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Horse Tack, Horse Equipment, Tack Shop
Somewhere along the line, a few entrepreneurs figured out that they could start to make similar items for friends and family who were too busy to make their own, and pretty soon cottage industries were springing up all over. This started the hunt for cheap, readily available materials that could be bought in mass and quickly turned into profitable items.
Enter Neoprene. In 1931 Du Pont Industries introduced the first 'Duroprene' a material developed from a petroleum derivative. Due to its resemblance to rubber, enough was known about how to handle the material for it to be marketed and, whilst some of its properties were poorer than those exhibited by natural rubber, it had a much greater oil and chemical resistance. This gave it a niche market and it went into production in 1931 as Neoprene.
During the 50s and 60s Neoprene was used in everything from automotive parts, wetsuits, sports gear and of course horse products.Its resistance to oil and chemical compounds were a big selling point as was its heat retaining qualities - making it perfect for divers to keep out the cold in depths of water by wrapping themselves in a neoprene wetsuit. Dupont spent a lot of money marketing this material and, as a result it became more widely used, more readily available and cheaper to buy.
This rush to neoprene became even more popular in the 70s and 80s when the growth in manufacturing led the larger companies to start looking to production overseas.
Manufacturers could now find factories in Asia and buy ready made 'off the shelf' designs that the factories were churning out by the thousands. If you'e ever wondered why so many horse wear products look alike, there's your answer. Many of these factory's designers have never even been around a horse, much less studied all the nuances needed to make horse safety equipment. Yet manufacturers buy up factory ready made designs, slap on a logo and off they go. The reason you will find so much neoprene in use is because most of these factories have it on their floors in huge bulk quantities.
1. Is it suitable for the job?
2. Is it the best option currently available?
3. Will it withstand heat and sweat build up?
4. Does it inhibit the growth of bacteria and fungus?
5. Will it be ultra comfortable?
6. Is it Eco Friendly and able to be recycled?
The Bio Foams that Majyk Equipe uses check all these boxes. Neoprene does not.
Even the newer 'Limestone' neoprene comes up short.The newer limestone based neoprene also boasts up to 23% more heat retention, which is why the wetsuit manufacturers are singing its praises. This is great for wetsuits. Not so much for horse wear. Limestone neoprene is made from quarries and therefore creates less carbon footprint, but studies show that the extra petroleum used and emissions created to collect the limestone may wipe out any 'eco-friendly' benefit.
Neoprene can also harbor bacteria and fungus. Ever wondered why your horse tack gets that 'funky' smell after a while? Its literally because something is living in it. If your horse shows irritation or seems to be 'girthy' sometimes it might be a reaction to the hot, sweaty, bacteria ridden material and not the actual tightness. If you've ever taken a girth off and seen a big sweat band around your horse, you will know what we mean.
Studies show that tendon damage can occur in horses due to overheating. Even if a material is perforated, the original structure of the material creates more heat than materials designed to be breathable.Its no coincidence that many of our materials are chosen by the leading sports manufacturers in the world. Traditionally, human athletes have warranted much more research and development than our equine partners, meaning that human sports equipment is light years ahead of the average materials used for horses.
At Majyk Equipe we are changing all that. Where long standing natural materials are the best choice, we will use them. Where there is clearly a better alternative we will choose it, even if its harder to get and more expensive to buy. As horse owners ourselves, we know the misery of horse injury both emotionally and financially. There are better choices. We choose better.
Don't believe the hype from companies who say otherwise. Like any big business it comes down to profits for a lot of corporations - we choose to use superior eco-friendly products that are better for your horse, even if they cost us more.
Majyk Equipe Protective Horse Wear horse tack for horseback riding