Check out these must-have items from the SmartPak team.
My assignment was to pick five things from the SmartPak booth at the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event, but since I’m a firm believer in the phrase the more the merrier, I decided to get some outside help. I roped in five lovely SmartPak employees to give me the inside scoop on their favorite products. (Sorry for the ambush SmartPak team!)
Ian Macartney: Nantucket Ergonomic Dressage Bridle
As my first victim, Ian was probably thinking “who is this person” when I walked into the booth and started creeping on the staff. But as soon as I said the magic words, “What’s your favorite product,” he immediately got into the fun. Ian had a tough time deciding between the Nantucket Ergonomic Dressage Bridle and the SmartPak Soft Padded Leather Halter. While he did say that he admired the Amish craftsmanship on the halter, the ergonomic design of the dressage bridle won out in the end.
This bridle features high-quality English leather combined with soft, comfortable padding. The crown piece offers poll relief, complete with a 2-inch air gap. The anatomic noseband and curved crystal browband won’t put pressure on your horse’s sensitive TMJ and nerve clusters near the nose. You won’t have to worry about a flash restricting your horse’s breathing with this bridle– the ergonomic flash avoids squeezing the airways. Have a sensitive horse? The integrated noseband stabilizes the bit and makes the aids clearer.
Annina McMillan: SmartStride Ultra
Annina McMillan is the go-to supplement wonder woman at the SmartPak booth. Her favorite product at LRK3DE is the SmartStride Ultra, and let me tell you, she could tell me all about it without even a glance at the back of the label. Annina was explaining to me that this supplement was her favorite because it not only supported joint health, but also contains support for bone and soft tissue, too.
According to the SmartPak website, a 28-day research study at Texas A&M found that this supplement supported joint health and increased range of motion in the hock. Not only does it have tried and true ingredients, including glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate, it also has boron for bone health and collagen and silica to support your horse’s tendons and ligaments.
In one three minute conversation, Annina had me convinced that this was the supplement for me. My 23-year-old show horse could absolutely use this supplement to keep him thriving and happy in his retirement.
Megan Kantor: SmartMesh Ultimate Fly Sheet
Megan gave me the low-down on the SmartMesh Ultimate Fly Sheet. Megan and her horse have put this blanket through its paces. Apparently, she has a blanket destroyer. And judging by the look on her face, this blanket-destroying horse could put most other hard-on-blankets horses to shame. I’m picturing blankets hanging off his back in ribbons or viciously stomped into the mud.
The SmartMesh Ultimate Fly Sheet has reportedly held up brilliantly for her and her horse for the past couple years, with no issues to report. The secret to her success is most likely embedded in the fabric itself, which is a durable ripstop material. If your horse truly hulks out and really does destroy its blanket, no worries– it’s backed by SmartPak’s 3-Year Durability Guarantee. It’s also a good choice if you’re located somewhere with particularly toasty summers. The lightweight and breathable fine mesh offers maximum airflow to stop your horse from overheating.
If your horse is a sensitive nelly like mine, you’ll appreciate the belly band closure and removable neck cover for complete insect protection.
Sophia Hall: Slow Feed Hay Bags
As soon as I mentioned the phrase “your favorite SmartPak product,” Sophia essentially sprinted to these SmartPak Slow Feed Hay Bags. Sophia swears by these sturdy bags. She leaves hers outside 24/7/365 and has had them for several years and hasn’t needed to replace them yet. The gator mouth allows her to stuff the bags without needing fifteen extra sets of hands. While the SmartPak website advertises them in two and four flake sizes, Sophia says these puppies can handle quite a lot of hay.
According to the SmartPak website, even the craftiest horses won’t be able to open the hook and loop closures that hold this bag closed. It comfortably fits 10 to 15 pounds of hay that your horse can enjoy through 1.5-inch or 2-inch square holes. If your horse is an easy keeper, stall-bound, or prone to GI issues, this hay net is a great way to provide entertainment and continuous access to forage.
Brigid Thompson: SmartTherapy ThermoBalance Ceramic Mesh Sheet
Just like Sophie, Brigid hardly had to think before running over to this SmartTherapy ThermoBalance Ceramic Mesh Sheet when I asked her what her favorite product was. She uses it personally on her own horses on a regular basis. Even her coworkers automatically pointed to the Mesh Sheet when they heard me ask what her favorite product was.
This sheet can be used year-round thanks to the combination of mesh and ThermoBalance fabric. Ideal for cold-backed, stiff, or performance horses, throw this blanket on your horse before you ride to increase circulation and warm up those muscles, or use it after a tough event to hasten recovery. The ergonomic fit, shoulder gussets, and fleece padding at the wither ensure your horse can relax in comfort.
We always live for a trip through the SmartPak booth each year at Kentucky — be sure to snag your favorite items from this list online, and stop by in 2024 for even more great finds.
This article is brought to you thanks to support from — you guessed it — SmartPak. Go SmartPak and go riding!