Favorite Things – 2022 Version
Back in 2019, I wrote a post referencing “These are a few of my favorite things”, paying homage to The Sound of Music, usually broadcasted around the Christmas season. We have found that people look forward to these posts that tell a little bit more about certain products that have caught our attention (and our hearts) over the year. Here is our list this year:
We were introduced to Mane-ly Long Hair products through FEI driver Jennifer Thompson, who found out about them through her trainer, Thorsten Zarembowicz (or really his wife, Allison). After we got the products in, many customers would tell us that, “If you like Cowboy Magic, you haven’t tried Mane-ly!” Their Shock Treatment, which is a 50/50 mixture of their conditioner and detangler, is phenomenal at removing tangles, burrs, twists, etc. while leaving the hair soft and hydrated. The shampoo is concentrated enough that you don’t need a ton and it rinses squeaky clean without leaving a greasy residue. The conditioner itself also helps the twists fall apart in your hands. How do I know this? Mostly because we use it on ourselves! When Chad and I were dating, he actually told me that my hair was like straw (and ironically, I still married him!). Now that we use Mane-ly, he says my hair is the softest it's ever been (what a nice guy!). We also use Mane-ly on our Standard Poodles. The Hydrate 24 diluted conditioner is fantastic for spraying on the dogs with the Hydrosol bottle before an outing to leave them soft and fresh. The Hydrate 24 also repels dirt when sprayed on the horse’s coats, and you can use it in the winter because it is a leave-in conditioner. After you have used Mane-ly, you will see a real difference in the quality of your horse’s coat, and thickness of their mane and tail.
There is just something about sparkles that make you smile, and our brooches, earrings, and magnetic number pins provide that feeling. This fall, I was "accused" of stealing the Queen’s brooch collection after she passed away! The magnetic number pins came with names, but the brooches didn’t. I had fun looking at each style and creating an appropriate name to match. Carriage drivers tend to use number holders for their show numbers, but there are some people who cross over into the riding arena. I wish that I would have had magnetic number pins for my show shirts and coats when I was riding. They aren't ugly and don’t put holes in your clothes like boring safety pins do. And with their cute, magnetic closure box & at around $20, they make a great gift! So, come on Grandma! Get that young equestrian in your life some cool magnetic number pins for her show shirt, or a brooch for her (or your) carriage driving coat!
The wearing of equestrian helmets is becoming more accepted and even required in some competitions and events. For carriage drivers used to wearing fashionable hats, helmets can seem a bit plain and boring. We started making these helmet fascinators for our young drivers who are required to wear helmets. Adults have started to wear them, too, as they become more safety conscious. They are just that little something tasteful and elegant to dress up a helmet without being over the top. And at $14.95, they are a reasonable accoutrement to your turnout.
I know I mentioned Ledo whips last year, but we have sold a lot of Ledo whips this year! For years, people have asked for a well-balanced whip that didn’t cost a lot. You could either get a well-balanced, lightweight whip, or you could get an inexpensive whip, but not in the same product. Ledo has fulfilled that niche. They aren’t well-known in the states, however, we had a customer from Belgium perusing the store at an event. When he found the Ledo whips, he exclaimed excitedly, “You have Ledo whips? In Europe, they are the good ones!” We are the North American distributer of Ledo whips, and we have a stock supply in Canada since it is a challenge to get whips across the border now with the new regulations.
Packaged as Effax Boot Miracle, the name is a little deceiving for carriage drivers. Many equestrians use it to clean their riding boots, hence the name. However, it is labeled for synthetic tack, patent leather, and rubber surfaces, too. So, I tried it on our synthetic harness. I LOVE IT! It is so easy and leaves a nice finish that is just slightly glossy. Since it comes in a smaller bottle, I wouldn’t use it for a big job, like a filthy harness where you can write your name in the dirt. Just use a hose and some dish soap on that one, but then come back with the Effax Boot Miracle and watch how that harness gleams. Keep a bottle of Boot Miracle in the tack box for the shows and make your life easier! Oh, and don’t ask Chad about it for harnesses. He doesn't clean harnesses. The one harness he cleaned I had to do over!
Those horses who have a tough job or are prone to stiff, swollen legs after work can really benefit from the Kavalkade cooling bandages. The cooling effect lasts for hours, and even longer if you soak them in ice water. When our mare comes off a marathon at a show, we cool her body normally, and then apply the bandages to her legs before putting her in the stall. A few hours later, we take the bandages off. She recovers much better and is less stiff. It’s completely natural and the bandages don’t have any competition restrictions like some drugs or liniments do. Yes, they are a splurge, but isn’t your good competition horse worth it?
We have Welsh Cobs with tough, hard feet. Hoof problems aren’t a really big issue for our ponies unless it is very dry. We have used the Effol Hoof Ointment on their feet to provide some moisture in those hooves so that the farrier can actually get a hoof knife through the horn. However, where we really noticed a huge change in the quality of hoof horn was in a Dutch Harness Horse that we had in our barn for about a month. Her hooves were as brittle as soda crackers, and she was pulling her own shoes every other day (not kidding!). We were diligent about applying the Effol Hoof Ointment while she was here, and our farrier noticed a definite difference in her hoof quality in that short time. We applied the hoof ointment with Effol's cool Brush Fix that allows for a fairly precise application without getting your hands full of smutch. We sell a lot of Effol Hoof Ointment at big trade shows to the riders, but the drivers don’t seem to be as familiar with the product. This is one you should try if you have horses with challenging hooves.
These gloves are a fairly new addition to the IVC offerings. We came upon this company through the connections we made to get the FEI-approved carriage driving cones. The German company that sells the cones is in partnership with this German company that has gloves made specifically for carriage driving. They sent us some samples, and right then we knew we had to carry these gloves. Our favorite Haukeschmidt gloves are the Riesenbeck. They have an elastic spandex back that makes them cooler while the palm is made from Oiltac leather on the palm. The grip is simply second to none! If you pair these gloves with the Bowman Ultimate Leather Reins, you have heaven in your palms! The Drivers Daily gloves are full leather, and when you open the package, you are drawn to put them up to your face and inhale deeply. They smell SOOOO good! The Drivers Dream is more of a hybrid between the two, with a leather back and the Oiltac palms for grip and elegance in one. These are substantial gloves that seem like they won't wear out in one season. We will let you know what we find out.
SPECIAL! 25% off the above in-stock products through Cyber Monday, November 28, 2022!
Other Honorable Mentions
FEI Cones – If you have ever run over a stiff, brittle driving cone, you will appreciate these cones! And they are lighter weight than other FEI cones. I can actually pick up and carry at least six at a time! And the numbered Cone Sleeves are awesome!
Haas Brush Packages – These are probably going to be on the main list next year when our full order comes in. Look for our custom-built packages to be available in one bundle at the beginning of next year.
- Myrna Rhinehart