HI Spy: Share Your Favorite Horsey Item for Under $20

What is your favorite horse item under $20?

If the current price of hay is giving you sticker shock, you can resuscitate your barn budget by saving pennies elsewhere. Some great items can be found for under $20. At least that’s what we discovered when we asked some horse owners to share their favorite penny-pinching purchases.

Gaye McCullough of New York enjoys grooming her horses and finds that Baby Wipes, Wet Ones or just about any pre-packaged, moistened towelettes come in handy for wiping off a horse’s face, cleaning up a superficial wound and sprucing up dusty tack.
Denise Roberts of Georgia can’t do without her sheepskin mitt. “You can get them in the auto parts section of any discount store like Target or Wal-Mart,” she says. She uses them primarily for applying fly spray around her horses’ eyes and ears.
Another one of her must-have items for under $20? “My 100-foot measuring tape,” she says. Roberts uses it regularly to measure off distances between jumps. “It lives in my arena,” she says.
When it comes to inexpensive items designed just for the horse person, Wendy Ward of Idaho offered that, “Gloves are my favorite must-have item.” Since she deals with frigid winter weather, Ward shops for affordable brands so she can stuff a pair in the pocket of every barn jacket.
Louise Donovan of California says her state’s warm, sunny weather influences her choice: colorful ball caps. “As much as I enjoy wearing a cap emblazoned with a snazzy brand name above the brim, I can buy a plain cap for a few dollars at the drug store, take it to the local embroidery shop, and have any horsey design put on it for another couple of dollars. Then I can afford to have one in every color.”
Socks—and plenty of them—keep Taylor Compton of Tennessee at the bargain bin. “Can we ever have enough boot socks? If I can buy them in multi-packs to save a few bucks, I’m thrilled!”
Buying in bulk is always on the mind of California-resident Marie Jones. “I don’t think I’ve bought a pair of bell boots that costs more than $10 or $12. Why bother? My horse rips them off or eats them every couple of days. At the lower price I can buy several pair at a time.”
Can you add to this list of bargains to use around the barn? Have you discovered something indispensable for under $20? Click on “submit a comment” below. Select answers will appear in a future issue of Horse Illustrated magazine!

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  1. On-sale saddle pads!! If you can find some colorful ones on sale, you can buy a couple!! I love saddle pads, they just brighten up your day!!
    Or carrots, peppermints, or sugar cubes! I think a happy horse is priceless, and cheap grocery-store treats work just as well as those expensive, gourmet cookies!

  2. Well if your on a budget and you don’t want to buy 2 seperate helmets (one for schooling and one for shows)you can buy an inexpensive black helmet cover to put on your schooling helmet. There are also quite a few colorful helmet covers available.

  3. I cannot imagine life without a package of those little mane braiding bands. The colorful ones are fun to use. They’re only a few dollars and help my horse’s mane look great.

  4. I buy cheap horse treats like bags of peppermints or sugar cookies or just carrots. The price of horse treats is ridiculous and my horse isn’t looking at the price tag. He just wants something that tastes good!

  5. I look at local thrift stores for show clothes. Sometimes some sequins and an hour of time makes a huge expensive looking rail or showmanship shirt, that maybe cost $2.00. I am always on the lookout for black dress pants as well, they work great for showmanship, and for $1.00 you can’t beat the price!

  6. I bought a toilet scrubber at Target in the dollar bin a few months ago. I use it to scrub my mare’s water bucket, especially in the summer months when it is very dusty and flies and bugs get in the water. I think she appreciates the extra effort!

  7. I always buy my fly spray, shampoo and conditioner, sponges and the brushes for there manes tail all at walm mart. I get everything put together there for less than $15. I also get my saddles and show clothes on consinment then bargain for a cheaper price, so I always get everything half off from it already being half off!!

  8. Being on a budget right out of college, I find a lot of items on Ebay for cheap. I have bought blankets for $3.00, a brand new SHOW helmet for $25.00!!, a halter for $3.00 and sooo much more. Its great too when you can buy a lot of things at once to save on shipping!!

  9. I like “Zocks”, tall colorful socks that you wear over your riding pants that make it easier to get your boots on and off. They come in tons of different patterns, and they are only around 8$ for a pair!

  10. I think a lot of stuff made just for horses is expensive. So I buy cheap human hair conditioner for manes and tails (any kind works great) and little 98 cent trial sized bottles of hair styling gel for braiding manes and tails. Another thing is a coffee bean grinder. I got mine at Walmart (or Target) and it was cheap and it’s great to have in the tack room for grinding up horse pills like Bute or antibiotics into powder. Then I just sprinkle it on my horse’s grain and he eats it fine.

  11. Vitamin E oil – You can get it at the drug store for less than $5 and there is nothing better for the little scrapes and dings that take the hair off but don’t break the skin. I speeds the healing and hair comes back it’s normal color. I suggest it to all the new horse owners I meet.

  12. I can think of a lot of things that cost under $20 that I can’t live without. Sweat scrapers, hoof picks, bath sponges (for my horse), fly traps, riding crop, spur straps, a bottle of liquid tack cleaner, a tube of de-wormer and the very important tail bag.

  13. I couldn’t live with out bailing twine. It is such a usfull thing to have around and guess what? It comes with your hay bales so you can always have some around. I have found that it can be used for a small make-shift lead rope or for quick fixing some tack so that you can keep enjoying riding even though you don’t have the right part for your saddle or briddle. in my opinion Bailing twin is like duct tape with it’s 101 usages.

  14. At the ranch that I used to ride at, they used a metal hanger as a humane twitch. You can recycle, reuse, and save money with that idea!

