No-Stirrup November, Part II- Return of the Irons

stirrup_part2-1Yay! You did it! No-Stirrup November is just about over and we bet you can’t wait to get your beloved irons back!

We’re sure your body has rediscovered its appreciation for stirrups… but have you? We got to wondering about how and when stirrups came about. Who do we have to thank for this amazing invention? So, here’s what we found out…

The first stirrup was designed as more of a mounting stirrup- a single leather strap with a loop at the end- around 1000 BC. From this, a riding stirrup evolved, but was only designed to support the big toe of each foot. It wasn’t a popular design, given you had to be barefoot in a cold climate.

The Chinese are recognized for providing the first full-foot stirrup during the 4th century. The style spread throughout Asia and hit Europe by the 8th century.

The stirrup changed warfare forever. Mounted warriors had the freedom to use both hands for weapons while keeping their balance. The stirrup has been accredited as one of the biggest influences in civilization, after the invention of the wheel. And the ice cream cone…

Today’s stirrup technology has come a long way from the standard fillis iron. Riders now get to choose from many types of irons in lightweight metals, ergonomic designs and improved foot beds. Did you know there are stirrups designed to help keep your heels down, improve your leg position and reduce pain and pressure in your knees and hips? We’ve chosen a few favorites to share with you.

stirrup_part2-5Stubben’s Maxi Grip stirrup irons are lightweight with a sleek design. Pyramid-shaped points provide an extra grippy foot bed for added security and balance. They are also slightly angled to help keep your leg in an ideal position. A little traditional, a little modern.

stirrup_part2-6MDC S Classic Non-Flex Stirrup Iron’s top of the stirrup slot is turned like an S while the lower portion of the slot faces forward which keeps the iron at a 45 degree angle. The benefit of this design improves your leg position and alleviates stress on your joints (hips and knees)… all while keeping the appearance of a classic fillis iron. Look good… feel good…

stirrup_part2-7Herm Sprenger Bow Balance stirrup irons flex and move with your foot to when engaging your lower leg. The “bowed” arch allows the stirrup to rest at a 90 degree angle and can help relieve stress on your joints. The rubber foot bed acts as a shock absorber. The moveable grip helps your ankle to flex and heel to drop.

stirrup_part2-8Even trail riders can join the party with Tucker Trail Glide Stirrups! Trail Glide stirrups are lightweight and feature a unique “cone” for the saddle fender. The cone’s angle keeps you balanced in the saddle and reduces knee and ankle fatigue. Plus, they have a thick cushion on the foot bed for added comfort! You might want to clear your schedule after purchasing these stirrups- you’ll be spending a lot more time in the saddle!


Now that you have endured a whole month of No-Stirrup November, why not reward yourself with a pair of new, fancy irons from Mary’s Tack and Feed?

For one of the nation’s best selections of irons and leathers, visit our Mary’s website or call our friendly and knowledgeable staff at (800) 551-MARY. We are to here to answer all your questions!

Clipping Tips from Mary’s Tack and Feed

Photo by Amanda Greene

Photo by Amanda Greene

Shorter days, cooler weather and fuzzy ponies have arrived! Mary’s is here to help. Here are 4 clipping tips to get you started:

1) Pre-Clip Beauty Care

Before you clip, your horse’s coat needs to be clean! Give your horse a good scrub and lather with a quality horse shampoo. Dirt and grime will dull your clipper blades more quickly. EQyss shampoos or Vetrolin Bath are great at removing dirt and nourishing your horse’s skin.

Give a good spray over of Showsheen or Calm Coat Pre Clip spray. This can help the clippers glide through the horse’s hair easily, reducing wear on your blades and those unsightly ‘lines’ in the coat.

Have somewhere to be? Shapley’s Light Oil is the perfect product to use for entering the show ring after a fresh clip. Shapley’s Light Oil smooths the hair and reduces the appearance of blunt, cut edges and provides a beautiful shine!


2) Styles of clips

The type of clip you decide to give your horse can depend on a number of factors. Two important considerations are your climate and your horse’s activity level.

Trace clips are popular because the coat is trimmed along the neck, chest and belly of the horse. This is where the horse tends to sweat most during activity. The horse will stay cooler during exercise and the remaining hair dries quickly. This cut can help keep your horse comfortable during the changing of seasons.

