• The Equestrian Journal

Skip expensive store bought tack sponges and thrush treatments, and make your own from scratch or by repurposing home care items! Here are a few of our favorites:

🧲Spray apple cider or white vinegar on your horse's hooves to keep thrush away.

🧤Inexpensive microfiber car cleaning gloves will remove the last bit of dust from your horse and your tack.

🐎Sprinkle cornstarch or baby powder on clean white legs to keep their chrome.

🧼Lather on the same glycerine soap you use for your tack to get rid of stains on white coats.

🧴 If you don’t want to spend the money on expensive horse shampoos, mild dishwashing liquid works just as well. At college horse shows, Dove was the standard!

👞 To polish hooves, use a wax-based shoe polish and it will also protects from the drying affect of hoof lacquer.

🔨At shows, you can fill nail holes in your horse’s hooves with a matching spackling compound.

⚡ Reduce static electricity in your horse's mane or tail with cling-free dryer sheets.

🦟 Make your own fly spray with the US Forest Service Bug Spray Recipe

1 cup Water

1 cup Avon Skin So Soft Bath Oil

2 cups white vinegar

1 tbs. Eucalyptus oil and/or citronella oil

🧽Use a cheap cloth-covered car waxing sponge for cleaning tack.

Happy riding,

Cat Nihem

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  • The Equestrian Journal

Updated: Apr 10

It has been a long winter and now it is spring cleaning time. So air out those trunks, make some space and get them organized with our list of the best equestrian essentials. And we are giving some of them away!

Horse and rider gear has come a long way in the last few years. With so many products on the market, knowing which ones are worth adding to your repertoire can be hit or miss . But there is some great stuff out there to make your horse's coat shine, your saddle fit better, your stalls smell better and even make you a BETTER RIDER. We have taken some of the guesswork out for you as we let you in on our team's favorite products. We are not affiliates with any of these companies - these are just what we buy for our own horses!

Coat Defense Daily Preventative Powder

Our Account Director, Cerice Berndsen, swears this product is amazing. It is an all natural powder that your sprinkle on your horse's coat. It treats rain rot and other skin fungus issues within minutes of application, and it also dries up sweat within minutes and leaves your horse's coat shiny and clean. If your horse has summer allergies, like my sensitive mare does, it also helps with itchy skin https://coatdefense.com/collections/for-horses/products/daily-preventative-powder-8-oz

Bye Bye Odor

Bye Bye Odor is a natural non-toxic microbial solution that Nancy Matolak, our "Air Traffic Controller," uses to remove the ammonia and manure smells in her horses' stalls. Bye Bye Odor actually uses microbes to consume the organics creating ammonia and causing the smell. I am thinking it might be also useful in a house full of teenage boys!


Mattes Saddle Pads

As Kimberly Dunlap, one of our Account Manager,s put it, "I love the Mattes sheepskin Dressage saddle pads. I think they are superior for reducing friction and heat and as a result, keeping the horse more comfortable." You can order them for different disciplines and they are customizable in different colors and trim. So pretty for the upcoming show season.


E-Cloth Grooming Mitt

As an owner of a very sensitive red-headed mare, a curry comb is not the best option. So Catherine Nihem, Account Manager, discovered this grooming mitt. It is dual sided with a rough side for massaging the dirt out and a soft side for brushing the dust away. Plus it is machine washable and her mare now enjoys grooming sessions. The E-Cloth company has trouble keeping it in stock, so if it is sold out on their website you can try resellers on Amazon.


Healthy HairCare Shampoo Plus

There are a million horse shampoos out there. I recall in college using Dawn liquid dish soap - the horror! It is always good to find one that is all natural and gets the job done while still leaving the horse's coat shiny and healthy. Raye Wysocki, Account Manager and Videographer, says this is the ONLY shampoo she uses on her horses.


