The 4 Best Things about Holiday Barn Parties

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!

 

2. ATTIRE

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 😉

3. GAMES

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.

4. GIFTS

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!

Merry Christmas!

Five Steps for Emergency Preparedness

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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.

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  • 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.

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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.

 

Mary’s Tack and Feed Tent Sale 2013!

Ahhh, Tent Sale memories.  The clanking of the legendary Mary’s buckets as our cashiers sticker and prepare them to be given away to our happy customers reminds us of all the excitement to come as we prepare for our 26th annual Tent Sale.

Think of your favorite store.  Would you plan a vacation around their sale? Believe it or not, we actually have horse owners living out of state who call months in advance to confirm our Tent Sale dates (this year it is February 15-17, 2013) so they can make travel plans to join us.

tent sale, equestrian, horses, discounts“Wait.  An equestrian store selling tents?  I don’t get it!”   Well, we don’t sell tents at our Tent Sale but rather we have incredible prices on great things that we put UNDER a tent- an enormous 100 foot tent to be exact.  The entire store gets completely remerchandised for our biggest sale of the year.

Even if you shop with us all the time, you have GOT to stop by during that weekend.  You will be amazed at the transformation!  You’ll find almost  everything in the store on sale, and every year customers that have moved away or we haven’t seen for years will be shopping the great deals. Old time riding partners meet again, barn mates stop and talk,- our whole store takes the form of a large social as much as a shopping event.  And then around lunch time, we fire up the grill and serve some hotdogs, chips, and drinks to those tired shoppers and their tag-alongs that need to sit down for a bit.

tent customer crowdMany of our vendors even send a representative, some coming from overseas, just to work at our sale and meet with our customers. That is probably my favorite part – the ability for a customer to perhaps meet the maker, inventor or promoter of a specific product. From Dr. Colleen Wilson, owner/founder of Adeptus to Loralee, who invented the ISpyCamera for use in horse trailers or stalls.

Now, not ALL our ideas go well, we have to admit. One year, for example, we thought we’d combine a Tent Sale with a blood drive. (Hey, we know our customers are community minded!). Unfortunately, drawing blood and then shopping upstairs and downstairs at our sale resulted in a few people actually fainting.  Uh oh!

But overall, each year the sale really gets a bit bigger and better. This year we’re featuring our ‘ham’ of a GM on his microphone with his contests and auctions again. Friday is our busiest day, and we’ve added Wild Card Saturday to our line up. On Saturday, look for special ‘flash’ sales throughout the day to enable lucky customers to get a coupon for an extra discount on select items or departments. And, of course, our Super Sunday, with some extra department discounts added to help finish off our Tent Sale with a flourish.

This year the Mary’s Tent Sale is Friday and Saturday, February 15/16 9am – 5pm, Sunday, Feb 17 9am – 4pm.

We are closed Thursday all day to prepare for the sale.

Hope to see you there!

The iSpy Horse Cam- Handy and Easy to Use

Sometimes we get our hands on a new gadget that we just can’t wait to tell you about.  The iSpy Horse Cam is definitely one of those items!

ispy horse cam

The iSpy camera system was originally developed to be used as a safety monitor while trailering horses, allowing the driver to keep an eye on the inside of the trailer during the ride. But horse owners quickly realized that by slapping it on the back of their truck, it became a great rear-view camera they could use when hitching up the trailer!  You can also use the iSpy Horse Cam to keep an eye on horses tied at the trailer, inside their stalls, to monitor mares read to foal and even for turnout. Maybe you need to leep an eye on kids or dogs?  With a viewing distance of 300 feet, the possibilities are endless!

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The very best thing about the iSpy Horse Cam is how easy it is to use – just take it out of the box, charge it, turn it on, stick the camera to something metal (it’s magnetic!), and you’re good to go. You don’t have to know anything about electronics, and there’s nothing to install – it’s one of those, “anyone can do it” products.  Plus it’s waterproof, so you don’t have to worry about weather and has night vision, so you don’t have to worry about dark!

For your peace of mind and the safety of everyone on your farm, pick up the iSpy Horse Cam today and start the the new year right!

Questions or comments?  Need some more tips?  No matter what it is, Mary’s is ready to help you out.  Our savvy buyers love doling out advice on their very favorite topics, so leave us a note in the comments or give us a call at 1.800.551.6279.  We can’t wait to hear from you!

Effol Oil vs. Effol Ointment: A Product Comparison

We know how it is.  No matter what your horse needs, there seem to be a hundred really good options and maybe a few not-so-good options.  With all the choices out there, how’s a person ever supposed to pick the best product for their horse?

Well never fear, friends.  Mary’s Tack and Feed does the work for you so you can get on with what’s really important- spending time in the saddle!  So without further ado, let’s chat topical hoof care, shall we?

One of our favorite hoof products is a line from Germany called Effol, available both as an oil and as an ointment .

Effol Hoof Oil is best for soft hooves, increasing the elasticity of the hoof wall to protect from (further) damage. It is also beneficial for dry and hard hooves, especially before shoeing.

Effol Hoof Ointment, on the other hand, is best for brittle hooves that tend to chip. It is a different texture, more of a balm consistency, which helps protect the hoof from wet environments. It also has a disinfecting ingredient to help keep the hoof healthy.

Many people in our Southern California area choose the ointment version over the oil during horse shows because it gives a more natural shiny appearance while repelling dust as compared to an oil hoof polish.

Both the Effol Hoof Oil and Effol Hoof Ointment are superior products, providing benefits to horses in different conditions and with different needs.

If you’ve got more questions or need some tips, we’re always happy to help.  Just leave a comment here or give us a call at 1.800.551.6279 .  Happy shopping!

