Morgane Schmidt, reluctant owner of a mostly-white paint dressage horse/poo stain magnet, takes the Ponytail Grooming Product line out for a spin.
As an individual who spends a fair amount of time showing and thus grooming and braiding multiple beasties for said shows (including quite a few hairy-fairy Friesians and one nearly-all-white paint horse), I can surely appreciate awesome grooming products.
Of course, although I love a sparkling, immaculately groomed horse, I do not always love the process. Undoubtedly it’s time consuming to produce a beautifully turned out horse and given that I can really appreciate products that cut down on the time and hassle. Recently I discovered Ponytail Grooming Products, a California-based company that offers human-grade grooming products designed for both horses and their riders.
I have to say that while I generally categorize most grooming supplies into a binary ‘they work’ or ‘they are worthless’ sort of system, the Ponytail products clearly stand out and go beyond simply working.
To really give you a feel for Ponytail I thought it best to break it down and review each product individually.
Trot the Spot ~ Rise Free Shampoo
First up is Ponytail’s rinse free shampoo, Trot the Spot. Having a mostly-white paint horse with a penchant for slathering himself in all things disgusting and dirty you would think I would love spray on shampoos and spot removers for touch-ups. But the fact is that as a rule I just don’t. This is largely because most of them simply end up smearing the smudge around and making the white area look dingy and feel crunchy (which is sort of gross, really). This is not the case at all with Ponytail’s Trot the Spot. The first time I tested it I drug Stormy out in all his winter ‘glory’ (a.k.a grunginess) and attempted to remove some lovely stains from his rump. You can see the results below.
Trot the Spot did a great job lifting the stains off of Stormy’s coat (both the very obvious ones and the more subtle yellow dingy areas, too). To use it I simply sprayed it on and then used a hard brush to brush in a circular motion. After I worked the shampoo in I simply wiped it off with a rag. The grunge was gone and Stormy’s coat felt soft and clean instead of crunchy or tacky. Obviously Trot the Spot is a great tool for pre-ring touch-ups (of which Stormy needs many) but I’ve also found that it’s super handy to use daily when it’s too cold and gross to actually attempt bathing (Stormy’s delicate pink parts do NOT ‘do’ cold water). As an added bonus, Trot the Spot leaves the coat super soft and shiny which seems to be preventing Stormy from caking on as much mud and grime as he used to do. I consider that a win (for me anyway, Stormy would disagree)!
Trot the Spot is available in a 32oz spray bottle for $18.
Bubbles and Bucks ~ Conditioning Shampoo
Next up we have Bubbles and Bucks conditioning shampoo. This is just an awesome shampoo/conditioner combo for both you and your horse. It not only smells great and works up a lavish lather with minimal soap and effort, but it also quickly lifts stains and brightens hair leaving it super soft and silky. Even though this is not technically a whitening shampoo I am pleased with just how sparkly white it gets Stormy’s coat and tail. Another super aspect of this particular shampoo is how clean yet soft it leaves my horses’ tails. I’m a big believer in keeping my horses’ tails braided and in bags. Since I live in the desert it’s imperative that I use some sort of conditioner before bagging them to help protect the hair. With Bubbles and Bucks I find that I do not need a separate creme rinse or conditioner, which is nice since it saves a little bit of time and money.
Bubbles and Bucks conditioning shampoo is available in a 24oz bottle for $20.
Foam and Frolic ~ Soap-Infused Sponge
The Foam and Frolic soap-infused sponge is not only a fun way to bathe your horse, it’s also incredibly convenient. I love these sponges for giving quick bathes at home and for touch up bathing at shows. With Willie, my bay horse, I often find that a touch up to remove the sweat and the arena grime from his legs is all he needs to stay looking beautifully clean throughout a show. This sponge makes doing so pretty quick and painless (you don’t even need to haul a grooming bucket to the wash racks that are four miles from where you’re stabled!) These sponges have a nice, firm texture to them that makes them good for scrubbing and they produce quite a bit of lather. Though the packaging says you can get a little over three uses on a horse and over 14 on a person, I’ve found that I can get a bit more than that if I don’t over saturate the sponge. As with all the Ponytail products these smell wonderful and leave the hair soft and shiny.
