Category Archives: Horse Care

Small Business Saturday Is November 24, 2018

,small business saturdaySmall business Saturday is celebrated in the United States this year on November 24, 2018. It began in 2010 and has grown into a way to welcome local patronage to brick and mortar shopping and create a hometown atmosphere in person or online. Shopping small means you support your community, neighborhoods and local establishments.

Big Dee's then and now

Big Dee’s Tack and Vet Supplies is one of your local hometown companies. From humble beginnings at a local race track to our storefront in Streetsboro, Ohio, Big Dee’s Tack and Vet Supplies has grown into a pillar of your community. Through the guidance of Dennis Osterholt, “Big D”, the family-owned business philosophy continues.  Most of our employees own horses or have horses in their backgrounds. Employees that share your interests in all things horse and hound, english, western or racing,  give you a customer experience second to none!

At Big Dee’s Tack and Vet Supplies, our mission is to serve you in a polite, friendly, most competent way. We offer saddle, helmet, and blanket fitting tips. Gifts for all your critters. A clothing selection sure to please and holiday specials throughout the store and online. Join special offerour customer loyalty program and receive special discounts throughout the year.

In years past shoppers set records all across the country sharing their support of small businesses just like ours. In the spirit of giving and being grateful for families and friends, shopping small means promoting our community in a national way.

So, shop small America and share your support for local family-owned companies just like Big Dee’s Tack and Vet Supplies! Support your friends and neighbors and the local economy along the way. From our family to yours we extend a happy holiday invitation to stop in for a cup of hot chocolate this season and to shop small!cup of cocoa

Written by: Big Dee’s Web Products specialist, Kathy Kilbane



horses running

No matter what horsepower you are taking care of this winter, a sports car, boat or our 4-legged friends preparation is key to keep performance high.  Heading into fall all horse owners, stable owners, horse lovers, trainers, and riders should be thinking ahead to  fall horse care before the first flakes fly or cold weather strikes.

An Ounce of Prevention

Horse activities may be slowing down but much like a boat or a seasonal vehicle, your horse needs care going into the winter months. No, you don’t need to pull the battery, shrink wrap and dry dock, or add more antifreeze but you will need to give this some thought. Beyond buying a blanket, fall health maintenance is a consideration. While cooler temperatures diminish insect-born disease, core vaccines and boosters could be needed. Mares who will be foaling bay foal standing beside grey mareduring the winter months need to be on a vaccine schedule consistent  with their due date. Likewise, foals that are weaned this fall will begin their own vaccination schedule. Check the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) website for recommended vaccine guidelines. Set up a herd health review with your veterinarian. Most veterinarians recommend at minimum vaccines, deworming and teeth floating.

Horse Care 101

Blanketing is a personal decision depending on your horse’s job. If he is a pasture pal he could get by with just a turnout rug for wet weather. Horses are generally healthy being out in the elements if they have a shelter, water, and forage. If you are on the show circuit, finishing or continuing your race meet, blanketing will be necessary to ensure a lighter hair coat for competition. Heavy exercise in cold weather can make cool-out time longer. Blanketing and clipping can help. Remember, stabled horses need year-round daily exercise and plenty of hay and water through their day to avoid health issues. hay bag tied to trailerUsing slow feed hay nets is a great idea for stabled horses and could cut down on hay cost. You may decide to pull your horse’s shoes. Just like checking your tires for the winter be prepared with an easy boot or two in the barn to handle any hoof issues that may crop up during turnout on frozen ground.


Is that a word? Nothing is more aggravating than a downed board in bay horse walking in pasturethe middle of winter during the worst snowstorm…it always happens that way am I right? Avoid this scenario by taking a walk-about to check fencing.  Pick up fencing tools and repair items, and keep a toolkit in the tack room.

It is the perfect time of year! Fly free weather is around the corner. So trail riding on bridle pathenjoy trail riding through the leaves, showing or racing.  Remember “There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man”, Winston Churchill.  Take care of your horse and he will take care of you!