The full Monty. Nothing can be more gratifying than clipping. It. All. Off. Usually preformed for the show horse as the seasons start to turn, the full body clip erases the slightest hint of the shaggy winter coat. What’s left is a gleaming encore of your summer horse. If you choose to commit to the task- BE PREPARED! Have your horse’s blankets and day sheets ready BEFORE you clip.


3) Which clipper & blades do you need?

Do you plan to only tidy up whiskers and a bridle path? Clippers labeled as “Trimmers” are small, lightweight, quiet and very cost effective. Perhaps you’d also like to clip your horse’s legs, too. A single-speed clipper will have the added strength to much through the thicker hair.

Now let’s say your horse has some woolly mammoth DNA or you have more serious body clipping plans. A two-speed clipper can give you the lower RPMs for thicker/tougher cuts and a higher gear to help speed through body clips.

What’s with all those blade numbers?

The larger the number, the closer (shorter) the cut. For example, #T-84 & #10 blades are commonly used for body clipping and are usually included with the clipper you purchase. A #40 blade is surgical, down to the skin. Some people will use a #7 for body clipping and a #15 for fetlock and bridle paths. It’s all a matter of preference… but a #10 is a good start.

Most classic clipper blades are made from steel. Ceramic blades are made with a steel lower and a ceramic upper blade. Ceramic blades differ in function by staying 70% cooler that other blades. Ceramic blades also stay sharp 5 times longer than traditional blades. You care for and use ceramic blades the same way you would a classic steel blade.

4) Proper care and maintenance

Most clipper sets contain a small brush and a tube of clipper oil in the package when you purchase them. These items are just as important as the clipper itself. A large percentage of clipper repair shops can trace problems and damage back to the lack of proper lubrication. Use the clipper brush (or a toothbrush, if you’ve already lost yours) to remove hair and dirt. Add a few drops of clipper oil, such as Andis Clipper Oil, along the blade and sides. Let the clipper run to spread the oil around. Turn the clipper off and wipe off any excess oil.

Cool Care is a phenomenal product that kills 5 metaphorical birds with one stone! Cool Care acts as a Coolant (instantly cools the blade temperature), cleaner, rust inhibitor (Rust can begin in just 24 hours!), light lubricant (to be used in addition to clipper oil) and broad spectrum disinfectant.

Give your clipper blades a quick spray during your clipping session to the blades and a good spray when you have finished, to clean and protect your blades.

For more information and answers about which clippers will work for you, visit us in store or call (800)551-MARY and speak with our friendly staff! We’ll have the clipper supplies you need, and can answer just about any question you may have!

No-Stirrup November: 5 Reasons to Do It and How Mary’s Can Make it Better!

no-stirrup november, mary's can help

“Drop your stirrups!” Ugh… one of the things we dread hearing from our trainer… but there are benefits to riding without stirrups, so take it like a champ and remember all these positive reasons why:

  1. Develop your seat. Finding a deep, secure and balanced seat will result in better communication with your horse.
  2. Improve your core strength. You’ll engage more of the muscles in your back, abdomen and legs. With these strengthened muscles, you will not rely so much on your stirrups… when you get them back.
  3. Improve your balance and posture. And your confidence! Practice does make perfect and the more you ride without your stirrups, the easier it will become.
  4. Because George Morris said so.
  5. It gives you a reason to pamper yourself! Hellooooooo, Spa Day!!! A massage will be music to your ears, especially after your first lesson. Awakening Body Lotion is a great everyday body lotion and perfect for an at home special massage treat!

How Mary’s can make it better!

Get a Grip!

Mary’s carries many helpful items that can get you through your initial sans stirrup riding sessions:

  • Full-seat breeches are a great option to help give you an extra grip in the saddle while you build up your skills.
  • You can also tackify what you already have!

We hope you’re as excited for No Stirrup November as we are! Give us a call if you’ve got any questions 800.551.MARY (6279), we’re always here to help.

full seat breeches

5 Easy Hoof Care Tips

clean horse feet

There is an old saying that we have all heard, “No hoof, no horse,” and it couldn’t be truer when it comes to the health of your horses hooves. Here is a list of tips and products to consider helping your horse put its best foot forward.

1. Basic hoof care is the foundation for healthy hooves.

  • Keep the stall clean and dry. Add shavings or absorbent bedding to help keep it dry and reduce the chances of thrush.
  • Pick your horse’s hooves every day, before and after riding or exercising.
  • Schedule timely appointments with your farrier. Be nice to them. Maybe get them a gift certificate for a massage for Christmas.