  15. There’s a list I keep of things that I can get at any old store for my horse. For instance, I like using liquid laundry detergent like Era or Tide or whatever happens to be on sale as shampoo. The bluing in it works great as a whitener, and it leaves manes and tails soft and shiny! If you’re one of those people who likes a horse that smells good, Suave has both shampoos and conditioners in a bunch of different scents, made for but not limited to humans.
    Another thing I like to do is grocery store supplementing. Corn oil works just like any feed-through Sho-Glo or whatever they call it, making the horse sleek and shiny, and garlic powder is like feed-through fly control. No, it doesn’t completely wipe out fly populations or anything, but it’s a little something.
    One last thing I’ll mention is the combination of mouthwash and baby oil. Insted of spending $12 on a 6oz. bottle of MTG to fight rain rot and other fungus-like things (so scientific, I know), shake up a combination of mouthwash and baby oil in a bottle and spray away.
    Just a note, I do NOT take credit for figuring any of this out- my older friends told me about it.

  16. buying a cheap hoof pick,brush, and any other grooming suply that i need for every horse each having a different color that way you dont spread and coat or hoof irratants from horse to horse

  17. show sheen! it’s the best you can use it at shows or around the barn, it works great at making your horse look shiny and making it’s coat healthy it also detangles and shines hair. i use it everyday

  18. my favorite horsie item would have to be teats. the good ‘ol berry treats. my horse loves them too, and they are olny 5 dollars! thats a pretty good deal! (my horse Dayzi will bow for them she loves them so much!!)

  19. Buying cheap brushes or buying it in a package. the bst place to buy new stuff at affordable prices is Greenhawk. but my favourite horse thing under $20 is treats … you cn NEVER have too many. lol

  20. i have to have the pony pops to keep my horse’s happily occupied on those rainy days when the turn out turns to mud! they hang on a piece of rope and last for days. my horses are obsessed with them.

  21. mine would have to be those super thin summer riding socks. those really save my feet at shows!! and of course brushes, you can never have the perfect brush!

  22. If you shop at Charlotte’s Saddlery, I do, I can buy a bucket to hold all of my grooming supplies, an awesome colored dandy brush, a cool hoof pick, a curry comb, sweat scrapper, and a bag of mints! I like to call it my Extra Super-Dooper Grooming Kit. TA-DAH!

  23. Make your own cavalettis with milk jugs and PVC pipes:
    Wash out 2 one-gallon size milk jugs and cut a hole in the side about a half inch larger than the width of your PVC pipe. I get 2 inch PVC pipes for around $4 each. once you are ready to set them up, put a rock in the bottom of each milk jug so they don’t tip over and put the ends of the pole inside the jugs and you have your own makeshift cavaletti!

  24. Well my 3 horses were free but some things under $20… fly spray, treats, saddle soap, towels. I always go through the consignment area at my local supply shop. I got 3 blankets (2 turn-outs and a stable) for under $110 and one was brand new, tried on the night before and didn’t fit the pony. Snatched that up for half the price and didn’t have to pay shipping. But brushes and other grooming supplies are always great too.

  25. Hmmm…that rules out my chaps, helmet, boots, gloves, and breyers…but not so much my saddle! My Grandma gave it to me since she doesn’t have horses anymore, and I ride. And amazingly, the tree was intact! I love that saddle so much! I bought some stirrups and leathers on ebay for it, and really want to try it out! But I don’t ride often :`( so I haven’t used the stirrups or leathers.

  26. Definatley my 75% off SSG Digital gloves. Sooo comfortable, grippy, modern, and classic at the same time! My super indistructable hoofpick, All of my Beval grooming supplies that I got for 50% off each, mollasses squares for my gelding, and Tack cleaners and conditioners.

  27. Gloves. I have two awesome pair of winter gloves that work wonders right now during the cold months. The thicker pair were 10$ and the other thinner grippy ones were only 12$ And I HATE gloves. But these, I LOVE these gloves, they have saved my hands from cold and chapping winds.

  28. I LOVE cool calaries 100 made by Smart Pak. They put weight on my big QH gelding easily and added a shine to his coat. He is the pickiest eater I’ve ever encountered, often not touching his feed if there is even the smell of a supplement. He eats cool calaries right up! And they are even labeled and measured when delievered! Try them.. smartpakwestern.com.. $20 in all! Worth all of it!

  29. If you want to make an inexpensive tack trunk for under $20 then buy one of those huge plastic containers. They look like small bathtubs and have a lid that locks on. You can attach large pencil bags to the inside through the gromet holes on the bag to hold medicing, grooming supplies,and dewormer. Then you can put a square wooden bar nailed ti the inside with nails, to hold your saddle. This all only costs about $25 if you have to buy everything but if you dont its practiclay free. ALSO I HAVE ONLY TRIED THIS WITH ENGLISH SADDLES!!! Western saddles are heavier and might not fit in the box. Hope this helps

  30. It has got to be hand warmers! They are not really a horsey product, but they sure do come in handy for really cold ride or work days at the barn in the winter! I like to stick them in my boots just a few minutes before I put them on. It really helps!

  31. Mane n’ Tail detangler spray! The little bottles only cost about $2, it lasts me a while, and it makes my horse’s tail so much easier to comb through.

  32. my lunging strap. They are usually less than 10$ and it makes all the difference when lunging your horse with a bridle on. The bit doesn’t pull through their mouths and the pressure is exerted evenly over both sides of their head.

  33. ZOCKS!!!! I love the ZOCKS riding socks it is so fun to collect all the different colors and patterns. They are really comfortable and keep you cool in the summer.


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