Foam and Frolic soap infused sponge is available for $12. Each sponge has approximately 3+ washes per horse or 14+ washes per person.
Ready to Roll ~ Leave in Conditioner
Show Pony Shine
Ready to Roll leave in conditioner and Show Pony Shine are probably my very favorite Ponytail products. As I mentioned above I keep my horses’ tails bagged, mostly in a vain attempt to keep them from totally destroying them (sometimes it even works). Also as noted above, I like to be sure to thoroughly condition their tails before bagging them because it’s so ridiculously dry here in Nevada. Ready to Roll leave in conditioner has proven to be the perfect product for this. It leaves their tails soft and tangle free without leaving any weird film or stickiness. The best part though is that it keeps their tails feeling soft and clean even after they’ve been in a bag for two weeks or so.
In conjunction with the leave in conditioner, I also use Show Pony Shine to help detangle and protect the hair. What I particularly like about Show Pony Shine is that it’s much lighter weight than a lot of the other gloss serums which results in the tail appearing lighter and fuller instead of weighted down. I also noticed that one application of Show Pony Shine on a clean tail kept the tail tangle-free for the duration of a show. This was especially awesome towards the end of the show where motivation to primp the ponies was on the way out.
Both of these products also smell great! The Ready to Roll fragrance is a combination of Eucalyptus oil, peppermint and lemon and the Show Pony Shine fragrance smells like roses (though perhaps the latter is just my opinion). These Ponytail products are also great to use on yourself. I initially tested the Ready to Roll leave in conditioner on my own hair because when I first got it it was too cold to wash tails (and really, why not give it a go?). The result was that it left my hair soft and smooth without looking or feeling greasy. I was pretty impressed since I’m the queen of frizz.
Last but not least, let’s look at Ponytail’s Mane Stay. Have I regaled you all yet with tales of bloody, chapped fingers and long nights spent wrestling belligerent ponies while cursing every broken yarn and misplaced latch-hook? No? Well I’ll save those for another time then, but suffice it to say that even though I braid a ton of horses, I still find it to be a time consuming thankless job. When doing such a job it’s always nice to have tools that make it a little less awful.
Ponytail Mane Stay is one of those tools. There’s nothing more annoying than being unable to grip the overly scissored or ludicrously conditioned mane of a horse you need to get braided (especially when you have another five or six to go). Mane Stay works quite well to help tackify the mane enough that it lays better and is easier to grip. It is not so sticky that your hands end up black from every dirt particle imaginable adhering themselves to you, nor is it so strong that it burns all the places you’ve rubbed your fingers raw. Essentially it has got just the right amount of stick to be effective without being over the top. When using it, I generally spray a little on each braid as I braid in the yarn and then spray a final coating over the finished braids to help tame any stray hairs. The results have been quite nice so far on a variety of horses.
Mane Stay is available in an 8oz spray bottle for $12.
I think I’ve covered all the basics but here are a few final additional things worth noting that make Ponytail products so nice. They are entirely MADE IN THE USA, and that’s pretty awesome. The packaging is quite durable, particularly the spray bottles. That doesn’t sound hugely important but if you’ve ever had a sprayer break with 3/4 of the product left you know how annoying chincy packaging can be. These products are made with quality ingredients and the company adheres to the same standards of transparency as a company that manufactures products solely for people. What this means is that you actually know what you’re getting, and that’s nice.
Ultimately I feel like Ponytail offers excellent products that do indeed make grooming less difficult and time consuming. So far I’m quite impressed with their products and mission and I look forward to seeing what they bring us in the future.
Go Riding AND Grooming for the WIN!
Morgane Schmidt Gabriel is a 31-year-old teacher/artist/dressage trainer/show announcer/ who still hasn’t quite decided what she wants to be when she grows up. A native Floridian, she now lives in Reno, NV, where she’s been able to confirm her suspicion that snow is utterly worthless. Though she has run the gamut of equestrian disciplines, her favorite is dressage. She was recently able to complete her USDF bronze and silver medals and is currently working on her gold. Generally speaking her life is largely ruled by Woody, a 14.2 hand beastly quarter horse, Willie, a gawky 4-year-old Dutch gelding, and Stormy, her friend’s nearly all white paint gelding with a penchant for finding every mud hole and pee spot in existence. Visit her website at www.theideaoforder.com.