How to Measure for and Choose a Horse Blanket

At Mary’s Tack & Feed we sell horse blankets & sheets dozens of times a week so we’ve got lots of experience & are ready to assist you.  Getting the right fit shouldn’t be tough; let’s get started!

So you’ve got a horse that needs a blanket or sheet.  But how do you measure your fellow for the best fit?  Blankets are measured & sized to fit the length of his body from center of his chest to just before the tail.  So height doesn’t have much to do with what size to purchase but length has everything to do with correct size!  Height does matter with the style.  We will address height after correctly measuring your horse for that new blanket.

Because most soft measuring tapes are just 60” long please note you’ll only go that far with the tape; mark that spot & then continue to measure.  So be prepared to mark that midway point with finger or chalk & then lastly add the 2 measurements together.  Some customers prefer to use one long piece of twine & then measure the length of the twine.

The figure below shows best how to measure your horse.

  • Stand your horse square on a level spot in a comfortable & secure place
  • Place the measuring tape or twine at the center of his chest
  • Measure along the length of his body going across the widest part of his shoulder to where you’ll just meet the tail.  Here’s where some folks make a mistake – do not measure to the middle of the tail.  As you measure make sure the measuring tape stays level & taut.
  • Add your two measurements together.  Round up to the next full inch & now you’ve got your blanket size!  Example 77 ½ inches round up to 78 inches

So now you know your horse blanket measurements are for a 78” blanket.  You’re not quite home free yet!  Here is where we’ll address height & style or “cut” of blanket.

Euro Cut Sheets and Blankets

Euro cut blankets typically measure in 3” increments (i.e. 69”, 72”, 75”, 78”, 81″ etc.) and feature shoulder gussets, a smaller neck opening that’s more forward up the mane, a longer drop and a roomier, boxy fit – especially at the tail end where Euro cuts tend to be quite square and extend about 3” off the top of the tail (not including tail flap). This blanket, the Baker Turnout, shows a good view of the back of the blanket & extension of tail flap off the body.

The drop refers to how far down his leg the blanket goes.  Like the length of a dress, it can be just below his belly, midway to his knees, or to his knees.  In this image the black part of the blanket, below the printed body is the drop.  Shoulder gussets allow more room for motion & work well for those with big chests or shoulders (think Warmbloods).  This Terminator rain sheet very clearly shows a shoulder gusset & a forward neck opening.

Euro cut blankets also typically have two crisscross belly straps.  The Pessoa Alpine is a good example of a Euro cut blanket.   You can see how roomy this blanket is in the hip area; it extends off the tail a few inches & has a tail cover or tail flap.  Also available in sheets, this Terminator day sheet is a fine example of a Euro-cut cotton sheet.  Please note that even the Euro cut day sheets come with a tail flap.  For tall horses, consider the Euro cut to properly protect belly & upper legs, giving room to the shoulders & covering those larger hind ends!

Taper Cut Sheets and Blankets

Taper cut blankets are sized in 2” increments: 68”, 70”, 72″ and so forth. Taper cuts are contoured through the body especially at the hip. They have a curved cut with the area over the tail contoured back and do not have a tail flap.  A wider neck opening allows less contact with mane.  The drop is just below the belly.

This Big D Grand Prix stable blanket is a good example of Taper cut. This waterproof Terminator light-weight blanket is taper cut as well. Note the larger neck opening, close fit at the chest (no shoulder gussets) and single belly closure with no extending flaps to lengthen the drop. Also available in day sheets to keep your horse clean, this image  shows how a sheet can be off the mane (less likely to damage a flowing mane or one that must be banded for shows) & contoured through the body.

Consider Taper cut blankets for short to average height horses.  Then they’ll be less likely to be overwhelmed by lots of fabric or stepping on a long drop when they get up after a nice snooze!

Equestrian Tall Boot Trends

With the ever changing technology of show clothing and helmets over the past several years, it’s no wonder that tall boots have finally followed suit. Originally designed for protection and grip, these often pricey boots have evolved from a classic, streamlined piece of apparel to a sporty looking and often high tech addition to the rider’s attire.

The most noticeable change is that zippers, thankfully, have become an absolute must. They eliminate the painful process of pulling on skin tight boots and the pulsating pain that typically ensues while you wear them, not to mention the rare (but has happened) trip to the ER to remove them in the event of an accident!

Zipper placement has also become more varied with some styles like the Ariat Volant Front Zip Boot  which features black on black or a sporty red contrast zipper for the fashion forward rider. (red available by special order).

Stretch panels like the ones on the ever popular Ariat Monaco Tall Boot offer a customized fit with amazingly soft leather that feels broken in from the moment you put them on.

Futuristic designs don’t just look cool but really are cool, providing ventilation to the rider’s leg. The Ariat Volant Back Zip Vented boot offers breathability and stretch – all integrated into a super cool design!

The Veredus Guarnieri Tall Boot features a fully adjustable calf fit with the Boa System  which allows the rider to adjust the tightness at any time. Hot days when legs are extra swollen? No problem, dial the calf a little looser. Want an extra tight fit? Snug it up as much as you like. Lose or gain a little weight..this boot has you covered.

Another smart design is the SmartClix integrated spur system by Cavallo offered as an option on any Cavallo boot! The spur sticks come in three varieties and can be positioned up or down. Spurs with rollers can be rotated vertical or horizontal. Or in the event you don’t need a spur, the spur can be removed and replaced with a simple black cap. Genius!

With these innovations, even the most high-tech loving riders among us will be able to find a pair of tall boots that strikes their fancy- a pair that will take their riding to the next level in style.

If you’re in the market for tall boots, be sure to stop by Mary’s to get properly fitted. Our trained sales associates meet with the boot vendors and practice fitting under the watchful eyes of our managers so YOU get the best fit in the best boots for your best ride!