California Riding Magazine • July, 2008

Zephyr's Garden
Natural horse-care line produces
great results and peace of mind.

Zephyr’s Garden features an extensive list of products that help heal and soothe a variety of equine aches, issues and irritations. However, there’s one familiar horse-care item that can’t be found in the young Santa Barbara company’s inventory: latex gloves.

Intent on applying nature’s unadulterated healing powers to horses, Zephyr’s Garden proprietor Georgette Topakas insists that all the compounds used in her products are safe for horses and their humans. She’s a horse owner and rider herself, as is her young daughter, and the appeal of natural products was, well … a natural.

An accomplished business owner in an earlier phase of her life, Georgette credits her Belgian Warmblood Zephyr for inspiring her to put her business skills back to use, this time in the equestrian world. When the show hunter sustained hoof problems that mandated pasture lay-ups, Georgette learned first-hand about all manner of bug and horse bites, cuts, bruises and other pesky health problems that were not part of Zephyr’s life while living in his cozy barn stall. On top of that, his hooves needed to grow out fast.

Desiring a more natural way to address these problems, Georgette began researching herbs and experimenting with various formulations. Zephyr responded well and stablemates at Alanna Bloomberg’s Gracelynd Hill hunter/jumper training barn in Santa Barbara took note. They and their horses became Zephyr’s Garden product testers. The two versions of Zephyr’s Garden’s Healing Salve were the first result of that in-the-field research. Healing Salve 1 features comfrey, calendula, plantain, lavender and tea tree oils and works wonders on cuts and infections and on spots in need of quick hair re-growth. The powerful essential oils, however, made it a bit too strong for some thin-skinned horses, typically grays and chestnuts, and thus Healing Salve II was created. This product features all the aforementioned components except lavender and tea tree, the essential oils that triggered irritation in some sensitive-skinned horses.

With summer in full swing, Georgette predicts that Stop The Itch will be particularly popular. “It’s great for bug bites and sweet itch,” she says of the salve that incorporates chickweed, thyme, comfrey and marshmallow root. Even in the warm weather, many horses are still fighting fungus and Zephyr’s Garden’s Anti-Fungal Salve is a great antidote. Black walnut hulls, echinacea, burdock and goldenseal root are the key ingredients in this formulation. Traditional fungus fighters typically require the applier to wear the dreaded latex gloves, but not this one. In fact, many of the testimonials on the Zephyr’s Garden website mention how pleased buyers are with the products’ effect on their horses and on their own skin and/or fingernails. This seems especially true of Hoof Growth, a lavender and rosemary oils concoction that triggers better circulation and, thus, growth in the hoof.

Georgette spent a few years researching and testing the formulations and Zephyr’s Garden products became available to the general public this past April. She is happy to pursue a slow-growth model for her young company. The salves and sprays are made in small batches and are available for sale through the Zephyr’s Garden website. The next step is getting the products into the equestrian retail marketplace, where their elegant packaging is likely to turn heads.

With so much of society focused on organic and natural products, Georgette is confident about the timing of Zephyr’s Garden’s roll-out. She figures she is not alone in wanting natural, effective horse care products and is targeting like-minded horse owners. “I’ve seen horses blister and their hair turn colors after applications of traditional products,” she observes. “I would think everybody would be interested a more natural way to help their horses."

For more information on Zephyr’s Garden, visit www.zephyrsgarden.com or call 805-969-7059.