2. Quality hay, feed, and supplements can keep your horse happy and healthy, from the inside out, from his fuzzy nose down to his “toes.” If you need to boost your horses’ feed program with a hoof supplement, Mary’s has a quality selection to choose from. Tried and true- Farrier’s Formula has been trusted and proven for over 30 years. Farrier’s Formula promotes fast and strong hoof growth, provides proper nutrition to strengthen and thicken the hoof wall and the connective tissues. Another option is Farrier’s Equine Matrix which has taken a nutritional twist on supplements! The unique proprietary blend of medicinal mushrooms supports connective tissues and cellular health with naturally occurring biotin and Vitamin D2.

3. Thrush– it happens to the best of us. If thrush does rear its ugly head, Mary’s has a vast selection of topical thrush treatments to choose from. In a world of liquid thrush treatments, No Thrush stands out with its “dry” approach to eliminating thrush. No Thrush powder contains naturally occurring mineral salts that attacks bacteria, without harming the surrounding healthy tissue. Moisture-bonding specialized clays draw out any moisture, deep within the frog and sole, destroying the happy breeding ground that bacteria thrives in.

4. It is wise to keep a first aid kit in your tack room or trunk- be sure to include products to treat a hoof abscess. Some basic products to keep on hand are:

Another handy-dandy item you should add to your kit is the Hoof Wraps Equine Soaker. Soaking a hoof is frustrating. If wrestling your horse’s hoof into a bucket of water doesn’t drive you bonkers, then standing there watching and waiting forever will. With the Hoof Wraps Soaker, you simply pull the boot over your horse’s hoof, add a soaking solution of your choice, strap that bad boy on and viola! Freedom!

5. Using a hoof conditioner is great way to keeping your horse’s hooves looking beautiful. Sound Hoof Conditioner is a customer favorite for providing moisture, suppleness and a show ring shine. Made with all-natural, non-toxic ingredients, Sound Hoof Conditioner is formulated with essential vitamins and nutrients. Plus, it’s the best smelling hoof conditioner in the world!

Give Mary’s a call or stop by the store, our team would love to help you and your horse!

hoof care products




Five Steps for Emergency Preparedness


With wildfire season now classified as year round here in Southern California, Mary’s recommends that you be prepared for any and all emergencies — whether you own pets or horses.

  • Along with your regular vaccination schedule, you may want to have your pets and horses micro-chipped if they aren’t already. Micro-chipping can increase the chances of being reunited with your lost companion, should you ever be separated. In most cases, horses can also be freeze branded with a unique identification mark that will be visible to the naked eye, unlike a microchip which must be scanned. Have recent photos of your horse and pets to send to shelters or rescues to help locate them after the emergency if they do become lost or separated from you.


  • Always have evacuation plans in place and posted at your barn so everyone knows what to do when disaster strikes. Who is in charge of moving the horses? Who is in charge of stocking and hooking up the trailers? Where will the horses be transported? What route will be taken? If Plan A isn’t possible, what is Plan B, Plan C, Plan D, and so forth? Have emergency contact numbers clearly outlined in your plans.


  • If you own a horse or livestock trailer, be sure that the trailer has regular safety checks, whether it is used consistently or stored. In the event of an evacuation, you want your trailer to be in safe, reliable condition to transport your animals to safety. Along with safety checks, your trailer should be stocked with plenty of spare halters, lead ropes, hay nets, buckets, water, and Hydration Hay. Mixed with water, hydration hay swells up into generous portions of Grass and Alfalfa hay that will ensure your horse receives some hydration if they’re not drinking water.072016_second_banner_blog


  • It’s also a good idea to also keep in your trailer an equine (and human) first aid kit, along with tubes of calming paste and electrolytes, both in powder form to encourage your horse to drink unpalatable water and in paste form if your horse is too stressed to drink water. If you own pets, be sure to have plenty of days’ worth of food and water stored in your vehicle and any medication if needed.


  • If evacuation isn’t possible, it’s not recommended to keep your horses cooped up in a barn or even in a pen if a fire is dangerously near. Put your contact info, such as your phone number, directly on your horse. You can use a waterproof paint marker on your horse’s hooves or use spray paint or Shapley’s Touch Up Coat Spray on your horse’s coat to leave your phone number so it is visible even at a distance. The key is to use a product that will stay on the horse’s coat. In the event of a dire emergency, it is more important that the contact info stays on your horse until rescue. If – in a worst case scenario you have to release your horses because evacuation is impossible – remove halters from your horse, unless it is specifically designed to breakaway, such as a safety halter, and then set your horses loose. As dangerous as this seems, your horse will have a better chance of surviving the disaster given the freedom to move away from the danger.


