For the Horse:
I use baby wipes for ear crud, general face clean-up and they are also great for hand cleaning without damaging my skin like a Lysol wipe would! I make sure to get the unscented ones so I have a non-irritating disposable clean up cloth. They are also amazing for cleaning matte helmets (also, windex is great for removing grease marks!). They’re also good for cleaning up a post-walkie poopy dog butt, which is the original reason I was in possession of many packages of baby wipes.
Amazon Basics Microfiber Cloths
I worked at Starbucks for something like 4 years and ever since I’ve been obsessed with using microfibers rags for kitchen clean-up. I’m somewhat of a clean freak and going through two rolls of paper towels a week is just not viable. After getting back into horses, I realized how useful having a catch-all cloth around can be. Horse snot? Got it. Extra mud on legs? Wipe it up. Horse sensitive on the face? Groom with the cloth. As a person who meticulously washes their hands ten times a day, being at the barn can drive me crazy if I don’t have a place to wipe my hands too, so I make sure to always have a cloth on hand. The Amazon basics brand are well priced, super soft, wash nicely and last a long time. (pictured below in blue)
Witch Hazel is not just a common human skincare option, but is also touted for horse use. It’s been recommended as a homemade liniment or to cut a pre-made liniment without compromising effectiveness. It’s said to relive itchiness and help remove stains. Opinions vary, but it’s not recommended for internal use so I would avoid use on wounds though it does have a disinfecting nature, which still makes good for preventing fungus issues.
These soup containers found on Amazon are the perfect size for prepping supplements, either for your home feeding schedule or taking on the road. I know a lot of people like the convenience of SmartPaks but not the price or the waste, and having your own reuseable containers can improve efficiency and reduce your guilt! And hopefully make your barn owner’s job easier in the process.
For Your Stuff:
If you’re really into monograms like me, or really into keeping your stuff yours, some vinyl labels might be for you. These can be applied to any non-porous surface, some ideas: feed buckets, brushes, hoof pick, wash buckets, your plastic/blanket trunk, helmet, horse boots, crops, phone, water bottle, coffee cup, trailer, car, golf cart, your dog, your horse, anything, everything. They’re not reusable, but they are long-lasting and should be non-damaging. Be sure to clean with Windex prior to application.
I know guns and leather sound like an odd cross of hobbies, but when I first got my saddle and did “extensive” research… on COTH forums, I found that some of the top leather cleaning experts recommended sheepskin over tack cleaning sponges. The specific type of sheepskin needed is rarely found except sold as gun cleaning cloth, so no, you won’t be using your sheepskin rugs. I find that the sheepskin picks up dirt or dust on the saddle but does not hold the dirt at the ends of the hairs, so either when applying conditioner or just dusting your saddle, you’re not scraping the dirt over the leather like you might if you had a sponge or cloth. The sheepskin can also be cut down into much smaller pieces to separate for general cleaning, conditioning and deep cleaning. I usually cut one piece into about 9 pieces.
If you have a saddle pad (or overall horse-accessory) problem like I do, you likely need some storage for your items besides your trunk and your car and your garage and your dining table. My favorite simple purchase is my wreath storage bag, perfectly sized for laying saddle pads flat. They’re perfect for under bed storage, and the handles offer easy access so I’m not digging around under there. I found some other, more structured options like this one or this one if your collection exceeds mine.
Whether you need a lightweight trunk for travelling, or some blanket storage if your horse’s stall front is not protected from the weather, the Container Store has some awesome options. Many people opt for Husky or Stanley trunks, but I always thought the non-flat lid would bug me. This one looks like it would be nice to sit on and sturdy enough to stand on. I don’t know why you’d be standing on it but I digress.
I’d be a little unsure about leaving saddle at showgrounds after the theft fiascos at Thermal and WEF, so toting your saddle around in your car has become somewhat necessary. Anticipating my future off-property shows, I recently attempted to order a Stubbs Saddle Mate and got so much flack from my husband (because I can just lay it down like I’ve been doing for the past two years, right?) that I cancelled the order. Around the same time, I saw a post for a similar product on the Sporthorse Apothecary Facebook feed. It just happened to be a garbage can. I found mine at a Target for $10, and it works perfectly! I back in into a corner of my car’s trunk so it doesn’t move around when holding my saddle, but when not in use, I keep extra horse treats, towels for when I get my car washed and my extra reusable grocery bags! For the price and utility, I would HIGHLY recommend.
I use OxiClean in most of my loads of laundry, but on top of that, it is incredible to use on gross, stinky gloves. I dissolve a tiny scoop (of the powdered form) in a large bowl of hot water and just let them sit. See the left picture for the amount of dirt and nastiness that comes out after a few minutes of soaking. Rinse well and the gloves are good as new. Nothing else I’ve tried, especially not putting them in my regular laundry, works. OxiClean is also super effective at getting dirt stains out of my saddle pads and prized white polos.
Sterilite Latch Boxes
THESE BOXES ARE INCREDIBLE. Storage for everything. The tiny ones hold my extra spurs. I have a box for extra reins, my martingale and bits. There’s a larger box that I keep my clippers and accessories in. The largest box I keep open at the bottom of my trunk for boots so the dirty ones don’t get everything else sandy. One box holds a set of my favorite polos organized. I also have a ton of these boxes around my apartment, some for skincare products, important papers, my leather cleaning stuff. KonMari-ing my life did not save money on the storage box front.
I make sure to keep a few common sense items in my trunk just for extra preparedness: sunscreen, deodorant, extra scarf or vest, spare belt and boot socks, checkbook (which I recently learned is v. important), sharpie, phone holster, etc.
If I came off prepper-level crazy about always having what I need at hand, it’s because I am.
Thank you for reading and hoped you got some good ideas on how to save money on non-equestrian branded items!