The 4 Best Things about Holiday Barn Parties!
Are you attending a holiday barn party this weekend?
Whether you are all gathering around a picnic table at the ranch… or a fellow barn buddy has volunteered to be Hostess-with-the-Mostest… or it’s a full-blown catered event (lucky!)… Here are 4 fun things to make the most of your barn party!
1. PEOPLE FEED
Check with your host if there’s a particular dish you can bring- dessert, veggie, etc. Horsey-themed hors d’oeuvres and dessert recipes can be found all over on the internet… but it’s really fun to show off your own five-star recipe. Especially to “Debbie.” She might bring home more ribbons than you… but she will never top your Blue Cheese Stuffed Buffalo Chicken Meatballs. Ever.
Not into that whole cooking thing? A bottle of wine with an equine related name or label is a great alternative! And would be very much appreciated!
There are those friends that we only see while at the barn: Sunglasses, ball caps, helmets and slathered in sunscreen. If it weren’t for social media, you probably couldn’t pick them out of a police line-up. Holiday barn parties are a fun way to show how you “clean up nice.” It’s also fun to wear some of your fancier horse-themed outfits and jewelry from Mary’s Tack and Feed 😉
Trivia about each guest can make for an interesting evening… I mean, you didn’t even know how some of these people looked without sunglasses until now! Each guest can tell the host some fun facts about themselves, which will anonymously be asked to the crowd for guessing. If you own a horse, you own a few good stories.
Is it a Secret Santa? White Elephant? Gift games are a great way to spread holiday cheer, even before the party starts!
If there is a cap of how much to spend don’t be afraid to meet it! A really cool gift can make someone’s night, especially if they’re on Santa’s naughty list. This may be their only chance at a decent gift (except for a lump of coal)! A highly coveted present will get “stolen” during a game and ensue lots of laughter! And maybe a little revenge.
Keep it horsey-themed. You ARE at a barn party after all! Try to keep the gifts gender-neutral, too. If you are overwhelmed and can’t decide, a gift geared for the horse will always win, so try some fancy horse treats.
You can even sneak a gift receipt in with your gift. We all know if you bring a horse-sized Rambo Newmarket Halter as a gift, the only Cob-sized horse is going to receive it.
Stop by Mary’s Tack and Feed for your party gifts and hosting décor!
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.
- 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 www.marystack.com or call Toll Free 1-800-551-MARY.
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.
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.
- Disassemble the bridle or take stirrup leathers off saddle.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Apply a conditioner, such as Oakwood Leather Conditioner or Effax Leather Balsam, to the leather using a sponge or cloth.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
- Use Leather Therapy Wash for moldy or neglected tack to clean away dirt build-up or mold and mildew.
- Use Leather Therapy Conditioner and Restorer to bring back the leather to a healthy stable state and to prevent mildew and mold growth.
- If you are storing the tack for a long period of time or want to “waterproof” your tack, apply a coat of Ko-Cho-Line Dressing.
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!
- 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!)
- Scrub with a sponge or small stiff brush to remove any grime or build-up.
- Rinse with clean water and dry with a towel or rag.
- 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!)
- 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.
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 marystack.com 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.
Our 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) 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 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.
Mary’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.
Honorable 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!
Don’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 http://bit.ly/MushroomMatrix, or call to order at 1-800-551-MARY (6279).
Samshield helmets are now available at Mary’s Tack and Feed in Del Mar, CA. Inspired by premium motorcycle helmet technology, Samshield helmets are made of the most performant materials in order to offer to demanding riders a real advance in terms of protection and comfort.
Samshield helmets feature high quality polycarbonate outer shell construction combined with variable density polystyrene inner shell that provides excellent impact absorption, incredible airflow by air canalization under the visor, and removable memory foam inserts for easy cleaning and a customized fit. This helmet is comfortable from day one with a unique design that omits contact with the forehead, eliminating pressure headaches.
Mary’s has several styles available including Shadowmatt, with or without Swarovski crystals or Shimmer top, Premium: suede with leather top, and the Carbon Fiber XJ. Samshield helmets meet CE-VG1 01.040 2014-12 and ASTM/SEI standards.
Get yours today or purchase the perfect Christmas gift for the equestrian in your family. Samshield helmets are available in store at Mary’s in Del Mar or call to order at 1-800-551-6279. #Samshield #EquestrianStyle #Helmets #Marystackshop