You can find all the products needed to keep you prepared at Mary’s Tack & Feed in Del Mar, CA. Or visit us online at or call Toll Free 1-800-551-MARY.


How to Care for Leather Tack


Whether you just purchased a new saddle or bridle from Mary’s or you need to revitalize older tack that has seen better days, here are a few tips and techniques for proper maintenance and care of your leather tack. Regular inspection and cleaning ensures your horse tack and equipment will not accumulate dirt and grime that will weaken the leather and can compromise safety. It also keeps your leather goods looking good and lasting for years and years.

New Tack:

We always recommend that you follow the specific manufacturer’s guidelines for caring for your new tack. The harness leather used for western headstalls does not need the same care and ingredients as does the baby soft French calfskin on a Butet saddle. The leather’s needs can change depending on the tanning process and the finish used on the final product. Purchasing the manufacturer’s branded leather care products is recommended, as the care products are usually blended specifically for that brand’s leather needs. Keep in mind that some manufacturer’s warranties become void if you do not use the appropriate recommended products.

If you are unsure of the brand of tack or if you just want generalized care that will suit most brands, we recommend following these steps.

  1. Disassemble the bridle or take stirrup leathers off saddle.
  2. Using a dry rag or towel, gently wipe away any moisture or dust that may have accumulated on the surface and within crevices in the leather.
  3. Take a damp sponge and rub into a quality glycerin saddle soap, such as Fiebings Glycerin Soap or Stubben Glycerine Soap. Apply the soapy sponge to the leather and work up a light lather. Rinse well and wipe away excess.
  4. If you don’t like Glycerine soaps, as they do tend to leave a layer of glycerin on the surface of the leather, you can use a pH balanced cleaner, such as Lexol Leather Cleaner or Stubben Leather Soap.
  5. Apply a conditioner, such as Oakwood Leather Conditioner or Effax Leather Balsam, to the leather using a sponge or cloth.


Oiling Tack:

  1. Assess if leather is dry and whether it needs to be oiled. Always oil sparingly and start with 1 light coat. Apply additional coats of oil only if needed; over-oiling can damage the stitching and cause your tack to fail or fall apart.
  2. If the leather needs oiling, place the tack outside in the sunlight for about 5-10 mins to help warm the leather and open the pores. This ensures even absorption of the oil.
  3. Use an oil purposed for leather use, such as Neatsfoot Oil or Hydrophane Leather Dressing, and apply using a small brush or soft cloth to the undersides of the leather. Do not apply to the finished side of the tack, as the finish will not allow proper absorption and the oil will just end up on you or your breeches the next time you ride. Do not apply too much oil to your saddle’s knee rolls, seat, or panels, as the oil can start to absorb into the padding materials under the leather.
  4. Tips: If you are oiling to darken tack, use Hydrophane Leather Darkening Oil. If you need to oil light tack and do not want any color change, use Lexol Neatsfoot Non-Darkening Formula.


Revitalizing Old/Neglected Tack:


Calfskin or Premium Leather:

Most manufacturers do not recommend cleaning calfskin tack very often. Only clean if needed, and use a calfskin specific cleaner such as, Beval Savon Akene Soap, or a cream based soap, such as Effax Leather Cream Soap. Use a high quality calfskin specific conditioner such as Beval Akene Conditioner or CWD Conditioner. Oil very sparingly!


Non-Leather Tack:

  1. Remove bit and stirrup irons and allow to soak in a bucket of soapy water. (Dish soap is fine to use here – but not too much!)
  2. Scrub with a sponge or small stiff brush to remove any grime or build-up.
  3. Rinse with clean water and dry with a towel or rag.
  4. You can use a metal polish like Peek on your irons, but only use Herm Sprenger Diamond Bit Paste on your bits (it’s going in your horse’s mouth after all!)
  5. Keep some Horse Armour Bit Wipes in your tack trunk to quickly clean your bit after you ride. The wipes also leave a nice flavor that your horse will enjoy!


