What’s at the Bottom of Your Tack Box?


    What's at the bottom of your tack box?
    It’s winter. Chances are your horse is hairy and your show clothes are stowed in a garment bag. But you can revisit those lazy, hazy days of riding on a sun-drenched trail or competing on the show circuit by simply delving inside your tack box. Rummage down to the bottom and you’ll probably find mementoes from last summer’s horse show. Or perhaps you’ll come across a halter nameplate that bears the name of a former horse. Then again, in the deep recesses of your tack box you might also discover something remarkable: that long lost missing glove, a mummified carrot or a set of tack room keys that, oddly enough, no longer unlocks the tack room door.

    Corinne Dekker of California sneaked a peek into the bottom of her tack box and unearthed, “a can of Diet Coke that was so old I wondered if it was still good.” She also found “two sets of clippers that I’ve never seen before and have no idea how they got there.”

    Another West Coast rider, Jill-Marie Jones, revealed “the other half of a doughnut and a spilled bottle of boot polish.”

    Georgia resident Denice Klinger searched through her tack box and shares that she counted “about 236 hairnets.” An avid hunt-seat competitor, she explains, “Each one was used exactly once, and then dropped on the top tray of the tack box, where they fell down into some dark abyss, never to be seen again.” Of course, a hunt-seat rider can never have enough hairnets, so the Mystery of the Missing Hairnets forced Denice to buy more. And more. And more.

    “The last time I ventured there,” Jennifer Price of Texas says, referring to the bottom of her tack box, “it was occupied by several old, green, fuzzy-with-mold pieces of leather that at some point in time appeared to have been flash nosebands, cheekpieces and headstalls.”

    Erin Harty of Maryland reveals that her penchant for never tossing anything out that might potentially be useful may have its drawbacks. Scrounging through her tack box can be scary. “When I get down to the layer of kid and pony-sized stuff, I know I’ve dug too deeply into the tack box and retreat to safety.”

    Now it’s your turn. Look inside your tack box, past the nice brushes, the shiny hoof picks and the neatly rolled leg wraps. Then tell us what you discover by clicking on “submit a comment” below. We may feature some of the responses in an upcoming issue of Horse Illustrated magazine. So be brave. Flip open the lid of your tack box and start digging!


    1. A silver wishbone. 563 empty water bottles. The aforementioned keys that open nothing but I keep because you never know. A hatchet?!

    2. My tack box gets cleaned out every year after show season. We have one homemade cabinet with shelves on each horses stall -or close to it depending on if the box chould be put on their stall or not- with a name plate on it so we know what horse’s box it is that holds all their brushes, treats, rags, polos and what ever else you want to put in it. I also have two extra bins though that hold extra polos, horse boots, my gal’s sleazy, my show saddle pads and my eventing vest. My other bin holds extra practice saddle pads. All of my gal’s blankets are on blanket racks near her stall, and all her extra halters and leads are on a halter hook on the outside of her cabinet. It helps keep things a lot easier to find. Although I must admit during show season we have found a lost pair of keys, extra sets of gloves and lots of hay pieces.

    3. well i don’t have a box,we keep all our tack in a corner. but because we have a lot of tack, a lot of it gets buried someplace. when i finally started cleaing out our tack corner,i found three OLD decaying halters, a 12 inch cinch from some of our old ponies, and of course rusted bits. not to mention about 15 hoof picks(so thats where they went), a whole bunch of brushes, and a lot of leather ties, latigoes, and old bridle peices

    4. I found A leaking bottle of hoof black, a mane comb I haven’t seen in a long time, A tooth brush(I had used to clean tack) and some braiding elastics!!!!!

    5. I found A leaking bottle of hoof black, a mane comb I haven’t seen in a long time, A tooth brush(I had used to clean tack) and some braiding elastics!!!!!

    6. I found A leaking bottle of hoof black, a mane comb I haven’t seen in a long time, A tooth brush(I had used to clean tack) and some braiding elastics!!!!!

    7. I found a collection of old horse shoes, gloves, a bottle of hoof polish, and horse hair from my brush. I must have had ten horse shoes in there… that explained why my tack box was so heavy!

    8. I don’t have a horse, but I do have friends who have horses, and some of the stuff in their tack boxes are unbelieveable. I once found a cup of Starbuck’s coffee, a Krispy Kreme doughnut and a daily newspaper in the bottom of someone’s tack box while I was looking for a hoofpick. The newspaper was dated July 12th, 2003. Eww!

    9. the only thing unexpected i have found in my tack trunk is newborn mice….fingernail size, red, no hair and it smelled horrible 🙁 i still to this day don’t know how they got in there bc i keep my box sealed under lock and key….

