If you compete with, or show horses or livestock, then I know you’ll be able to relate to this story
Anyone traveling with large four legged friends is all too familiar with the flat back bucket. We all have at least one that lives in our horse trailer and most of us have several. These buckets are great but I’m sure the story I’m about to tell is not mine alone, as you read this, I’m sure your own story will come to mind :)
Allie is my 8 year old, 16HH bay thoroughbred that I’ve had since she was 1-1/2. She’s playful, energetic, cheeky and full of life. For the most part she makes me smile and laugh but we do have our moments. In our seven years together we’ve travelled lots, riding throughout Canada and the U.S. and no matter where we’ve gone or what we did one part of our story was always the same. At the end of a wonderful, tiring day of riding, I would put Allie in her pen, fill up her flat back bucket with water and tie it by the handle in her pen. That’s what we all do right? So it’s no surprise if I tell you she would drink maybe ½, depending on how thirsty she was, then start flinging it with her head until she managed to completely dump it. Next would come that playful look that would say “But I’m still thirsty” so I’d undo the bucket, take my weary body way back over to the water hydrant, (which never seemed close by) fill it, return and go through the whole saga over again. Depending on how wore out she was this game could repeat itself several times and each time I would make a more valent effort to try and secure the bucket wrapping it with binder twine or whatever I could come up with to try and stop her from spilling it.
There were two distinct times I remember thinking someone should come up with something to stop these buckets from spilling, once I was at a clinic and the pens at this facility were way down a steep little trail from where the arena, barn and water were. By the time refill number 3 happened, on day one, I remember saying to myself, someone needs to come up with a way to hold these buckets better. The seed was planted. A short while after we were travelling down the Oregon Coast staying at several different state horse camps along the way. The facilities were beautiful, each with their own unique set up and each with their own style of pens (some had board, some rail, some ½ rail all with different spacing etc.)
I looked online but couldn’t find anything that would work with all the different style pens we’d encountered……….does this mean it was back to binder twine? Nooo………….and this is how the Buck-It! Cover was initially thought of.
Next came the design challenge; There are several different manufacturers of feed buckets and each with a slightly different style so the cover needed to be versatile enough to fit all but not sloppy, otherwise a horse could get hold of it and have a real hay day. This is how we came up with neoprene. Neoprene provided the stretch, strength and durability we were looking for. We outfitted the cover with two sets of snaps on the bottom; this gave us additional flexibility in size so it would now fit the larger insulated buckets as well. The four D-rings would provide stability on each corner, so the only thing left was to design a strapping system that would provide flexibility and hold securely to a variety of different fencing types. The strap we came up with in the end is designed with a side release buckle which provided the adjustability part. With this system we can go around something as small as a wire or as large as a 2X10. The straps all have the same side release set up so one strap is able to connect to the other providing additional flexibility. With this system we now had the ability to attach to a d-rings on the cover, go over a wire, or through a ring and connect to one of the other straps. This really provided additional versatility. The last thing we wanted was the ability to hook and unhook the bucket easily, so that refilling was hassle free. This is why we chose the snap hook. All you have to do is loosen the side release buckle (lift up on one edge slightly and it loosens off) then unhook the snap hooks, refill your bucket and then when you return do the reverse. You still have to haul the water but hopefully only once. Now we had our binder twine replacement!
Once this came together the creative juices started to flow. “What colour should we make them?” ‘What if we customized them”? Then we started thinking about all the possibilities. This would be a great platform for people in the equine or livestock industry wanting to promote a breed, maybe add their brand, brag about their club or advertise their business. Those who are competing could put their sponsor on it or if they compete internationally, their country. We got so excited about this feature we decided to invest in an embroidery machine, now we can make the covers unique to the person buying it.
After it was all said and done we realized it had more value than just saving the time and energy it takes to refill the water. For myself personally, I was also able to relax more at the end of the day and visit with everyone. I wasn’t worrying about whether she had water or not. Then as I started using it more, I realized, it also helped with things like medications and vitamins. Now I could control the amounts better because the bucket wasn’t getting knocked over, leaving me pondering over whether she got it all or not. This, not only helped manage dosages, it saved time, money and the worry of, “did she get it all?” “Should we give her a bit more?” “What if we give her too much?”This is my Buck-It! Cover story, I hope this gives you a bit of back ground and insight into the product. Check us out at www.thehead2hoofshop.com