Pitchfork & Pen—What’s in Your Tack Room?


What would the non-horsey person expect to find in your average tack room?

I would imagine they expect to find tack of course—hence the term ‘tack room’, even if they are not exactly sure what “tack” is.

Those of us in the know would expect to find saddles, bridles, saddle pads or blankets, reins, bits, halters, and lead ropes. Some tack room walls have pictures of horses and perhaps prize ribbons. Basically, a tack room houses the equipment a person needs to ride and train a horse. Most tack rooms double as feed rooms as well—a one-stop shop.

I have worked at a barn that had two tack rooms and a separate feed room. One wall was Screen Shot 2017-02-07 at 1.55.37 PM.pngnothing but bits, and another, bridles. That farm normally had 15 to 20 horses in training at any one time at various stages of education.

I have a loft area in my tack building. I keep winter horse blankets up there along with my pet carriers. I also have a cabinet to store shampoos and medicines for minor wounds. My old mare is on glucosamine for arthritis, so her supplement stays in there.

These are pretty typical supplies for tack rooms. But after 30 years of working with horses, I have learned to keep some non-typical items on hand as well:

VO5 hairdressing cream – Use kind that comes in a tube. It works great on manes and tails as a deep conditioner.

Listerine – I use this when one of the horses starts rubbing, especially the tops of their tails. If you mix it 50/50 with Avon Skin So Soft, it will stay on the skin better and softens and moisturizes the hair and skin.

Ivory dish soap – This makes a great all-purpose shampoo. You can use Ivory on your dog and it will kill fleas. It doesn’t work as well as a medicated shampoo for flea treatment, but it will work in a pinch. I don’t recommend using something like Dawn or the equivalent because it will strip too much of the natural oil from the horse’s hair coat. I also use it to wash grooming brushes.

Baby shampoo – This works the same way on horses and dogs as it does your kiddos. It’s a non-irritating shampoo, and great for faces.

Bleach – for cleaning water and feed buckets. Check out my post, Water for your Horses.

Vitamin E cream – I can get a two-pack from any dollar store super cheap. This cream works on rubbed areas to help bring the hair back in, but the best use is for calluses on a horse’s belly. If you feel along the center line of the belly, about where the girth will lay is a callus on the horse. It is a place flies like to irritate, so it can turn into a really raw spot. The Vitamin E cream helps it heal.

WD-40 – See my post about the amazing WD-40, for more on what this wonder oil can do.

Old towels and t-shirts – I use these as rags on the horses at bath time or to clean tack.

Old long socks – These make great tail bags if you are keeping a show tail, and like to watch your pennies. Even if you go buy new socks for this purpose, you will pay less than an official tail bag. You just won’t have all the cute colors. Save your money and the expensive tail bags for the show grounds.

A table and chair – These are in my tack room so that I have an “escape place” to write.

So, what’s in your tack room?

Read more from Tamara Hartl!

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