    10. I went digging in my tack box and discovered I own enough shampoos to wash an army of horses, and enough bridle “pieces” to put together four mis-matched bridles!

    11. This is funny! I have parts of bridles in the bottom of my tack box. Not a whole bridle, and the pieces don’t match, but just parts. And a pile of horse cookie crumbs.

    12. I’m a neat freak, so MY tack box is clean. But my trainer looked through her tack trunk and at the very bottom discovered my mother’s camera that we all figured had been lost at a horse show almost three years ago!

    13. old peices of leather, a broken english bridle which i am saving for parts, lord only knows why and some hair nets. Time for spring cleaning i guess LOL

    14. Dare I even say (shudders) well, enough horse hair to cover an entire flock of ponies, a pair of aluminum horse shoes, not even out of the package!! (by the way, my father is a farrier, so those came to the show with us for safety) My horses broken halter (never know when you might need it!) My medium ponies halter fuzzies (those bring back memories) about two table spoons of Cowboy Majic Green Spot remover in a bottle, two full bottles of blueing shampoo (do I mention that those are 2 years old? I have a dark bay now!) gloves with holes in the fingers, very VERY stinky hairnets, 5 new packaged hairnets, a few dirty towels, and lots lots more! 😀 Do i mention the strange brown goo??

    15. Oh my goodness. Where do I start? Well – I’ve found novels that I was supposed to return to school, bits of homework, old pens, old ointments, a puddle of hoof dressing, Vetrap, torn polo wraps, a moldy halter, a martingale from my hunter days, a brush I lost ten years ago, a contact lens case (so that’s where THAT went!), a stack of photos, random cotton stuffing, and a torn shipping quilt. Oh, and let’s not forget when I didn’t see a cat in my tack box and accidentally locked her in. She peed on my polo wraps, my shipping wraps, my shipping quilts, my saddle pads, my grooming supplies, and my ancient jacket. I had to wash EVERYTHING. It smelled rancid for days.

    16. I found ALOT! A pic of my mini who recently died, $50, Some screws & bridle repair stuff, A few ribbons I was missing, & a small cable halter for my mini! I was missing all this.. It was under several of my horses fly sheets, & blakents! Thanks for havign this article! =]

    17. I found a dead rat at the bottom of my tack locker! I was sooo scared! I was going to scream, but I didn’t want to scare any horses. My dad picked it up with plyers and it didn’t move!

    18. thats funny! a friend of mine found a lost shirt. of course it’s old ,dirty, wrinkly, and probably doesn’t fit now!!!

    19. As I was rummaging through my thirteen some tackboxes (ok, I exaggerate), I found over $150 in money that was won in stakes classes, an actually mummified rat (apparently being squished in the bottom of a rubbermaid tackbox underneath layers of blankets and misc. tack does wonders for preservation), and an old picture of my first pony!

    20. I found lots of things that were useful. A tube of wormer that I won at a horse show, gloves that turnedmoldy, a few halters, some ropes and lead ropes, about 20 good brand new snaps, the good hole punch, a brush that got thrown in there instead of the brush box, some mints that liquefied, some horse treats that went mushy, a whole ball of yarn for braiding that entangled itself into everything and a random puddle of greenish-brownish goo that I have no clue what would have caused it.

    21. Well, a tennis ball (those dogs at the barn are very sneaky lol) a plastic easter egg from our barn easter egg hunt, candy, a slimy pink liquid, HORSE HAIR and lots of it, an empty box of horse treats, a people hair brush, lots of gloves, a helmet cover with who knows what on it, my missing list of what I had in my tack box lol, and you dont even wanna know. Lol that pretty much covers it.

    22. well lots in my box but our barn has a person who if you are missing something you go to her box oddly enough what ever is missing will be there! not because she steals but because she borrows and forgets!

    23. I found: a mane band, a pelham chain, a tail wrap, a blanket legstrap, a long-lost hoof-pick, three old bottles of sheen spray, a lead-rope clip, a filthy sponge, a missing jar of saddle-soap, a food scoop, a roll of vetrap, 2 empty packets of horse treats, a browband, a crupper and a lot of lucerne chaff.

    24. Last week when going to clean out my tack box, I found the set of car keys I had lost a couple months ago…and had to pay a rather embarrassing amount to have re-cut! Oops!

    25. Ugh! My ‘Horse’ tack box was my father’s old ‘cattle’show box from back in the 70’s!! I try not to think what is all in there!! But this article has given me the courage to clean it out completely! Last look I found an old cattle halter and a set of blue coveralls that would fit my day back in the day!! Who knows what I’ll find…wish me luck and if I don’t return send reinforcements!! LOL

    26. horse hair, gloves, lots of scissors, three hoofpicks, multiple peppermints, braiding bands everywhere, and lots of other stuff thrown in there.