Written by  Big Dee’s Web Products Specialist, Kathy Kilbane


All That Glitters Is Not Always Gold

Fair and fall show seasons evoke so many great memories. Starting out on my little Shetland pony and graduating to breed shows and beyond grounded me in life lessons too many to count! Preparation and professionalism being top-of-list and, always do and look your best.

There are several considerations to make when sprucing up show clothing or choosing a new show outfit. Horse show associations usually have rules governing attire. For example, the hunt seat hunt coat division usually requires show coats in traditional conservative colors while the western division is more liberal. The right color can have a favorable or adverse effect on your desired outcome. Take a look at these questions to get started. Will you be showing indoor under artificial light or outside in the bright sunshine emojisunshine? What color is your horse? What color is your tack and saddle pad? Can you just dress in your favorite colors? Answers to these questions will weigh heavily on your decision as you put together the perfect show ready ensemble.

Let’s unpack this

coat color chartAlways start with silhouette and clean lines. Choose a color to compliment your horse’s coat color. For example, chestnuts look good in earth tones where a bay looks good in jewel tones. It is the same as finding the perfect dress to match your own hair and skin tone. Go to a department store and cruise the towel section. There is usually a great selection of colors. Choose a bath towel that most matches the color you are thinking of using.  Shades of blue or green will work with most coat colors. Black and dark colors are always versatile and a good choice.

Evaluate to uncomplicate

Now take the towel to the barn and drape it on your horse like a saddle pad in the cross-ties and stand back to evaluate. Enlist someone’s help to take your horse to the indoor arena and outdoor paddock and stand at a distance similar to where a judge would stand (50-100 feet away) to see what the color actually looks like. At the show, take time while not showing to watch other classes. Look for horses with coat color similar to your horse and make note of how color plays a big role in overall appearance.

western show jacket and pad
Pulling it together

After settling on your new color, be sure it looks good on you too. Use a subdued “cool” version of that color as your base and then accessorize. Add a complimentary saddle pad or blanket to accent outfit and tack to pull everything together.

In the western division, the amount of bling you add will depend on where you are showing. Sequenced and jeweled outfits will play better indoor under soft light. If showing primarily outdoor, give careful consideration to the placement of your shimmer and shine, and factor in how the sun’s reflection will affect your ride. 

Hunt boot
Boot detail

For the purist, bling is frowned upon in the hunt seat division, although some leeway is afforded for tall boot detail, helmet bling, and shirt color. From the judge’s perspective, if you are wearing a lot of bling in showmanship or under saddle your position must be spot-on. Light sparkling from your outfit or tack appointments will be a beckon for anything out of position. After all, you want to draw attention to your performance not blind the judge!

A stitch in time

Tailored show clothing will make a big difference. Hunt coats, and western show jacket, vests and blouses should be form fitted. Attire for boys and men should be conservation, pressed, and 4-H graphiccomplementary to the class. Call your local 4-H extension office to find a seamstress. They can put you in touch with sewing clubs in your county. Your outfit could be a 4-Hers projects for the year. Equitation and horsemanship clothing that moves in the breeze at a canter or lope can translate into looking out of position and could cost you a ribbon.

I know children grow, sometimes overnight! Be sure western pants are long enough to cover the boot to the heel while mounted. If your child shows in short stirrup classes and wears jodhpurs and paddock boots, don’t forget the garters or knee straps.

Budget friendly tip

injured piggy bank

Don’t feel like you need to break the bank. Buy a couple neutral pieces to base your show wardrobe around. Invest in a  great western hat and keep it in a hat carrier so it will hold its shape longer. Keep your boots and tack clean and polished. Nothing says lack of preparation like a misshapen western hat or dusty hunt boots! Hey, you could use the towel you bought to clean your boots!

medals Remember, it is not the outfit that shines through but the preparation and performance that gets the gold.

Written by Big Dee’s Web Product Specialist, Kathy Kilbane

Versatile Riding – New Chinks at Big Dee’s!

A surge of interest in the ranch styles of riding has also brought the need for more equestrian tack and apparel to be readily available for these needs. At Big Dee’s, we pride ourselves on listening to customer feedback – so we knew we needed to get quality chinks in, fast! We would like to introduce the New Weaver Leather Chinks, available in three sizes and two different colors!

