Not all equestrian subscription boxes are made equally.
I create direct mail campaigns for a living. (Sadly, they’re for corporations instead of equestrians!) Because I deal with things like kit contents, copywriting, design, assembly, and shipping daily, my direct mail bar is especially high.
In this article, I’ll walk you through my first experience with SaddleBox, a popular monthly horse subscription box. You’ll also see photos of every item in my box (and a really annoying barn cat named Hot Dog).
Passing Fad or Here to Stay?
Though I’ve seen quite a few horse subscription box companies pop up in recent years, I had no experience with any of them.
Since I started tracking what my horse costs via monthly expense reports, I’ve cut way down on “just for fun” purchases. That’s probably why I was secretly chomping at the bit when SaddleBox offered me a free box to review.*
*Don’t worry: I’m sharing my honest opinions, which is exactly why you’ll see pros and cons in this review.
There seems to be a subscriptions box for literally everything these days, from bras to toothbrushes to smoothies, so companies really need to wow customers in order to stick around for the long run.
It’s not enough to stuff a bunch of junk in a box and ship it out. You have to provide quality products and a superior experience to keep customers coming back.
Would SaddleBox deliver? I was eager to find out.
What is SaddleBox?
In a nutshell, SaddleBox is a monthly box of treats, tack, and other equestrian goodies delivered right to your door.
What you need to know:
- SaddleBox helps horses find forever homes via their partnership with The Right Horse Initiative.
- Every box includes gourmet horse treats.
- You’ll discover new grooming tools and tack.
- They try to curate gifts and goodies you probably don’t already have.
- U.S. shipping is included.
What Was Inside?
I didn’t know what to expect from my first SaddleBox, so I erred on the side of not getting too excited. It would probably include 3-5 relatively inexpensive items that I’d seen countless times at my local ranch supply store.
I’m happy to report my first SaddleBox exceeded my expectations.
Every SaddleBox is different, but this example is a good indicator of the quality and quantity of items you’ll receive in this equestrian subscription box.
Let’s get into it!
Horse Print Scarf
I had one of those “have you been watching me?” moments when I pulled this teal horse print scarf out of my box.
If you look in my Amazon cart, you’ll see one almost exactly like it under “save for later.” #whatrethechances
This adorable fashion scarf is lightweight (read: summer/spring/fall), drapes nicely, and has a simple horse print.
It’s the kind of accessory that looks great around town with jeans and a solid color tee, or spruces up a dress and jean jacket for dinner out.
For me, I plan on packing this for every Big Sky Yoga Retreat. After a long day teaching groundwork at the ranch, I’ll clean up for happy hour and add this scarf for some equine flair!
Takeaway: SaddleBox reads minds.
I buy these exact treats for my horse all the time, so I was delighted to see a 1-pound package in my SaddleBox. (Not as delighted as my gelding will be, though.)
While they may not be as “decadent” as molasses-infused goodies like The German Horse Muffins, these apple nuggets are way more practical for daily use.
These treats are the perfect size for trick training and “carrot” stretches, and they’re packed with vitamins and minerals that are good for your horse.
I keep a little treat pouch full of them hooked to my grooming tote. After each ride, I grab a couple pellets for my horse’s post-workout stretches. (OK, I put an extra one in my pocket for pasture goodbyes, too.)
Plus, you get more than 80 treats in the 1-pound bag, so it lasts you a while. (The 4-pound bags include 300+ nuggets!)
Takeaway: Horse tested, equestrian approved.
Claeys Candies Peppermints
My horse must’ve put in a special request behind my back because SaddleBox included two bags of treats, not just one.
I’ll probably set these peppermints aside for special occasions (e.g. clinics, shows, baths, vet calls) since my horse will view these as a novelty he doesn’t usually get.
Our local ranch store sells a ton of these old fashioned candies, so they’re really popular.
Takeaway: Perfect for extra good behavior.
Decker Face Brush
This is hands-down my favorite item in the SaddleBox.
When I initially saw it, I worried it’d be another cheap body brush. (Who needs more of those in the world?) Upon closer inspection, though, I realized it was a luxuriously soft face brush.
Historically, my horse was pretty standoffish about his face being touched. He has some #strangerdanger issues, and I’ve spent years slowly getting him used to being handled — especially around his face.
Once he feels how soft this brush is, he’ll be begging everyone to come say hello.
Takeaway: Spa day. Delivered.
Tough-1 Bladed Curry
Here in Montana, we have five seasons instead of four: Summer, Fall, Winter, Mud, and Spring.
Regular rubber curry brushes are nice for light dirt removal, but they aren’t up to the task when you have an entire horse caked in mud and muck.
Bladed curry brushes, on the other hand, are time-saving wonders. They help transform my pasture mud ball back into something closely resembling a horse.
Typically, I use a round bladed curry like this. It’ll be interesting to see how the Tough-1 arc shape compares.
