If you’re like me, you’ve had to quickly put a temporary fix on a blanket, bridle, or stable tool, so I thought I’d tell you about my fast (and cheap) quick fixes.

#1. Duct Tape is probably number one on my list of handy items to have in the tack room. In fact,  I’ve renamed it the “Horseman’s Friend”.  I’ve used duct tape to cover the ends of cleaning tools and wheel barrow handles so that I don’t get splinters. 

I use it to label trash bags for storing blankets. Well, actually you can use it to label almost anything from feed containers to tack trunks to grooming tools. When we arrive at an event and find we’re in a concrete block barn, we use duct tape hang the signs with owner’s name, where we are staying etc.  Duct tape holds barn tools together in the trailer.  And in a pinch, it will cover blanket tears until you can get a repair done. Once, when my ponies kept getting the chest snaps of their Rhino blankets caught on the fence, I wrapped the snaps in duct tape and slid the blankets on and off over their heads.  The result? No more getting caught in the fence. Duct tape will work as a keeper on a bridle until you can get it repaired. And it makes an excellent wrap over cohesive bandage (like vet-wrap) when you don’t have an ‘easy boot’ handy for a hoof. After all it was designed to be waterproof for the U.S. Army! Duct tape will label, wrap, and secure a lot of important stuff in a pinch. At less than $5 a roll what self respecting horse person could be without duct tape.  Check out the Duct Tape Guys on YouTube.

 #2. Zinc Oxidezincox
Do you have a horse with a beautiful white blaze and a cute pink nose? The sun intense summer sun can really make those noses sore. For less than $2 you can have a tube of diaper rash ointment contain A and D and Zinc Oxide.  Put the diaper rash ointment all over the  cute pink nose and wa-la! Your horse will have sun protection that can last all day.

#3. A and D OintmentAand D

And what about A and D ointment without the zinc? It’s great for heels, scurfy elbows, and scrapes that you’re trying to encourage to grow hair.  And again you can purchase a tube of A and D ointment for less than $2.  I recommend the generic store brand.  It works as well as the fancy brands.

#3. Velcro

velcroVelcro is another product that I wouldn’t want to do without.  Velcro comes in all shapes and sizes and a huge range of prices.  Velcro comes  as a sew on product, a self wrapping product, or with a sticky back. The self wrap products (come with both sides of the velcro on one strip) are great for bundling things like hoses, stall cleaning tools, or securing bridles for travel. The sticky back velcro has not been as successful in my barn except for an emergency  repair for the belly band on a blanket.  My favorite to keep on hand is a roll of 2″ wide sew on velcro.  This is the stuff you see on fly masks, horse blankets, and bell boots.  I use an ordinary sewing machine to replace the velcro on fly-masks and blankets.  For bell boots, I attach the velcro by hand sewing with a strong needle and dental floss.

#4. Dental floss

It comes in handy for repairing leather, such as replacing stitching in stirrup leathers, and of course the bell boots. I prefer to use waxed dental floss.  You’ll want to keep a blunt tapestry needle handle for dental floss.

 #5. Silicone Gluesilicone_large_80ml
And speaking of bell boots.  My horses wear bell boots with velcro, for schooling, but boy, do I get tired of the stitching wearing out before the bell boots do.  The stitching wears off because it rubs repeatedly on the horse’s hoof. Once that happens you loose the velcro and the boots, usually at the worse time.  I was commenting about this at a recent cross country schooling.  Someone suggested that I cover all of the stitching with silicone glue when I first purchase the bell boots. This protects the threads and whenever the glue wears off, you wash and dry the bell boots and  give the threads another coat.  I gave this a try and it worked beautifully. After a short drying period, the silicone was flexible and not at all sticky. Now all of my bell boots have threads coated with silicone and the boots are lasting so much longer. In fact I haven’t had to replace bell boots in over 2 years.

Do you have any favorite cheap fixes and helps in your tack room?  I’d love to read about them. Just click on comments and tell us your secret fixes!

Thanks for reading The Riding Instructor!

Barbara Fox


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Barbara Ellin Fox TheRidingInstructor
  • These are all pretty useful things, I have used duct tape to repair a stirrup leather. I use baling twine for lots of stuff, like break away lead ties or tying things together, I also use Iodine, it is a disinfectant, and lastly I love pickling lime! It works wonders, especially for gashes that would normally leave scars, just got to clean it out EVERY day and apply Iodine and pickling lime and then wrap it, heals it like a dream 🙂

    • Kenzie
      It’s amazing the uses we can find for ordinary things in the barn. Right now I’m wondering about dryer sheets for static king…my horses are beginning to think I’m the electric fence!
      Wow! I’ve never heard of pickling lime – how did you ever find out that it would heal wounds?

      • A trainer friend told me about it, it sure works for me. It helps things heal with out leaving scars. My horse got in our barbed wire fence and got cut really deep right under his ankle (thank God it didn’t cut any tendons)I just put some Iodine and pickling lime on it and it has healed with almost no scars 🙂 That stuff has healed other injuries, not quite so bad, without any trace of scars 🙂

  • When I first ventured in to driving I had a guy who has always had percheron driving teams come inspect my rigging – make sure I had it all correct & he told me about electrical tape – wrapping buckles to keep them from coming undone, holding straps tightly together – even an Emergency harness repair while “out” & I am surprised how well that works – give it a try

    • Yes bailing string! It also helps in mending buckles on turnouts! I found a new use for duct tape today- the velcro on a fly mask not sticking very well. I duck taped the end after I put it on the horse! Worked well for today. Aren’t we a funny group?

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