Chaps or Chinks?

Both chaps and chinks are made from leather and protect the rider’s legs from brush, kicks, weather and other ranch dangers. So what’s the difference? Chaps run the full length of the rider’s legs, whereas chinks end just below the knee but above the ankle. Long chaps tend to catch on underbrush when riding the trail. While working on the ranch, chinks protect the thigh when roping and dragging cattle, logs or fence posts.  They serve a working purpose and are simulated in the ranch horse trail and pleasure division.

Chinks tend to have a large volume of fringe attached to the bottom of the leather. These are a go-to for having the similar protection of chaps, but with less bulk for ease of movement and breath-ability. But there is a distinction as Ranch riding classes are working classes so chinks should not be decorated with a lot of silver or excessive fringe like rodeo or trick riding apparel.

Weaver Top Grain Leather Chinks with Basketweave Yoke
Weaver Top Grain Leather Chinks with Basketweave Yoke

Ranch Classes

Think of ranch classes as ranch work meets trail, meets reining. This division is the fastest growing segment of our industry and  combines elements of all these along with a natural, free-moving, alert horse. Emphasis is place on a working outfit from saddle to personal appointments. Chinks are definitely part of the ensemble. If you are out rounding up cattle you don’t want to be wearing bright or shiny clothing. Tall top boots with the pants tucked in are also favored. Be reserved with a square or round toe and use a 15inch shaft height.  Detail in the overlay or stitching is appropriate.

Clothing needed to compete:

Chinks are not just limited to ranch horse classes. They are also becoming popular in other equine sports and riding including; Mounted Shooting, Trail Riding, Western Dressage and more!

Weaver Pull Up Leather Chinks with Basketweave Yoke
Weaver Pull Up Leather Chinks with Basketweave Yoke

Weaver Leather Chinks

The two new chinks are sure to impress! We now carry a chocolate leather pull-up  with contrasting basket weave accents and antique berry conchos. The second option is top grain natural colored with contrasting basket weave details. The quality and craftsmanship of both styles will not only hold up for every day use if desired, but also look stunning at a show!

Written by Marketing Associate Cassie Huprich and Web Products Specialist Kathy Kilbane

On The Road Again


So… you are ready to go to your chosen equine event. You prepared through training, many many hours in the saddle and even survived a multitude of lessons. Your horse is in optimum shape and you see success around the corner. However, your event requires you to haul your horse. Just a few simple hauling tips will keep you and your horse in good shape.

Roadways can be brutal with all the road construction these days. Traveling at night may be a good idea to possibly limit your chances of being stuck in a traffic jam; orange construction barrelsno you cannot unload and practice your pole bending pattern around the orange barrels to pass the time. Night hauling also reduces the temperature in the trailer and the number of crazies on the road. Having hauled horses coast to coast, I can tell you stories that defy all logic when it comes to being cut off, expected to stop a loaded 6-horse trailer with living quarters and extended cab truck on a dime, or having to deal with those that hang in your blind spot with the kids pointing and waving at the horses. Am I right? Maybe I should write a book instead of a blog!

During long distance and local hauls in the summer months, heat can definitely affect the trailering experience for your horse. Be sure to use window screens and open the trailer roof vent for air circulation. Use fly spray to keep your horses comfortable and curtail stomping on the trailer. And go high tech with the trailer eyes video system to keep an eye on your precious cargo through your smartphone.

Gimme a Break

The constant motion of the trailer or being confined can stress your horse out. Increases and decreases in speed, changing lanes and stopping and starting all require your horse to balance and lock his legs. Bed your trailer with thick sawdust or shaving and consider wrapping all four legs using a leg quilt for support. Taking frequent breaks to water your horses and replenish hay will keep them occupied and their gut functioning properly. Break time also gives them a chance to unlock their legs. When you stop, open windows and doors for fresh air. A good rule of thumb is to take a 20-minute break every 4-hours and offer water.  When parking, try to find a shaded area if possible. Also, keep in mind it might be unsafe to unload.