The one thing that’s noticeably nicer about the new curry is the ergonomic handle. (When you’re removing a ton of mud, it can be a real workout.)
Takeaway: Bring it on, mud season!
While I prefer “useful” items in a subscription box, it’s nice when companies throw in a few things just for fun.
My SaddleBox included two witty stickers that said, “Life is short. Hug your horse.” and “Notice: If my horse doesn’t like you, I probably won’t either.”
I’m not sure what I’ll do with them yet, but I appreciate the sentiments 🙂
Takeaway: More fun than useful.
Epona Woodpicker Hoof Pick
Next, I pulled out the Epona wooden hoof pick.
Let me start by saying, this immediately become the nicest hoof pick I own. It’s got a smooth wooden handle, leather hanging strap, and heavy-duty metal pick.
Plus, Epona is a small business that creates quality horse products — and I love that SaddleBox supports “the little guys.”
I could see keeping this in my trailer and using it at competitions, but I probably won’t switch to it for day-to-day grooming.
My current hoof pick includes a stiff brush, which is convenient for cleaning off loose dirt from the sole and outside of the hooves.
If the Epona model included a brush, I’d be a convert!
Takeaway: High quality for special occasions.
Epona All-Purpose Grooming Mitt
SaddleBox also included a cool grooming mitt from Epona.
It’s got nubby bristles that cleanse and scrub, and it helps the coat’s natural oils rise to the surface for a healthy shine.
After a little Googling, I learned you can use this wet (i.e. for bathing your horse) or dry (i.e. for daily grooming). It’s also machine washable, which is really handy.
I’m going to put it with my bath supplies and use it for lathering shampoo and conditioner into my horse’s coat.
Note: If you have larger hands, this item may be a bit tight around the wrist. I’m pretty small, and it fits snuggly.
Takeaway: Didn’t realize I needed it, but now I do.
As equestrians, there are some supplies you simply can’t have enough of… and this is one of them.
Rolls of flexible self-adhesive bandage are a MUST for your horse first aid kit (this one includes 3 rolls of CoFlex bandages to get you started).
When my horse punctured his knee (how, we still don’t know…) and was on stall rest for a month, I went through bandages like mad. I used this type of self-adhesive bandage as my top layer to hold all the other wound dressing in place.
Since his injury was on the inside of the knee (again, horse, HOW?), he moved that joint a lot. Using a bandage that held firmly, but allowed some movement, was essential.
Takeaway: Hope you don’t need it. (But, you will.)
How Much is a SaddleBox?
Each SaddleBox costs $34.95, but you get 15% off your first box when you enter coupon code “LOVEHORSES” at checkout.
(See more FAQs about SaddleBox subscriptions here.)
Worth it, Yay or Neigh?
Horse riding and ownership is expensive (#understatementoftheyear), and only you know your personal finances and priorities.
If you have some disposable income to play with, though, I think SaddleBox is a great way to:
- “Treat Yo Self” with something that’s actually fun vs. farrier and vet bills.
- Discover new grooming and horse care products.
- Spoil your horse with yummy treats!
- It’s filled to the brim: I was surprised to find so many items in a single box.
- I’ll use almost everything: I didn’t see this coming, and the quality of items impressed me.
- It’s the perfect gift: It even made our list of 18 gift ideas for equestrians who seem to have everything.
- Little touches go a long way: From the handwritten note to the featured rescue horse, exploring my box was a fun and memorable experience.
- The math checks out: You’d spend a lot more to buy all the items retail.
|Item||Average Retail Cost|
|Bumper Stickers (2)||$8.00|
- It’s one-size-fits-all: Products are broadly appealing vs. specific to your horse, discipline, or preferences.
- Duplicates are possible: As with any “surprise” box, there’s a possibility you’ll receive something you already own.
- You may have questions: It’d be helpful if the box included an info card describing each of the products.
- Monthly costs add up: If you subscribe for a year, that’s $400+ that isn’t going toward board, lessons, shows, etc.*
*If my box is any indication, though, you’ll receive ~$600-800 worth of items (estimated retail value) throughout the year.
Bottom Line: Treat Yo Self!
Getting my SaddleBox was just plain fun — there, I said it.
If you’re looking for an equestrian gift, excuse to spoil yourself (and your horse), or simply want to expand your collection of horse supplies, check out SaddleBox.
If you’re tight on cash, but still want to do something nice for yourself, gift yourself a single box. (Or subscribe and simply cancel after your first box.)
I’m pretty sure this won’t be my last SaddleBox 🙂
P.S. Enjoy this article? Trot on over to:
- 18 Gift Ideas for Horse Owners Who Seem to Have Everything
- Shelby Dennis & Milo’s Equestrian Gift Guide
- 12 Gifts Barn Owners, Managers & Workers Will Actually Love
- Horse Rookie Equestrian Gift Ideas
- Head-to-Tail Buyer’s Guide to the Best Horse Riding Gear