Hey! It Works! - Horse&Rider

Hey! It Works!

Before you buy something for your horse, you want to know that it’ll perform as promised. These eight products did just that when we tried them.
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If you have horses, you know some products truly work and are worth every cent paid. Maybe it’s a timeworn stable-cleaning utensil that remains the most efficient item in your arsenal, a grooming tool that’s the first thing you reach for in your tote, or a piece of tack that never fails to fit and perform exactly as it should.

Here, we’ll provide a glimpse of eight products that we’ve found to be true performers. They’re well constructed, made of high-quality material, are cleverly designed, and—bottom line—they get the job done. We’ll look at each, and let you know about materials and construction, what the manufacturers claim their products can do, and what we found out for ourselves in testing those products on real horses and at real barns.

Stall-Feeding Solution
The product: Free-Up Feeder with heavy-duty netting, from Simple Feeding Solutions.

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How it works: There’s assembly required with this hay net, but it’s nothing strenuous. Placing the net on the frame is a cinch, and all hardware is included for attaching it to the wall of your stall. Plus, you’ll find helpful installation videos on the Web site.

The feeder’s frame has rounded corners for safety, and the slow-feed net keeps horses busy, slows their hay consumption to a healthier pace, and helps reduce waste. This means you save money in the way of fewer barn repairs for damage caused by bored horses, fewer digestive-upset calls to the vet due to horses eating too fast, and less of your hay wasted on the floor.

Filling the net is about as easy and mess-free as you can expect, and it holds up to half of a small bale of hay.

Inside scoop: You can purchase replacement nets for this feeder if your net wears out. The manufacturer offers a 30-day money-back guarantee for a full refund, as well as a 90-day satisfaction guarantee for any repairs you might need in that timeframe.

Learn more: (715) 483-1770; haychix.com.

Price: $65.00

Cool, Quiet, Powerful
The product: KM 10 brushless two-speed professional clippers, from Wahl Clipper Corporation.

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The claim: Brushless-motor clipper delivers superior performance and increased power and torque, all while remaining efficient on constant speed control. It automatically delivers more power as needed when clipping thick coats. The clipper is lightweight, ergonomic, quiet, and powerful.

How it works: This is indeed an impressive clipper, and I’ve used many. The claims of powerful, lightweight, comfortable, and quiet are absolutely true. Furthermore, I found that the KM 10 runs cool, taking much longer to heat up than other clippers I’ve used. The constant speed control helps the blades glide easily through areas of thick or heavy hair. The long cord is very helpful in maneuvering around the horse. Its quiet, cool, lightweight qualities, backed by lots of power from the motor, make it a pleasure to use and make clipping more fun than a chore.

Inside scoop: The KM 10 is German-engineered, with a no-maintenance motor and 3000 and 3700 SPM speed levels, and weighs only 12.3 oz. It comes with a #10 Ultimate Competition Series detachable blade set, cleaning brush, and blade oil, and features a 14-foot, flexible cord. Wahl Clipper Corporation is so confident in this clipper that it offers a 5-year warranty.

Learn more: (800) 776-9245; wahlanimal.com.

Price: $279.96

Convenient Hoof Care
The product: DAVIS Horse Boot (Medicine Boot), from Davis Manufacturing, Inc.
The claim: Also known as the medicine or poultice boot, the DAVIS Horse Boot may be used for a variety of applications where treatment or protection is needed. Boots can be used for soaking, poulticing, and conditioning. Also, they can be used to keep the hoof clean and dry or for direct application of medicine to treat abscesses, thrush, puncture wounds, or other foot conditions. Using this boot also will relieve pressure when signs of bruising, corns, or cankers appear.

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The claim: Also known as the medicine or poultice boot, the DAVIS Horse Boot may be used for a variety of applications where treatment or protection is needed. Boots can be used for soaking, poulticing, and conditioning. Also, they can be used to keep the hoof clean and dry or for direct application of medicine to treat abscesses, thrush, puncture wounds, or other foot conditions. Using this boot also will relieve pressure when signs of bruising, corns, or cankers appear.

How it works: This boot works exactly as claimed. It can keep a sore or fragile hoof protected and dry, and it also can be used to conveniently apply medications to the hoof or the coronet. It’s great for a horse that refuses to stand in a bucket for soaking treatment—just fill the boot with your chosen soaking fluid. Available in a variety of sizes, it can fit a shod or unshod hoof, or accommodate a wrapped hoof. 