EQyss Micro-Tek Equine Spray

All of the EQyss grooming products are winners and smell really good too. Yarden Cohen, who helps with Team Tate Academy and is also our resident TikTok guru, uses this spray to soothe and moisturize horse skin on contact. It helps with scratching, itching, biting, and/or rubbing. Provides a healthy environment for healing and is easy to use – just lightly mist on affected areas. https://eqyss.com/products/equine/shampoos/micro-tek-shampoo/

The Equestrian Journal Spiral Version

Our Founder, Catherine Respess, developed The Equestrian Journal to help herself become a better rider, and when her horse friends demanded copies, she knew she had a product every rider needs. We highly recommend this journal to anyone who rides with a goal in mind; no matter how many days a week, or how small or big the goal. There are 3 sections - monthly for a snapshot of upcoming events and horse appointments, weekly for tracking your progress and daily for jotting down notes after your rides. One journal covers 3 months + 1 extra month in case you start your journal mid-month. EVERYONE on our team LOVES this product!


Slow Twist Saddle Soap

One of our Certified Partners, Meredith Duggar, founded the Slow Twist brand and this wonderful all-natural tack soap. Great for use on your boots, your car, or even your hands. Cleans incredibly well without being abrasive. You should definitely check out what she can do with your old saddle pads and show mementos too - turning them into tote bags, purses, laptop bags, coin purses and even phone cases. We love it all! https://www.slowtwist.com/products

Equispangles Browbands

Our Design Director, Merideth Hebert, sources these beautiful, handmade browbands for her own horses. They are all custom designed pieces of art and can be made in the colors of your choosing from standard beads to birthstones, gemstones or even name beads


Horse Hair Creations Custom Bracelet

We speak a lot about heart horses at The Equestrian Journal, and we love having a beautiful remembrance of these magical animals who touched our hearts. Celia takes pieces of your equine friend's hair and creates a custom piece just for you. We love the sterling silver horse hair bracelets ourselves. https://www.facebook.com/HorseHairCreationsCH/

We are so certain you will love these products too, we have partnered with a few for an exclusive giveaway! See our Facebook posts or below for more details.

Happy Shopping,


P.S. Are you still wondering… "DO I NEED THE EQUESTRIAN JOURNAL?"

Let me make it very simple. If one or more of these describe you then YES YOU DO!

➡️ Feel like you aren’t making progress

➡️ Repeat the same lesson over and over

➡️ Feel like you are letting your horse and trainer down

➡️ Aren't sure about your equipment

➡️ Wonder if your horse is happy

➡️ Goals are made and forgotten

➡️ Can’t keep track of your horse’s history

➡️ Feel like you are missing something but not sure what

➡️ Pay for lesson after lesson but stuck at the same level

Remembering your breakthroughs and your fails FUELS YOUR PROGRESS. Your tack, boots, trainer, amazing horse, etc doesn't matter unless you are actively remembering what works and what doesn't - no matter how many lessons you take - if you want to the REMEMBER THE BREAKTHROUGHS from “everyday” rides and have CLEAR ACTION STEPS to get better,

YOU NEED THIS JOURNAL SO STOP GOING IN CIRCLES AND TRY IT OUT TODAY! If you have read this far, then you deserve one of our favorite products in your own trunk! In case you missed the details on our social media here is a recap: Dirty Horse Photo Contest

Win a prize package from our friends at favorite product company COAT DEFENSE with a 10 oz. Trouble Spot Drying Paste, 8 oz. Daily Preventative Powder, and a super cute Coat Defense Equine baseball hat! To enter:

📸 Post a picture of your dirty horse on our FB page .

📸 Comment on why your horse needs the power of Coat Defense.

Like Our FB Post Contest WIN a full size container of our favorite tack cleaner SLOW TWIST SADDLE SOAP + CONDITIONER! To enter:

💥 Like our FB post about Slow Twist.

Heart Horse Photo Contest

Win a gift certificate for a beautiful custom made horse hair jewelry creation from Horse Hair Creations by Celia. To enter:

♥️ Post a heart horse picture on our FB post.

Happy Spring,


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Updated: Mar 2

It's a day to celebrate the privilege of being able to read, so grab one of our favorite horse books and curl up on the sofa. Or take the opportunity to read your entries in your journal to see how far you and your horse have come. That is a beautiful story in the making!


Schooling and Riding the Sport Horse: A Modern American Hunter/Jumper System by Paul D. Cronin

An excellent and practical application of Vladimir S. Littauer,'s classic forward riding system. Cronin, provides a system for developing rider position and controls, as well as basic principles, selection of the horse, and a detailed schooling program.

