10 handy horse-related applications for used toothbrushes

Mushy old toothbrushes can be extremely useful tools at the horse stables. In fact, plenty of equestrians keep cast-off toothbrushes in their horse grooming kits or tack boxes for a host of practical purposes. (No, most of us don’t brush our horses’ teeth.)

Equestrians and horse lovers probably replace personal toothbrushes regularly – just like many dentists instruct us to do. In fact, the American Dental Association recommends individuals toss out old toothbrushes every three months.

Instead of throwing away those soggy old toothbrushes, smart horse lovers hold onto them for use at the barn. Following are ten examples of ways used toothbrushes may come in handy for anyone who cares for horses. Thoroughly cleaned, soft old toothbrushes can be useful barn equipment for many practical purposes.

Adapted by this user from ABSFreePic image.
1. Applying hoof polishes and dressings

Hoof dressings (such as hoof blackeners, oils, pine tar, polishes, and other products) can be quite sticky and messy. An old toothbrush makes the ideal application tool.

2. Mixing equine medications

Equine veterinarians often prescribe medicines and nutritional supplements for horses, and these compounds may arrive in powdered or concentrated form. Some may even be produced in caplets, which must be crushed and diluted with water before administering them to horses. An old toothbrush serves as a super stirring tool for whipping up doses of medicines for equines, as it fits neatly into smaller containers.

3. Stirring up bran mash or beet pulp

If a horse owner wants to treat an equine to a bucket of warm, soupy bran mash or beet pulp, an old toothbrush makes a super stirrer.

4. Cleaning tack

Equestrians invest considerable funds in their bridles, reins, martingales, girths, surcingles and other leather training and horse show equipment. Cleaning and polishing this gear helps to keep these items supple and presentable and to preserve them for long-term use. A soft old toothbrush can be a useful tool for scrubbing oils, sweat, mildew, and debris from buckles, loops, and leather straps on horse tack.
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5. Scrubbing bits

After use, a horse’s bit can be grimy and tarnished and covered with gunk. A soft toothbrush is ideal for scrubbing the bit clean. A dab of whitening toothbrush makes this task even easier – and adds a horse-friendly minty taste as well.

6. Conditioning a saddle

A quality leather English or Western saddle is a sturdy investment for any equestrian. Horseback riders tend to guard their saddles carefully, cleaning and conditioning them faithfully. A brand-new leather saddle must be conditioned extensively. Leather saddles need to be treated periodically (after cleaning) with an oil or leather conditioning product. A clean, but extra mushy, toothbrush is handy for applying these products into the many nooks and crannies of a well-crafted equestrian saddle.

7. Cleaning stall buckets

Each horse’s feed and water buckets must be cleaned regularly. Old toothbrushes are great for scrubbing out food residue, slimy stains, and other messes from these containers.

8. Polishing equestrian helmets

A horseback rider’s own head protection gear may become grimy with repeated use. A clean used toothbrush is super for scrubbing stains from an equestrian safety helmet.

9. Polishing boots

Equestrian paddock boots, cowboy boots, and tall leather riding boots can quickly become dusty, muddy or worse at the barn. A ratty old toothbrush is perfectly suited to cleaning and shining riding boots. The bristles fit neatly beneath laces and zippers, into tooling, along insole lines, and under heels.

10. Brushing a barn dog’s teeth.

Dogs tend to be part of the scene at the horse barn. Pet owners often find old, soft toothbrushes useful for cleaning their canine companions’ teeth every once in a while.

Here’s the most important tip, when using old toothbrushes.

It’s important to mark them clearly for their specific purposes. Of course, it’s essential to label used toothbrushes (with stickers or permanent markers), so they will be devoted to their exclusive uses. No one would want to stick a pine tar or saddle soap toothbrush into a food or oral medication container or an animal’s mouth.

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