Horse folk are almost always “horse rich” and “cash poor”, meaning we are forever looking for ways to save cash on the little things so we can show more and buy more stuff we want, not just spend our money on the things we HAVE to have in the barn. Did you know that there are several, every day, CHEAP household items that can be used in many ways in the barn?  I’ve used many of these things myself over and over and think no barn is complete without them:

Baking soda.  One of my favorites, baking soda is a decent disinfectant for stall cleaning and an awesome scrubber for dirty water buckets.  It is also a super spot cleaner for your ever-dirty horse laundry (1/4 cup per laundry load).  Did you know that it can also help polish metals (bits and stirrups)?  Lastly and my favorite, it is the BEST  insect bite pain remover in an emergency.  In my opinion, nothing calms your reaction and discomfort faster than simply putting some baking soda right on the bite.


 Desitin Ointment – Those of you with kids may already know this, but for helping to prevent scratches, Desitin works wonders. Even recommended in Purdue College of Veterinary Medicine Understanding and Treating Scratches in Horses, “ Applying a layer of zinc-oxide based cream (ie. Desitin®) to DRY affected areas may also help soften scabs and provide a moisture barrier to allow healing to occur.”

Duct Tape– How ANYONE survives without this wonder tape, I don’t know. A MUST-HAVE for every barn, you can fix blanket tears, label items, keep items together in shipping, cover dangerous nails/ bucket corners, etc.  And let’s not forget its absolute necessity for securing hoof wraps/bandages. An absolute life-saver.

Baby Oil – Although there are many products that work great, baby oil is still a super cheap staple to help untangle tails.  You can apply directly, but I prefer to wet the tail, add some conditioner and baby oil to get the most bang for the buck. We recommend this 2-pack baby oil product:

Rubbing alcohol – Like baby oil, there are several products now to do similar things, but rubbing alcohol will always be a super cheap liniment to use in a pinch on tired legs and muscles. Apparently, it’s also great to have in the barn to kill ticks after they are removed from your horse.

Bar Soap: Every show barn should keep bar soap on hand (which you can get when staying at the hotel).  Occasionally tall boots and paddock boots have trouble with zippers getting stuck.  When this happens, simply rub a little of the bar soap over the zipper teeth and then, like magic,  the zipper typically works again.

We recommend these products:

Hopefully these household “barn hacks” will help you in your every day, “what do I do now” problems that come up time and time again! Happy riding…

Jamie Wallace

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