Non-horse stuff put to use around the barn

In general, horse people are pretty frugal, or are at least looking for ways to save money. One of the ways we seem to do so is by pressing regular household items into use at the barn. Some of my favorites:

Listerine or other mouthwash to remove dandruff from your horse’s mane and tail: I like to pour it into a spray bottle, then drench the base of my horse’s mane and tail. Leave it on for a few minutes, then rinse. Your horse’s nasty dandruff collection from a winter of turnout will be gone!

Lingerie bags for washing your polo wraps: this is a must for preventing hopelessly tangled wraps! (It also helps to stick the velcro to itself when you’re washing polos.)

Ivory soap for cleaning sheaths and udders: Ivory is super gentle, easy to find, and very cheap. In my experience (and I’ve cleaned a lot of sheaths and udders), it works just as well or better than products like Excalibur.

sheath cleaning

Pads or panty liners are a great addition to your first-aid kit: they’re simple enough to grab and hold over a wound to staunch bleeding that you can trust your non-horsey friend or significant other to do so while you’re calling the vet/barn owner/horse owner. (And, you know, it never hurts to have some extras around just in case a human needs them.)

Tuna/cat food cans make great bridle/halter hangers: just nail them into the wall and you’ve got a place to hang your equipment. Just make sure the edges aren’t too sharp.


Key tags to label your stuff: if you want a cheap way to mark your stuff, you can’t beat $7.50 for 50 key tags. These were very handy at the therapeutic riding center where I worked; we used them to label halters, saddles, girths, bridles, and blankets. You can color-coordinate, too. (If you want something that will hold up well outside, you’re probably better off with plastic-encased tags or luggage tags.)

Tent tape for emergency blanket repair: you can’t beat tent tape for a quick-fix for blanket rips. These super-strong tent patches hold well, stick to all kinds of stuff, and will stop the rip from spreading. Trust me; Moe and Gina’s old blankets are covered with tent tape. I finally gave up when mice started chewing the undersides and got into the fill.

Do you use any unusual stuff around the barn?

Author: Stephanie

Equestrian, amateur cook, people person.

17 thoughts on “Non-horse stuff put to use around the barn”

  1. Great list!

    I also love blue Dawn dish soap for cleaning socks and stockings. Roger only has 2 socks, but a pea-sized drop of Dawn on a sponge or bath scrubby does a great job to clean and whiten them! Even my trainer/BO wants to know my ‘secrets’ for keeping his socks so white. At around $3 for a giant bottle, it’s definitely a great value. I’ve also used a few drops of blue Dawn in a bucket with water when washing his Eskadrons, and the boots come out really clean. I’ve read that you can use Dawn to wash your horse’s body, but I haven’t tried that yet.

    1. I’m going to have to try the blue Dawn dish soap on Gina’s socks! I love the Lucky Braids whitener when I’m traveling, but that stuff isn’t cheap!

  2. Around here, it’s the opposite. The only house stuff that makes it to the barn are towels. However, I have vetwrap, gauze pads, Silvadene, and Betadine under the bathroom sink because there are actually no band-aids in the house and I cut my finger the other day. Yay horse stuff?

  3. I will have to try blue dawn for cleaning horse socks! I have that lucky braids whitener spray as well but it is expensive so it’s being saved for show season 🙂

    I don’t have a whole lot of non-horse stuff at the barn, but I’ve found that pet food containers from Target etc. are awesome for keeping horse feed and treats organized and mouse proof in the tack room. Also, I raid my SO’s craft supplies for braiding (embroidery thread, yarn, scissors). Oh, and can’t forget the head lamp or flashlight for finding horses in the dark!

  4. Great topic! I lease and don’t have tack room space. I found a 3 dollar plastic large basket at hobby lobby and use it for fly spray, crop, bridal, etc. It’s cute, functional and different from everyone elses. Plus only 3 bucks!

  5. This whole listerine in the barn thing is totally new to me! A few weeks ago I was helping at a barn where they used it to clean water buckets and I was like, “oh, that makes a heck of a lot of sense actually!” Never heard of it for mane and tail dandruff either, but you can bet I will absolutely be giving it a try!

  6. I wonder if I could use Listerine on all of Sydney. She has dandruff pretty bad this year. I have heard of people spraying it on barn doors to keep the flies out of the barn. I have never tested that use though. I know that apple cider vinegar makes a fairly decent fly spray against all but the biggest and nastiest of flies, though it does have to reapplied on a regular basis.

  7. Hi Stephanie 🙂 great post, I put listerine in a spray bottle and use it as a thrush remedy. Thankfully I haven’t had to use it in a long time.

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