Janet Bellows of Northern Virginia has taken a stand and is making the equestrian world a better place with her all-natural, eco-friendly shampoo for horses. Although she has a background in journalism and has worked for networks such as ABC News and PBS, Janet has a true passion for the Arabian horse. Growing up, she showed horses and one of her fondest memories in doing so is being singled out by Peter Cameron while in a lineup. He informed her that her Half-Arabian mare “looks like she would walk through fire for you.” Bellows has done it all, from being involved in Pony Club to eventing to dressage. After having children, she stuck with dressage and received a USDF Bronze Medal on her Purebred Arabian gelding and is currently in the process of training an off-track Arabian mare.
Another passion that Bellows has is for our planet. She has a true concern for the damage that is being done to it by humans and has decided to make a change. With the help of her son, she combined both of her passions along with his to create an environmentally safe shampoo for horses.
Bellows explains that this journey of creating an all-natural product started when she would get home from the barn and be welcomed by her innocently blunt son, Colin (pictured at left.) His kind, yet truthful comments made her realize she should probably spray some perfume on herself before going out in public. This got them thinking about what it was in perfume that made it smell so lovely. They began to do some research and were not pleased with what they discovered, so they decided to make their own perfume for themselves using natural ingredients and were very satisfied with the outcome. They jokingly named their perfume “Après Grange,” which is French for “after the barn.” Little did they know that this name would be the title of their future product soon to be on the market.
Taking this knowledge, they began to think beyond perfume. While washing Colin’s therapy horse one day, he decided to examine the ingredients in the shampoo and again was less than pleased. So together, after much research into the properties of many different natural oils and lots of experimenting, they came up with a recipe to cook their own shampoo and were very successful. Not only were they extremely happy with the result, but the friends (who are all competitors and trainers) that they shared it with all loved it as well! Even Bellows’ FEI dressage trainer uses her products exclusively.
Unlike most shampoos on the market currently, the Après Grange Shampoo Bar does not strip the hair and recoat it using chemicals such as sulfates and silicones. Instead, it cleans the hair gently and uses healthy, natural oils and butters to replace what was removed. It also does not leave that nasty residue that is often found on a horse’s coat after it has dried. Users state how pleased they are with how easy this shampoo is to get even the usually tough mud off their horse’s hair. And in the end, the coat is shiny and healthy!
Bellows states that she and her family have “spent a great deal of time formulating a precise product made with coconut oil, olive pomace, avocado butter, sea buckthorn oil, neem oil, organic citronella, eucalyptus and cedar oils. This gives it great insect repellency qualities as well as being an amazing whitener and a wonderful product for cleaning up stubborn skin issues like rain rot and scratches.” She has even received reports from users that it cleared up long-lasting cases of scratches.
The Après Grange Shampoo Bar has so many advantages. Bellows explains that there are “no neurotoxins for people or horses (or dogs) to inhale or come in contact with.” The remnants that are washed down the drain are also safe for the environment and will not harm aquatic life, plants or other animals. There are also no single-use plastics involved, which is how most shampoos are packaged. The list goes on and on.
One of the greatest qualities, however, is the heart and meaning behind this product. Due to Colin’s intellectual differences, Janet and her husband have always dreampt of creating a company with him in mind. They have certainly done just that with their Après Grange products! One of their goals is to grow their company, allowing individuals with intellectual differences to have a safe, meaningful place of employment. Furthermore, they have pledged to donate a portion of their profits to the Special Olympics, an organization that Colin has been a part of for many years. The Bellows family has most definitely done their part in making the world a better place and Arabian Horse Life is honored to be able to share the Après Grange story.
The Après Grange products are already being sold at local tack shops of Northern Virginia where the Bellows family lives, and they are currently in the process of working with other national retailers. To find out more about the Après Grange Shampoo Bar and to see additional products, please visit their website: https://www.apres-grange.net/ or their Facebook page.