Reservation, please

If your trip takes you overnight do some homework, call ahead, and make arrangements at a fairgrounds or horse hotel/campground to layover. Check websites for help. It is surprising how inexpensive this is and how your horse will benefit from the break. Carry plenty of hay, grain and, if possible, a 24-hour supply of water. For those horses being transported, start adding a flavored drink mix or powdered jello to their water buckets about a week before the trip. Add just enough to give it a fruity odor. Local water at your destination can smell and taste different to your horse. Continue to add these mixes when watering and your horse will be less likely to refuse to drink.  Avoiding dehydration is always important.  Remember to take some electrolytes just in case and keep an eye on the amount of urine and manure your horse is producing.

 Here’s your sign

Know the equine vital signs. Talk to your veterinarian. Think of it as packing the car for vacation; have a checklist so you do not forget anything. If your horse is on any daily supplement or medication be sure to continue your regimen as prescribed by your veterinarian. Put together an equine first aid kit complete with bandage material, scissors, vet wrap, calming supplements, colic prevention, and a thermometer. Try to keep your horse on a similar feeding schedule, but reduce grain intake during your trip. Inactivity may cause intestinal issues. Check the health certificate requirements for your event. Set up a veterinary farm call to discuss and booster vaccines when appropriate.

Just like the scouts…be prepared for anything horse and trailer related. Pack a spare tire and a spare halter and lead. Carry a trailer ramp for changing flats and road flares or reflective marker to identify a breakdown. Pack a fire extinguisher. Have your truck and trailer serviced and be sure your emergency braking system is in working order. Your road trip will be less stressful with a little pre-planning. Oh and don’t forget your road snacks and horse treats!

Good luck and may the best horse and rider win! champion ribbon



Written by Web Products Specialist Kathy Kilbane

Clean brushes for healthy horses!

Horse Brushes are quite possibly one of the most collected, and frequently used tools in the barn. Whether your go-to brush is a synthetic mud brush or a natural fiber body brush, any brush is going to get dirty with time. Before you condemn you favorites to the bottom of the bag or worse… read on about how to clean brushes for the health of your horse and the longevity to your grooming kit!

Do I really need to clean my brushes?

Dirty Brushes
Dirty brushes can harbor bacteria, fungus and creepy crawlies.

Not only are dirty brushes unsightly but they can also harbor fungus, bacteria and even creepy crawlies. Taking a moment to clean your brushes not only helps to extend their life, but also helps to ensure that your horse is getting the best and healthiest grooming possible. Plus it is really tough to get a horse really clean with a gross, dirty brush. If you are Continue reading Clean brushes for healthy horses!

A Halter for Every Horse!

There are many great options for which halter best suits your horse’s needs – read about them below!

Quiet Creek Triple Stitched Leather Halter
Quiet Creek Triple Stitched Leather Halter


Leather halters are a timeless classic to have in the barn.  They are so versatile and sturdy for all of your needs. Fancy stitched halters look great with for shows and pictures. Triple stitch halters are durable for training and trailering and showcase nameplates beautifully. Even a basic leather halter can be used for everyday turnout while still being durable and attractive! Leather allows them to be breakaway, so when a horse pulls back, the crown piece will pull out of the hardware so they can escape from injury. If you are shipping, check out the wool and acrylic fleece lining to provide extra comfort for the ride!


Nylon halters are as versatile as they are fun to match with other tack! The options are just about endless on finding fun, classic and thoroughbred style halters. These halter are fairly inexpensive. Use them for walking horses to and from pastures, as a backup when trail riding, bathing and more!

Padded Nylon

Padded nylon halters  have all the perks of a traditional nylon halter, with the added benefit of padding on the crown and noseband. Sensitive skinned horses benefit from the additional padding.



Rope halters are a great tool for both natural horsemanship and day-to-day wear. Due to special placed pressure points, the horse learns what is being asked while still being humane and comfortable. They  halters come in an array of colors, with varying nose bands from leather wrapped to beaded designs.