    27. A vary scary place. few vencher there. omong newmeris idoms of unsertin oragin lay in a grave of dirt and hair. 4 or 5 hoof picks, hopelessly intangled lung lines, a forgotton brow band, and of corse that long lost glove devoid of a partner. Fingers dare not dig to deep in fear of finding a hairy warm body. no hoof pick is worth that.

    28. Ewwwwwwww. A DEAD FROG! I do not know how that got in there! Alot of Mints from SONIC! LOL And goey old leaking shampoo. Gross, i found the horror. Thank you very much HC.com!

    29. I have alot of gross shampoo, flyspray and old gooey stuff in the bottom along with mints, hairnets, pony tail holders, and alot of other things.

    30. oh dear. the tack box. when [at last] you reach the bottom, there is hair everywhere! as well as loose rubber bands, a bit [i have no idea why that’s there] a screwdriver, and some essence of leftover berry goods. =]

    31. A lot of dirt. Plus old rags, fly-spry goo, and Hoof Heal ick. Horse hair, because my pony sheds A LOT! And random brushes that are worn out so I don’t even use them any more.

    32. i found fuzz moldy treats, a rat catcher, hairnets, pony tail holders, rubber bands, old show schedules, my new show schedule, and like 5 crops! lol. disgusting!

    33. Rotton apples, old treats, a crappy girth, sticky notes, a leaky bottle of hoofblack, and the halter my horse had on when I bought him.:)

    34. I seem to have found my oats as they are all now floating in the bottom of my tack box. Just floating in molasses!

    35. OMG!I cantt believe some of the things peopl find in thier tack boxes like dead mice, ewwwww!!There are actually a multiple of things in mine.For example old pepparmints that my horse use to eat.Lots of old feed, old ripped dirty fly masks, lead rope clips,empty hornet killing spray bottles, LOTS and LOTS and LOTS of dust and horse hair!!:D

    36. My tack box is interesting…. I had to clean it out for a show, and I found first crunched up peppermints, a removable helmet visor that I had lost, a very old horseback sock that had once been my favorite, and a ripped show hairnet. I was surprised, and once I dug through the pockets on the sides I found a rotten carrot (gross!), a braclet, a packet of blush that I used to use for shows and a couple of bobby pens (I was unfortante enough to accidently poke myself with the bobby pens!). And that was just in my tack trunk, wait until I clean out my horseback locker!

    37. I was scared to look at the bottom of my tack box. I found a couple dressage tests, some instructions on how to braid a mane, a hoof pick, a piece of broken crop, garters, and rubber bands that spilled out of the bag.

    38. I’m scared to look in my tack box… Lets see what we have here… hmm… we have some hair of many colours, but my horse is black. theres some horse treats, better give those to my horse, and theres alot of odds and ends. Oh theres my lost glove that i have been looking for forever!

    39. I really try to keep my show trunk clean- you know how things can get pricey and I don’t want my nice Beval wood trunk getting messed up. But my old barn one is a tank- thick wood and at least forty years old- it was my mom’s. In there there are loose molasses squares, bits, horse brushes covered in bay hair,leather care, and tack-to be repaired. (Yeah, I’m going to get to that broken bridle snap in the next five years or so =) ) I love that trunk and sometimes I think that old quality woodwork is nicer than the modern ones!

    40. In the bottom of my tack box!!? I’m not sure I want to find out…lets have a look…There is a lot of dirt and hay…these gloves don’t fit me any more…Oh, that’s the UW hat that I “borrowed” form my dad…Some frozen leather treatment…I wonder how old this thrush buster is?

    41. at the bottom of my tack truck there is alot of things like, old gloves, a couple carrots, lots of dirt, a picture of me and my gelding at our first show, an extra t-shirt and a hoof pick!

    42. An assortment of essentials! Hot cocoa packets, Cup Noodles, hand warmers, sponges, bits, hairnets, and brushes… just to name a few.

    43. One time i found a fuzzy sock at the bottom of my tack box. But i alway seem to find coins, pessos, and the occasional dollar coin. other than loose change i also find old pop tarts and hair bands.

    44. A mane clipping, from each and every horse I’ve ever had, (good ones, and not so good ones) Its fun to go back through them and relive a little bit of each horse in my past.

    45. My tack box is a bottomless hole! I’ve been showing for years, and never found the time to clean it out. Here’s what I found: a green apple with a hoof pick stuck through the middle, 4 pencils, a dusting of dog treats stuck in a spilled bottle of shampoo, a mane comb, 2 unmatching gloves, and a horse shoe! I remember that when I was little(er) my riding instructor gave me that shoe for good luck at my first show! Now I’m riding the same horse as I did in that show, but he is mine now!


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