Anne Kursinski’s Riding & Jumping Clinic: New Edition by Anne Kursinski

Need some advice on riding a Derby course? Kursinski, five-time Olympian, two-time Olympic Silver Medalist, author, clinician and international competitor, gives you 20 exercises to improve your position, feel and how to confidently and successfully master a jump course. The photographs alone are stunning.

Centered Riding by Sally Swift

Swift was monumental in the development of a mind-body awareness of riders and inspiring a whole new generation of riders and trainers educated in the skills of biomechanics. Her classic text provides manageable steps toward developing this connection and provides practical tools for riding in balance with awareness.

Balance in Movement by Susanne von Dietze-Pollak

Susanne von Dietze-Pollak, well-known trainer, judge and physiotherapist, shares her exercises and exercise material designed to improve the rider's seat. Her advice is designed to improve connection communicate with invisible aids.

Ride With Your Mind Essentials by Mary Wanless

An internationally renowned coach, Wanless describes the horse-human connection and how to achieve it in easily digestible "chunks." She uses her extensive knowledge of horse and human biomechanics to lay down a foundation of riding for all disciplines. A classic text for riders of all levels wishing to understand the affect of their position and aids on their horse.

The Perfect Horse by Elizabeth Letts

An account of Operation Cowboy during WWII, during which a group of U.S. soldiers from the Third Army, Second Cavalry discovered the Germans were keeping almost 700 prized European horses. These soldiers risked their lives to move the horses 35 miles over the border to Kotztinz, Germany, and eventually to safety.

Cavalettis by Ingrid klimke

A set of challenging cavaletti exercises designed to "teach your horse to think on his feet is by asking him complex questions at home" https://www.horseandrideruk.com/the-magazine/issues/september-2019. A German eventing rider and Olympic medalist, Klimke's exercises help you and your horse develop a trust and partnership so that you are successful away from home as well.

Straightening The Crooked Horse by Klaus and Gabriele Schoneich

A closer examination of how the horse moves and how much it influences their straightness. The authors offer training advice on encouraging a round and supple back and a correct bend for improving your horse's forward movement.

The Ethics and Passions of Dressage by Charles de Kunffy

De Kunffy, USDF Hall of Fame Master Horseman, author, clinician, and judge, beautifully argues for the an ethical approach to classical dressage. He explains the true meanings of: non-confrontational riding and training, “on the bit,” engagement, the development of the correct seat, and the use of hands and reins" (https://xenophon-press).

Adam's Task: Calling Animals by Vicki Hearne

Based on studies from science, literature, and philosophy, this book sets out to revolutionize the way we think about animals and their training. Hearne demonstrates a new level of training based on the knowledge that animals are more intelligent than we assume and that they are capable of developing an understanding of morality.

101 Jumping Exercises for Horse and Rider by Linda Allen

Allen, equestrian consultant, judge, and show jumping clinician, provides simple groundwork activities, over poles exercises and then equitation courses in this easy to follow collection of activities to teach a rider correct balance, technique and confidence over jumps.


Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand

A bit cliche, but it is still one of our favorites! The true story of the race horse Seabiscuit, whose continuous failures caused the horse to be banished from the racing community. After changing ownership, Seabiscuit goes onto win many accolades and titles culminating in a four length win in the Match of the Century. It is a touching story of an owner, trainer and rider pausing to connect with their horse, and how it changed them all.

The Dressage Chronicles by Karen McGoldrick

A lively and touching series about a girl who leaves her conventional world behind and goes off to work for a very famous dressage trainer in South Florida. The story is so powerful it inspired one of our very own team members to become a working student!

The Horse Whisperer by Nicholas Evans

A story of the healing bond between horse and human, the book opens with a tragic accident and a broken young girl and a traumatized horse The book follows the horse and the young girl as they search to save the horse and end up saving themselves as well..

Dream of Fair Horses by Patricia Leitch

An oldie but goodie, this is a sweet, common story of a girl who longs for a pony. And once she finds that pony, the story follows the young girl from taking that green pony to ultimately qualifying for the Horse of The Year Show at Wembley.

Need to keep track of everything you learn from these books or write down exercises you want to try? The Equestrian Journal is here to help.

Happy reading!

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