Breakaway halters are perfect for turnout and using with a grazing muzzle. The leather crown piece allows the horse to slip out of their halter with pressure, avoiding injury or worse when a horse gets caught. Any halter can be turned into a breakaway by simply adding a leather crown piece.


Beta Halters are soft, durable and very easy to clean! In addition, they come in a wide range of colors to match both tack and barn colors. The beta material is sleek and easily adjustable to get the right fit.

Dale Chavez Show Halter with Floral Swirl Silver
Dale Chavez Show Halter with Floral Swirl Silver


Stock horse show halters are of the highest quality leather, silver accents and hardware. Designs  highlight the horse’s best features and be memorable to the judges. The leather is supple and the silver plates are just pliable enough to fit the halter just perfectly to your horse. While dark leather is traditional, but you can also rock a lighter oil (link) on the right horse! Quality leather leads with a chain (link)are also a crucial part of the showmanship and halter horse presentation. Brands like Dale Chavez andTory Leather offer great options for the show ring!

Miniature Horse Products

Miniature Horse Products

Having miniature horses means there is  always a struggle to find items that fit. Most are too small or way too big. Below are some products that I have tried and LOVE for my miniature horses. All of my minis are 34” and under.

Wahl KM10 2 Speed Horse Clipper

I have always struggled with finding clippers that will work on minis thick winter hair. Getting ready for show season takes a lot of time and effort. Why not have clippers that work! I really like the Wahl KM 10 clippers for this job! They are light and easy to handle with a really long cord. I have had my pair for a couple years now and they are still going strong! As for clipper blades, I like the Wahl  Ultimate Competition Series Blades If taken care of and oiled every ten minutes, these last me about 5-10 horses doing a full body clip.

600D Miniature Midweight Turnout Blanket with Bellyband
600D Miniature Midweight Turnout Blanket Bellyband
Horse Wear

Another problem I have is finding a blanket and halter that fit these little guys. My favorite blanket is the 600D Miniature Midweight Turnout Blanket Bellyband Style. These fit really well and do not slide around on the horse and I love the belly band. As for halters, I like the Country Tack Miniature Horse Nylon Halter.  Most of mine wear the average mini size.

Tough 1 Miniature Surcingle
Tough 1 Miniature Surcingle

The Miniature Training Surcingle and the Miniature Side Reins are what I use when teaching how to ground. Both are a must have for breaking a mini to drive! My favorite bit is the Weaver  Driving Snaffle. This bit is great for starting out a driving horse.

Mini Biothane Driving Harness
Mini Biothane Driving Harness

As for a harness I use the Biothane Mini Harness. This fits your A and B type minis very well and is approved for show with both AMHA and AMHR shows. The Mini Hay Bag by Tough 1 is the perfect size for using in the trailer. It is durable and my horses really enjoy eating from it.

I have experience with all of these items and use then all the time on my minis!

Written by Custom Service Representative – Jennifer Williamson

New Dressage Items at Big Dee’s

Anyone else Dressage junkies like me? This year we are introducing a lot of new Dressage items into our already large repertoire. Let’s looks a bit deeper into the new items that we are offering you this show and training season.

Equla Vert Unit
Equla Vert Unit

First of all – coolest invention ever. Not only does the Equla Vert Unit sensor keep track of your speed on a Cross Country course telling you to slow down or speed up, it also alerts you on when your horse is correctly and incorrectly using its head on the vertical. A Dressage riders dream!  This unit is ideal for training and cross country, allowing the rider to glance at the unit indicator lights without lowering their gaze on the course or arena.

HKM Rose Gold English Stirrups
HKM Rose Gold English Stirrups

Two words. Rose. Gold. And they are beautiful!

These HKM stirrups are not only affordable, but modern and stylish. You can now match your iPhone. No need to replace the rubber grips anymore as they are built into the stirrup, which is easy cleaning for you! These gorgeous new stirrups are aluminum, which also means they are rust free.

And here is another great thing…matching rose gold spurs!

One K Defender Avannce with Rose Gold Stripe
One K Defender Avance with Rose Gold Stripe

Not to mention the new One-K Defender helmets with the rose gold stripe. Ride in style!

