5 common myths about natural horse care
As awareness for the environment and the challenges we all now face with climate change come to the fore, we're seeing lot's of new customers thinking about switching to natural products for their horses (and quite often themselves).
There are so many horsecare products on the market and so many claims being made that it can be quite difficult for any of us to make sense of it all.
So we thought we'd explore some of the common myths about choosing natural and hopefully help dispel any concerns you might have.
1. Natural products are less effective
It's understandable to think that by using ingredients that are less harmful to the environment that they are therefore not as good at cleaning/conditioning/healing as synthetic ingredients.
Our experience has been completely the opposite! Historically, natural alternatives may have struggled to keep up with lab-grown chemicals in terms of performance and efficacy in the past, but those days are long-gone. Formulating with natural ingredients has come a long way and the mixes you see in the products we sell have developed over centuries of experience! More often than not, our suppliers have tested and refined their products on themselves and their own animals until they are 100% happy that the product works exactly as it says it will.
Many of our products are award-winning, trumping their synthetic rivals in countless 'Tried & Tested' panels. We made the decision to only sell horsecare products that we've tried and tested ourselves before selling them to you. We don't want to waste money (and create waste!) on stuff that doesn't work any more than you do.
2. It's more expensive
This is a common myth and largely untrue.
When comparing the price of our shampoos and hoof balms, for example, they fall completely in line with the bigger, more mainstream brands you'll find on the shelves of your local tack shop. The brands we stock will quite often sacrifice their own profit margins to a degree, to ensure that they are able to deliver a product that is not going to be harmful to the environment, is better for our horses AND is affordable.
The natural products we sell start at just £5.99, but like most things, you get what you pay for. If you're looking for a product with top quality organic ingredients (check out Wild Wash, Hawkins Organic or Topline Naturals if you are) then you're going to pay a little bit more for it.
3. All natural ingredients are always safer
Not necessarily. Poison ivy is natural, but you probably wouldn't want to go using it on your horses!
Some natural ingredients like palm oil, which may be found in many everyday foods and personal care products, can do tremendous environmental damage as we've seen in the Amazon Rainforest. We have a policy of avoiding any products made from palm oil here at Honest Riders.
Every horses skin reacts differently to ingredients so it's always good to patch test before you use a product. All of the brands we work with are experts in balancing the PH levels in their products and only work with essential oils that are know to be safe for use on horses (and usually dogs too!).
Did you know that thuja is highly irritating when used on horses externally, for example?
Having said that, you are much less likely to see skin reactions to natural products than those including SLS's and Parabens as these are much less in line with the PH balance of the horses skin. SLS's are used in synthetic products as they are good at cleaning, but very alkaline, so it disrupts the skin’s pH balance and important acid mantle - quite often causing drying and dandruff on the skin.
We wrote a blog post about why it's best to avoid products with SLS's and Parabens so if you want to know more, check it out.
4. All 'Natural' products are made equal
Did you know that in the human skincare and cosmetics world they only have to contain 1% naturally-sourced, plant-based or mineral ingredients to market themselves as being 'natural'?
With very little regulation over this terminology it's no wonder that we're all totally mind-boggled by what it actually means!
In our opinion 'natural' means that the product does not contain artificial ingredients, preservatives, SLS's, parabens, petro-chemicals and the ingredients are only minimally processed.
We believe the ingredients in a 'natural' product have to be naturally derived. This is in contrast to fossil fuel-derived or petrochemical ingredients, which are non-renewable synthetic ingredients that are not found in nature.
There is currently very little regulation in the world of horsecare, so we choose to sell brands that are clear about the ingredients they use and many have been certified by the likes of the Soil Association and the Ethical Company Organisation.
5. Natural products are bland
This couldn't be further from the truth!
It can be tempting to be lured by the delicious artificial scents used in synthetic products but once you've smelt some of the natural beauties we sell here you won't go back.
If you're into products that smell good enough to eat then check out Wild Wash Ultra Shine Shampoo, Hawkins Organic Winter Hoof Gel (seriously, this stuff is next-level incredi-smelling!) and Goodbye Flys (citrus-y goodness!).
If packaging is your thing, the stunning plastic-free Mother Bee range is definitely not to be overlooked - plus their products are top-notch when it comes to efficacy.
Hopefully this blog post has dispelled some of the myths you might have held about natural horse care and if you're thinking about making the switch, our recommendation is... DO IT! You'll never look back ;-)