Brand spotlight: Shapleys
For over 80 years, generations of horsemen around the world have placed their trust in Shapley’s grooming products. But how much do they actually know about the history behind this well-known brand?
A bit about Shapley's
Originating from America, a barber developed the first product to treat human skin conditions back in 1938. Being an enthusiastic equestrian, he discovered the formula worked just as well on horses. Still based in America, the International Headquarters are in Florida and the business is owned by a woman.
What was the first product?
Today, Shapley's offer a comprehensive range of products, but its very first product was the Original M-T-G which has proven itself to be nothing short of miraculous for horse skin issues. Time tested and proven, it’s recommended by vets as a good solution for a variety of bacterial and fungal skin problems.
Since the development of the Original M-T-G, the Shapley's line of horse grooming products has grown to include safe and gentle shampoos, conditioners, oils, sprays, and even deodorizing cleansers for your horse.
When did Shapley's come to the UK?
About 4 years ago, businesswoman Debra Graham tried Shapley’s Original MTG on her mare’s mane as there was a patch missing. Recommended by a friend, she’d tried everything else and nothing had worked, so she decided to give it a go. Quite quickly she noticed that it was growing back, and the hair looked really healthy too. She was so impressed with the product that she searched online to see what else they had in the range. She found one UK stockist, but they only had a few of the products in stock. So, she contacted Shapley’s directly as she wanted to know how and where she could purchase the full range. Fast forward a few months and she’d set up her own small retail business selling just Shapley’s products, promoting the brand online and at shows. Once customers had tried one of the products, they just kept coming back for more and wanted to know what else they could try. Now Debra is Shapley’s exclusive distributor for England, Scotland and Wales.
EQUUS caught up with Debra, the lady responsible for making Shapley’s products so widely accessible to equestrians in the UK.
Tell us a bit about yourself…
I am not from a horsey family but was hooked when my Mum took me for a riding lesson as a young child. I bought my first pony at 15 and we had lots of fun together, even though he was very naughty. Now I like to keep my feet firmly on the ground. I currently have a 4 year old fell pony, I bought him as a 5 month old foal, and he’s just learning the ropes.
What customers use Shapley’s products?
All equestrians! Shapley’s is becoming a big name in the showing arena. However, the products appeal to everyone from happy hackers to those that compete at the top of their game, whatever that may be. There’s something for everyone, from medicated shampoos for itchy horses to show touch-up sprays for those who want to hide blemishes, and fabulous colour enhancing shampoos.
What well-known riders use Shapley’s products?
Some of the leading showing producers got in contact with Debra as they had tried Shapley’s and loved the range so much. When Katie Jerram-Hunnable retired the Queen's former horse Barbers Shop, she was delighted to discover he was shining with Shapley’s! Katie is a big fan of Shapley’s and has done several make-overs to demonstrate the products. The Hood Show Team are also big fans, as are The Jinks Show Team. They also work with Shane Sweetnam, Guenter Seidel, and Phillip Dutton, who are internationally known Olympic and Team riders.
What’s your own personal favourite product?
Debra confessed that her tack room actually looks like a shop with all the products! So, picking just one product was actually quite difficult. She thinks M-T-G will always be her favourite, not just because it’s like a miracle in a bottle but because it was the first product she ever tried and the one that she felt everyone needed to know about. This is closely followed by Hi Gloss, as she says that it’s got to be right up there too!
What top tips do you have for this time of the year?
Many equestrians are struggling with rug rubs and mane/tail rubbing too. Shapley's products can help with both:
- Mane rug rubs: Wash the mane in Shapley’s Hi Shine shampoo, just add a small amount to a bucket of water, make sure you rinse thoroughly. This is a gentle shampoo so it will won’t strip the natural oils out.
Apply Shapley’s Original M-T-G directly onto the base of the mane. Make sure to shake the bottle well and only use a small amount twice a week. Less is more with M-T-G.
The way it works is by creating a hygienic environment for the hair follicle which results in maximum growth, while keeping the length of the hair shaft soft and pliable for minimum breakage.
If the horse is turned out at night, apply in the evening when the sun has gone in. M-T-G will encourage new hair growth and you should see a difference within the first month of using it.
- Tail rubbing: Wash the tail in Shapley’s Medi-Care shampoo, the blending of Tea Tree and Lemon grass oils are added to soothe the skin, while creating a wonderful and relaxing aroma. Apply a small amount to a bucket of water and ensure you rinse thoroughly.
Apply a small amount of Shapley’s Original M-T-G to the tail bone once or twice a week. Its unique formula calms the skin while conditioning both the skin and hair. It will maintain the healthy skin whilst promoting beautiful and healthy hair. Your horse should stop itching within the first couple of applications.
Want to try Shapley's for yourself? Check out our Shapley's Collection.