Kavalkade Dressage Saddle Pad

These new pads were made with the horse in mind. Complete with a mesh strip down the spine for ventilation while riding, and a large quilted square wave pattern for padding. The contoured style allows a better fit on the horses withers. This pad has 300g of padding and 9 mm of foam. Whoa. Comfort! I guarantee your horse will feel the difference and thank you. And even better, Kavalkade has  fly veils too!

HKM Dressage Glitter Boots

These boots right here are why dressage is my passion. Glitter boots and bell boots. They are another flashy new product by HKM. The leg boots are anatomically formed to fit your horses’ legs with a soft shock absorbing fill and 3 strong elastic bands for a secure hold. Both the bell boots and leg boots are lined with a faux fur to add another layer of protection and comfort for your horse!

C4 Bit Pattern Belt

The C4 belts have come out with another cute style – bits! They come in navy, grey, hunter, and black. These belts are one size fits most, even kids! You just size to where you need it, and cut off the extra for an easy fit, 100% recyclable and no animal products used to make them. There are endless combinations as you can switch out the buckles! The C4 belt comes in solids and patterns. They even have a dressage horse pattern and one that looks like leather! Wear with breeches, or just your everyday jeans.

Shires Leatherette Bag Collection
Shires Leatherette Bag Collection


     Shires Leatherette Bag Collection

It’s almost show season! Our new 9 piece storage and carrying bags by Shires are exactly what you need to keep everything clean and stored properly. This navy collection accented with leather handles and straps and has a features “wipe clean” outer shell. Simple and sophisticated. There is a tall boot bag, bridle bag, carry all bag, saddle bag, garment bag, grooming tote, helmet bag,  tote bag, and a matching saddle cover. Arrive at your horse shows in style and organized

Written by Customer Service Representative –Laura Brubaker


Are you show ready?


The popular saying “you never get a second chance at making a good first impression,” is very true when it comes to showing your horse. Whether you are showing in halter ot under saddle, your entrance into the arena is the moment that the judge gives you his/her undivided attention to make his initial assessment. When you come into the ring, the first thing the judge will notice is your horse’s overall appearance and presentation. This is your wow moment.

Grooming pays a huge part in overall eye appeal, no matter what the class is. Getting a horse ready for the show ring is not something that can be done in a few minutes. Grooming for the show ring should begin long before show day. It s as much a part of a horse’s everyday routine as is feeding!

Here are a couple of my favorites available right here at Big Dee’s!

Wahl BrushesA Good Quality Show Brush: Wahl carries a series of mane and tail brushes, soft to stiff body brushes and face brushes! They come in different affordable colors and maintain good quality!

Horse Shavers are perfect for on the go at a show

Horse Shavers:  We do all we can to prepare for the show ring but let’s be honest, we forget things! Thankfully Big Dee’s has already thought of that! A popular last minute touch up is our little handy dandy Horse Shavers! They will fit easily in a grooming tote or even in your pocket. You slowly glide over the area with unwanted hairs and they vanish!

Shapley's Show Touchups

Shapleys Touch Up Spray: Need to cover up scars, stains, flaws & blemishes? Shapley’s touch up spray is your friend! It comes in many different colors to match up to your horse. Shapley’s also works well to keep in case of a last minute spill on show clothes too!

World Champion Pepi for a brilliant shine!

World Champion Pepi Coat Shine:  This coat conditioner defiantly lives up to its name! Easy to use, gentle on the skin and leaves coat looking show ready! Brings our superior shine!  

Lycra Hoods - Keep your horse clean!

Lycra Hoods:  Night before the show and everything is done, but what to do to keep those braids in-tact, flyaways – away, and keep horse as clean as possible? A Sleazy! Full body or head and shoulder hoods work amazing in favor of the showing equestrian! Big Dee’s carries all sorts of colors and options for every horse & rider combo. Just be sure not to keep it too tight, it may rub on horse.

There are so many products to assist you and your horse to get ready for the show ring but the most important is to remember to smile and have fun!

Written by Customer Service Representitive – Jasmyn Bethune