I used a disposable baby diaper to pad the hoof, then easily slipped the wrapped hoof into the boot’s wide opening. An adjustable strap at the top of the boot in the horse’s pastern region helps prevent the boot from slipping off, though its design helps keep a well-fitted boot in place. Horses are able to walk nicely in the boot, and it’s durable enough to hold up well on a horse in a stall or other confined area. (Designed for therapeutic use, it’s not intended for use while riding or for a horse likely to gallop in turnout.)

Inside scoop: The soft, pliable upper won’t aggravate the leg during use and closes snugly just below the fetlock, and the boot opens wide for easy on-off application. The durable triple-layered bottom is made of a tough polyvinyl compound making it reusable many times over. It’s available in eight sizes and is made in America.

Learn more: (800) 252-4884; davismanufacturing.com.

Price: Ranges from $40.23 for size 00 to $62.44 for size 6.

Clean, Contained Hay
The product: Savvy Feeder, from The Creative Horse, LLC.

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The claim: The Savvy Feeder reduces a horse’s chance of ingesting sand, rocks, manure, urine-soaked bedding, and parasites by keeping hay contained and off the ground. It allows a horse to forage in a natural head-down position, creating correct jaw alignment and chewing motion, and reducing risk of guttural pouch infection. It also helps eliminate boredom, nervousness, and frustration, and prolongs the eating process by about 4 to 6 times over eating off the ground, reducing the chance of ulcers. Plus, it keeps costly hay from blowing away in the wind or being trampled into the ground.

How it works: This ingenious feeder conquers several problems when feeding our horses: wasted hay, horses bolting their feed, and horses ingesting debris of all kinds. The key to its success is a grate that “floats” on top of the hay and helps contain it, while also slowing the horse’s eating. The grate drops down as hay is eaten through it, always forming a perfect feeding platform.

It felt great to see my horse eating with his head down in a natural eating position, and I appreciated knowing that the hay he normally drags out into his muddy paddock would stay clean and in place. The feeder is lightweight enough (23 pounds) that it can be used just about anywhere—paddocks or stalls—or pack it along to shows or horse camping.

Inside scoop: The Savvy Feeder, which can hold up to 18 pounds, is made of incredibly durable, slightly flexible plastic that horses can’t destroy. It comes in six bright colors, and can have an optional metal plate personalized by engraving.

Learn more: (701) 793-7289; savvyfeeder.com.

Price: $299.00

Savory Stall Toy
The product: Boredom Breaker, from Likit.

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The claim: Tested by behaviorists and veterinarians, this product reduces a horse’s boredom and frustration in the stable. Designed to hold delicious Likit refills, the Boredom Breaker stable toy is proven to have a beneficial effect on equine welfare, providing environmental enrichment by keeping the horse occupied and entertained when stabled. Use in conjunction with flavored, electrolyte, or salt Likits for hours of fun.

How it works: This product looks every bit like a toy—bright and whimsical—yet can play a critical role with some stabled horses, giving them an outlet for boredom or frustration during stall confinement. It requires a minor amount of assembly, mostly snapping the sweet-smelling Likit treats into place within the toy’s structure. After that, it’s simply a matter of finding the ideal place to suspend the treat-laden toy so that it hangs at least 3 feet from a wall and about withers-high for the horse. My horse was immediately intrigued with his new toy, and took a fancy to the treats right away. The Boredom Breaker, sufficiently tough enough for horseplay, continues to hold his interest with the lure of Likit treats displayed on multiple surfaces.

Inside scoop: This combination toy includes a Likit holder and a robust ball made of rubberized polyethylene, and has three places for adding Likit treats (sold separately). It features multi-directional movement, holds one standard (650g) Likit and one or two small Likit (250g) treats, and includes a hanging rope. It measures 8-by-8-by-16 inches, and the rope is 48 inches long with snap.

Learn more: (800) 872-3353; likit.com.

Price: $44.95 for the Boredom Breaker, $6.95 for Likit treat refill, and $4.95 for Little Likit treat refill.

Super Cinch
The product: AirFlex Cinch with Roll Snug Buckle, from Weaver Leather.

