extreme side, but it is something to consider.

9. Wear sunscreen: This is a tip for both horse and rider! We already know that unprotected exposure to the sun can increase our risk of getting skin cancer, but did you know that it is beneficial for horses to wear sunscreen too? This is especially important for horses that have exposed pink skin or white hair. There are even sunscreens made specifically for horses, such as Healthy Haircare Sunscreen. You can also use baby sunscreen. For noses that are extremely pink and vulnerable to sunburn, you can get a fly mask with a nose protector: SmartPak Kensington Fly Mask with Removable Nose.

Le Fash Short Sleeve Show Shirt.

Le Fash Short Sleeve Show Shirt.

10. Buy summer-appropriate riding gear: There are many types of riding gear available for hot weather riding including shirts, breeches, socks, and gloves. My favorite summer weather riding apparel includes: Kerrits Ice-Fil Shirts; Le Fash Show Shirts; Heritage Pro-Flow Summer Show Gloves; Ovation CoolMax Zocks. Vented helmets are also available, like the GPA or Samshield. The Charles Owen AYR8 is also vented.

Product Review: EcoLicious Equestrian Blinded by the White

I recently bought a few EcoLicious Equestrian products – the big sizes of the shampoo and mane, tail, and coat conditioner since I only had the minis set previously; the Glossy Gloss Enhancing Coat Tonic; and Blinded by the White Total Body Whitening Treatment.

This past week, I put Blinded by the White to the test on L’s front and hind white leg markings. Because he doesn’t have the greatest teeth, his breakfast and dinner are served very wet, so he tends to get a soup face which he likes to rub all over his front legs. As a result, the white in his coat tends to be.. a bit more colorful.

I applied Blinded by the White to L’s legs when they were dry, as recommended on the packaging. I found that I had to use a lot of the product in order to fully cover his legs where the white coat was. I still have a sizable amount left, so I didn’t end up using my whole bottle on his three legs (his fourth leg is all black), but I wanted to make sure I got the white slathered in the product to make sure all of the white was being treated.

To start, L’s legs looked like this:

Before Ecolicious Equestrian Blinded by the White treatment.

Before Ecolicious Equestrian Blinded by the White treatment.

As you can see, his legs have various shades of brown, yellow, and green stains on them. His front legs were the worst with the stains. His hind leg has mostly green and yellow stains. During our rides, L wears front boots and polo wraps on his hind legs, so he always has sweat and dirt stains. That plus the green and brown from his breakfast and dinner makes for an interesting grooming experience. After applying, I scrubbed Blinded by the White into his legs and let it sit as per the instructions on the package.

After letting it sit, I scrubbed again just to make sure that the product had really gotten into his fur and all over the stains. I rinsed with cold water. This is what his legs looked like after the rinse:

After rinsing Ecolicious Equestrian Blinded by the White.

After rinsing Ecolicious Equestrian Blinded by the White.

As I was rinsing the product off his legs, I saw brown colored water coming off which told me the stains were definitely being removed. His legs looked whiter after rinsing, though there were a few smidgens of yellow on his front legs, but they were much lighter than they were previously. Overall, I saw a lot of pink on his legs, which definitely told me that most of the stains were removed.

I gave his legs some time to dry and snapped these photos after they had dried. As you can see, his hind leg is SUPER white. The product definitely lives up to its name!

L's legs after they dried.

L’s legs after they dried.

His front legs look awesome also. They all were shiny and were reflecting a lot more light than before I used the treatment. I could definitely tell that most of the staining had been removed by the product.

Blinded by the White also has a huge advantage over other whitening treatments and shampoos – it’s natural and chemical free. The whitening effect comes from lemon juice and lemon peel oil. It also smells great, but it didn’t attract any bugs, which was awesome given that it’s gotten super hot out here, and the bugs are in full force.

Overall, what I liked about Blinded by the White:

  • It’s all natural and doesn’t contain any harsh chemicals which is great especially because white coats tend to have sensitive pink skin underneath.
  • It smells yummy, but it doesn’t attract bugs.
  • When I rinsed L’s legs, I could see the stains coming off as the water was not clear when I was rinsing.
  • It did remove most of the stains, and his legs were pretty blindingly white after they had dried.
  • It was easy to use. Just pump some into your hands, lather, and scrub into any white areas on your horse’s body.

As for negatives:

  • I felt like I had to use A LOT of the product to make sure that all of the white was fully covered, so if I used this often enough, I would end up having to restock pretty often, but I guess that’s the downside in owning a horse that has significant white markings (imagine if I owned an all white or grey horse?!)

I plan on trying Blinded by the White on my pony’s poopy butt. If you remember, I used the EcoLicious Equestrian Waterless Shampoo on him earlier this year when it was still too cold for a full bath, and it really helped get most of the manure stains out. I can’t wait to see how his poopy butt responds to a full EcoLicious bath plus the whitening treatment. I will be sure to post photos.

If you haven’t checked out EcoLicious Equestrian’s products already, get on over to their website! Their products are all natural and smell great. They are also really effective. They even have stuff for us humans – try their lip silk, it smells amazing and keeps my lips from getting chapped when I ride.