A few more tips:

  • Don’t leave your saddle or tack out in the sun for long periods of time. Put it in the shade or put it away in the tack room or tack trunk.
  • Don’t leave your saddle or tack out in the rain. A few rains drops won’t hurt if it starts sprinkling during your class at a show, but the less exposure to water, the better for your tack.
  • Don’t ride in jeans in an English saddle. The seams of your jeans can cause excessive wear and tear on your saddle’s seat and the stitching.
  • Don’t use household cleaners on your saddle. Most cleaners are not designed for leather and can do some damage.
  • Don’t keep or lay the girth across the seat of your saddle. The dirt and sweat from the girth can cause the stitching at the seat to weaken or come apart.
  • Keep a dust cover on your saddle when not in use.


Proper care and maintenance of leather is well worth your time and effort. You will prolong the life and safe use of your tack and it will look better and feel better, too.


Mushroom Matrix – Healthy Support and Recovery for the Entire Family!

Supplementing horses, dogs, and yourself doesn’t have to be complicated! Mushroom Matrix makes holistic supplements from 100% organic, non-GMO medicinal mushrooms grown locally in San Diego county. Mushroom Matrix has a supplement for almost every dietary need and has them all! Here we will feature our top sellers to help you decide what supplements may be best for you or one of your four legged friends.

equine_ecp calm_frontOur best-selling equine Matrix product, Equine ECP (aka Equine Focus), encourages wellness and focus for performance horses. ECP promotes concentration and reduces hyperactivity naturally without chemicals, sedatives or synthetics. It provides superior immune system support to combat stress from frequent travel and competition. This overall health supplement also supports gut health, which has been linked to distraction. It builds natural coping abilities during travel, rigorous training, stall rest, or other stressful situations. ECP can help your horse remain a focused partner from all aspects of stress without masking the underlining issue with sedation.

equine_mrm recovery_tube_frontEquine MRM (Recovery) contains a powerful blend of all organic medicinal mushroom species that is an alternative, complementary therapeutic agent to provide natural support for health conditions. MRM Matrix delivers a variety of bioactive beta glucans to stimulate the immune system, along with powerful antioxidants to help counteract possible side effects of pharmaceutical medicines. Choose this supplement if your horse has a compromised immune system. It helps with detox and support for liver and kidneys stressed by medications and toxins, or support for healing tissues after injury or surgery. MRM also encourages a healthy inflammation response, effective support for autoimmune disorders, and helps reduce oxidative stress.

equine_performance_frontEquine Performance gives your horse a competitive edge with a unique blend targeted to improve exercise capacity. Optimizing your horse’s conditioning improves training, competition, and recovery. Respiratory efficiency, oxygen delivery, and energy production are critical for improving your equine athlete’s fitness level. Performance Matrix is organically certified with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other essential elements to keep your horse in top health. Performance supports normal cardiac output and circulation and normal blood cell health and blood values. It facilitates recovery to maximize training and results and may help ease aches and discomfort.

criticalcare200g_1Mary’s top selling human Matrix product, Critical Care, takes the cake for overall support and recovery. Critical Care contains a synergistic blend of four powerful mushrooms (Reishi, Cordyceps, King Trumpet and Antrodia mushrooms) for healthy inflammation response, detox, immune support and energy. L-Ergothioneine, the only antioxidant with a cellular transport mechanism, is unique to mushrooms. Just add a teaspoon of the very mild tasting powder to your morning juice or a smoothie and start enjoying the benefits of this whole food, vegan, gluten-free, and preservative-free supplement.

nrg-mushroom-matrix-for-people-200mg-tub-27__60238.1420820168.600.600Honorable mention goes to our 2nd favorite Mushroom Matrix supplement for humans – NRG. NRG is a holistic, natural energy supplement taken as needed by mixing in your water bottle. Travel-friendly packets available at Mary’s are perfect for on-the-go or long horse shows! Ask almost any sales associate of ours how much of a life saver the NRG supplement really is!

91eoAEwvAL._SL1500___36791.1443129375.500.659Don’t forget your beloved canine companion! Optimize your dog’s health with Healthy Pet Matrix. It blends eight species of Certified 100% Organic Medicinal Mushrooms (Shiitake, Maitake, Cordyceps, Turkey Tail, Lion’s Mane, King Trumpet, and Antrodia mushrooms) for daily overall support to keep your pet healthy and active. Healthy Pet features a wide array of beta glucans to boost immune function. The natural prebiotics and digestive enzymes support healthy gut and mucosal flora. Healthy Pet also supports Respiratory, Cardiovascular and Endocrine Systems while super-antioxidants reduce free-radicals for improved cellular health.

All Mushroom Matrix products are available in store at Mary’s Tack and Feed in Del Mar, CA, online at, or call to order at 1-800-551-MARY (6279).