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The claim: These patented, state-of-the-art performance cinches use unique, white cool flex foam that doesn’t absorb heat like black neoprene. Distinctive molded airflow channels maximize air circulation, providing breathability and ideal flexibility. Padded flex edges move with the horse for extra cushioning when needed. Equal-pull design provides even pressure across the cinch.

How it works: Sturdy, high-quality materials are everything you’d expect from this company’s products, and the AirFlex Cinch is no exception. The cinch’s white air-flow channels give it a high-tech look, but they don’t overpower the need for a conservative appearance; it’ll suit performance competitors just as well as recreational riders. The new and improved Roll Snug Cinch Buckle, first made popular on the company’s Smart Cinch, is brilliant and effective.

The cinch’s foam air-flow channels allowed for some circulation of air, keeping my horse’s girth area less sweaty, but also provided a good cushiony grip, so my saddle never felt like it would slip. Also, this cinch is very easy to clean. Mud and sweat rinse easily away, and the cinch dries very quickly.

Inside scoop: A proprietary manufacturing process creates AirFlex’s exclusive air-flow channels and adds a patented Roll Snug Cinch Buckle or flat buckle to suit riders’ needs. The Roll Snug Cinch Buckle increases leverage for easier cinching, smoother rolling, and exceptional performance. The cinch, with black poly top and stainless-steel buckles and dees, is available in straight or roper styles and a wide range of sizes.

Learn more: (800) 932-8371; ridethebrand.com.

Price: Straight cinch, $69.99; roper cinch, $73.99.

Keep Your Cool
The product: 6530F Female HyperKewl Evaporative Cooling Vest, from TechNiche International.

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The claim: Giving hours of heat relief, these vests are ideal for the active outdoorsperson. They cool through evaporation, representing an easy and efficient way to cool down and avoid heat stress. They’re also lightweight, durable, and reusable. This model is designed to be flattering to the female form.

How it works: The vest gives a sporty look, complete with sloped pockets and black, mesh side panels for a slimming appearance, while allowing full range of motion. Best of all: It works. Riding in hot weather becomes much more tolerable with the vest on; however, dry climates allow it to work as it’s designed, through evaporative cooling, far better than humid climates where there’s already moisture in the air. A bit of airflow, either from a breeze or movement on your horse, helps evaporation, too. Be prepared for the vest to feel wet at first; soaking it in water before wearing is fundamental to how it works. Over a few hours, as the water evaporates—cooling you as it does—the vest dries out, but can be re-soaked for as much use as you need.

Inside scoop: Available in silver, khaki, black, and royal blue, and in small to 2X sizes, this vest has a high mandarin collar for additional cooling relief and sun protection. It has handy front pockets and zipper closure, and is designed especially for women (unique built-in elastic strap helps contour the vest to the female form). It features a quilted nylon outer with HyperKewl fabric inner and water-repellent nylon liner, and black poly-cotton trim. Receive a 10-percent discount on entire purchase on the Staywarm-Staycool Web site with promo code HorseRiderMag.

Learn more: (760) 213-0702; staywarm-staycool.com.

Price: $59.99

Bareback Bliss
The product: Comfort Plus Bareback Pad, from Best Friend Equine Supply, Inc.

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The Claim: The Comfort Plus Bareback Pad offers a natural seat with ultimate comfort, and is contoured to fit your horse’s back and stay in place. It won’t absorb sweat and is easy to clean.

How it works: The Comfort Plus delivers on the two things most of us want most from a bareback pad—comfort for our rumps and no slipping. It feels quite luxurious to plant yourself on this pad, since it has a specifically cushioned seat area for the rider’s comfort. The real test comes when you actually start riding.

The pad stayed nicely in place on my horse, a tribute to the effectiveness of its non-slip material against the horse’s back. The Comfort Plus goes a step farther, however, to prevent slipping: it has rings in the front to accommodate a breast collar, if the need arises. Rings in the back are a bonus, giving the ability to hang water bottles, trail bags, or any other item that can be snapped or tied on.

Inside scoop: This bareback pad, available in blue or black, features non-slip breathable material against the horse, and a top made of breathable synthetic suede with short-nap fleece overlay for luxury. The included girth is non-slip and breathable, with stainless-steel roller buckles and straps with leather-reinforced billets.

Learn more: (800) 681-2495; bestfriendequine.com.

Price: $79.95

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