Following a few years’ decline in ownership, horses are back in the race, with a 2.3 percent increase since 2010.
Furthermore, as is the case for other animals, horse products are becoming more elaborate, and the market for equine supplies and accessories is expanding overall.
The most popular products are those that help to ensure the optimal health and well being of equines, as well as their spiffy appearances.
Horse Lovers are Ponying Up for Natural Grooming Products
The demand for natural products for companion animals is growing by leaps and bounds across the board.
Horses are no exception, including when it comes to grooming supplies.
Among the most well touted items are natural and organic products: shampoos, tail and mane conditioners, hoof and skincare items, brushes, etc.
Like dogs and cats, horses now even have their very own perfumes! These don’t just make equines smell nice, many contain aromatherapy essential oils and floral essences that help to calm and soothe horseys’ nerves.
One notable line is Annie Oakley Journeys, which debuted in 2009. These contain lavender oil, which is purported to have a calming effect on horses.
The line includes Calming Lavender Muzzle Oil Rub, Ranch and Stall Spray and Calming Lavender Pure Essential Oil, a training aid for use on tack, reins and saddles.
Organic Horse Shampoos and Conditioners Enter the Race
As for shampoos and conditioners, the emphasis is on products that are kind to horses and the environment.
As all horse lovers know, these animals have notoriously sensitive skin, and are prone to such issues as rain rot, hives, lice and mites, allergic reactions to insect bites (gnats, for example) and a host of others.
So not only are there more high-quality horse shampoos that address coat and tail health and beauty, more and more are designed to help protect the coat and repel insects, with natural ingredients.
Among the better brands is Equine Magic Horse Shampoo from Vermont Soaps. Billed as the first USDA approved product of its kind, this contains certified organic vegetable oils and plant extracts and is free of dyes, synthetic preservatives and other artificial ingredients.
Respected pet grooming products maker Earthbath also produces natural horse shampoos: Fly Repelling Horse Shampoo and Conditioning Horse Shampoo. Both contain such ingredients as renewable coconut derived cleansers, apple essence and tea tree oil.
The latter even has an SPF of 50, to help protect horses from developing melanoma – another common equine skin issue.
The Importance of Horses’ Hoof Health
Horse experts all know that particular care must be taken in regard to maintaining hoof health, to prevent such issues as cracks, thrush, abscesses, laminitis, seedy toe and such.
That’s why it’s important for retailers who service the horsey set to emphasis to their customers the importance of regularly checking and cleaning their animals’ tootsies, and using products and accessories that can help to prevent hoof issues.
Particular attention should be paid not just to the outside of the hoof but also to the undersides and the frogs, the triangular section on the bottom of a horse’s hoof. This not only acts as a cushion, this regulates blood circulation to the legs.
Hoof Products Galore
There are now a number of creams, lotions, picks, brushes, boots and other products whose manufacturers claim help to maintain horse hoof health.
There are widely differing views among farriers (hoof experts) in regard to hoof creams and oils, with those swearing by oils, while others say creams are the only truly effective products.
Some recommend the addition of supplements to a horse’s feed to ensure hoof health, while others claim that this is not needed if a horse consumes a healthy, species-specific diet.
There are also varying opinions about the types of and amount of time between trims that horses require.
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