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There’s a Horse Hack For That… 18 Tips For the Barn, Show, and Tack Room

Filed under: Featured,The Buzz |     

bandbuttonfixBy: Brittany Bevis

Most people are familiar with the phrase Life Hack. But in case you’re a bit behind on your popular culture terminology, this word can easily be defined as a “tip, trick, or easy solution to a common problem, or method of improving upon an already existing idea.”

There are life hacks for the home- rub a walnut on scratched wooden furniture and the scratch will disappear. There are life hacks for your electronics- dropped your phone in water? Place it in a sealed bag of rice for 24 hours to help remove moisture. There are life hacks for your beauty routine- rescue a dried up tube of mascara by placing it in a mug of boiling water.

We’ve scoured the Internet to compile a list of the best Horse Hacks we could find and added a few original ideas…. What are your favorite Horse Hacks? Share them with us by emailing and we’ll compile reader responses.

In the Tack Room

#1- Use sandpaper tape on the inside of slick wooden stirrups– The base of those fancy wooden stirrups on your show saddle can be very slick, resulting in boot slippage. Sandpaper tape from your local hardware store provides a quick fix. Simply cut a piece to fit inside the bottom of your stirrup for extra gripping power. Never seen sandpaper tape before? It provides a similar gritty texture as the top of a skateboard.

#2- Olive oil for scratches on leather– Scared of darkening your expensive saddle, but desperate to get rid of an unsightly scratch? Use a bit of olive oil to help restore natural oils.

#3- Velcro strips for keeping track of splint boots– Need a better storage system for keeping track of splint boots and bell boots? Use velcro tape on a tack room wall to keep the pairs together.

At the Barn

#4- Electrical tape on buckets- Wrap a piece of electrical tape around the metal hooks of a bucket to prevent your horse’s tail from getting wrapped around, tangled, and possibly pulled out.

#5- Multi colored Duct Tape- There are many uses of brightly colored Duct Tape. Mark grooming tools for each horse with a different color. Mark distances for beginning riders on Trail poles or use to create perfect stripes on jump poles.

#6- Black and colored zip ties- Black zip ties are great for hanging fans at the horse show or hanging a tail extension. They can also be used for extra insurance that your bit will stay attached to your show headstall. If you have a western headstall that has a silver ball and leather hole attachment as opposed to one that connects with a screw, simply wrap a zip tie around the base of the ball and pull tight before snipping off the end. Also, colored zip ties can be used to identify horse gear.

#7- Diapers for hoof poultices- With their stretchy sides and gauzy interior, disposable diapers make perfect hoof poultices.

Flashlight shortcut

Home screen flashlight shortcut for iPhone

At the Show-

#8- Flashlight shortcut– Inevitably, the light in your trailer dressing room will die. If you have an iPhone, slide your finger in an upward swipe on the home screen to easily reach your flashlight, calculator, and camera.

#9- Boom Bucket- Place an iPod or iPhone inside an empty feed bucket to create an instant speaker that can amplify sound by 2X! Just make sure you remove the electronics before using the bucket for feed or water…

#10- Temporary closet for horse shows- To protect your beautiful show clothes from the dust and dirt that can accumulate in horse show tack rooms, invest in an easy-to-assemble plastic storage closet. The set up typically includes the plastic cover, a few poles, a bar, and connectors, that easily fit in one box. Perfect for quick assembly and take down at shows.

chaps#11- Nail file for stain removal– GENTLY use a nail file or fine emory board to remove small stains on ultra suede or rough out chaps.

#12- Mane band for too tight show shirts– Does your cowboy have a favorite show shirt but the collar is a bit small? Instead of cutting off his airway trying to close a too-tight collar by buttoning, use a mane band for an adjustable closure. Attach the band around one side of the button, twist a time or two to adjust the length, then slide through button hole, and hook back around the button. The tie will cover up the rubber band. Voila!

#13- Pool noodle boot stays– A pool noodle cut in half makes inexpensive boot trees for tall english boots

#14- Electrical tape for a quick tack fix– Electrical tape can serve as a quick fix when the buckle on your english reins breaks or a last-minute solution when the zipper on your english boots won’t close. Put a small piece on the back of your show number, where the safety pins go through, to help prevent rips and tears at multi-day shows.

Portable plastic horse show closet

Portable plastic horse show closet

#15- Permanent marker– Lost your show number? Quickly create a replacement on the back of an old number with a black permanent marker.

#16- Detangler to eliminate clipper lines – After you bathe your horse, rub Show Sheen or a similar detangler on his legs before the hair dries. It will help the clipper blades slide right through and help eliminate those annoying blade lines.

#17- Don’t rinse conditioner out of a mare’s tail– Use about half the amount of conditioner you would normally use on your mare’s tail. Then, don’t wash it out. Leave it in and just tie up in knots or braid. The coating will help urine slide right off.

#18- Head lamp for late night banding– Use a head lamp for banding or branding horses in dimly lit stalls. Also, a gardening apron with multiple pockets is great for holding bags of bands, scissors, yarn, and spray.

Remember to share your favorite horse hacks with us by emailing




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