2009 Horse Journal Products of the Year

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We take great pride in choosing the top 10 Products of the Year. These items were in field trials during the past 12 months and ended up being products that we reached for repeatedly long after the actual field trial was completed. We’re presenting these in alphabetical order.

Eartec
This communications device for riders and trainers allows simultaneous two-way conversation and comes in at an affordable $300. The trainer doesn’t have to shout across the arena, and the rider can clearly hear all instructions immediately. One instructor stated that she was less tired and less hoarse after several hours of teaching. We found it stayed in place with a helmet and was so comfortable we forgot we had it on. www.eartec.com, 800-399-5994.

Hitchin’ Rods
Hitching your vehicle to your trailer can be a snap for some folks and a nightmare for others. If you’re in the latter group, you’ll find Hitchin’ Rods a big help. They’re amazingly easy to use, especially if you’re heading out on your own, and inexpensive, at about $25. www.qwks.com, 866-377-1318.

Horse Pal Fly Trap
This fly trap gets the job done, and it’s simple to use. The biggest trick is to get it set in the right place. Once that’s accomplished, the horse flies will head on over, never to return. We prefered this trap over the competitor because you can basically set it and forget about it. $245. www.bitingflies.com, 888-685-2244.

Integrity Hoof
When you think hoof supplement, you probably think biotin. However, it takes more than biotin to promote hoof health, especially if your horse’s diet isn’t up to par in other areas either. This product from Kauffman’s Animal Health offers a high level of biotin (20 mg per serving), plus methionine, copper, zinc, essential amino acids and other trace minerals. It’s easily an all-around supplement. Plus, it’s a palatable pellet. Cost is about 79?? per day. www.ka-hi.com, 717-274-3676.

Mane 'n Tail SprayAway
We love the concept of the new one-step bathing systems, and our favorite is the Mane 'n Tail Spray- Away concentrate from Striaght Arrow. Mane 'n Tail didn’t disappoint. It left our horse’s coats clean and quickly washed away dirt and dead skin cells. It’s pH balanced, so it can be safely used every day and over irritated skin. A bath will cost about 52??. www.manentailequine.com, 800-827-9815.

Riders Rasp
Using a traditional rasp takes practice, and you can shave away too much hoof in a snap. But what do you do when you have a chip you need remove and the farrier’s not due for two weeks' Grab the Riders Rasp. This device was comfortable to use and cleaned up minor chips in a few swipes. $44.95. www.ridersrasp.com, 877-377-9195.

Shires 9431 Westbourne Stable Blanket
This blanket is stylish, rugged and comfortable. It has a quilted nylon outer shell with quilted fleece lining that’s turned back over the blanket at the neck and shoulders. Lined shoulders, secure buckle and Velcro-type front, crossed belly surcingles and a tail cord. $109.95. www.shiresequestrian.com, 603-929-3880.

ShowSheen
Nothing new, nothing’s changed, and we’re pleased about that. Its effects can last five days. It’s best used after bathing on wet hair, but we routinely use it on dry hair, too. Helps keep pasture debris out of your horse’s tail. Leaves a great shine on the horse’s coat. Just an all-around good product. $10/32 oz. www.absorbine.com, 800-628-9653.

Thrush Stop
For severe thrush, we don’t think you can beat Thrush Stop from SBS Equine Products. This product is easy to apply, penetrates the tissues well and seals well. We saw visible improvement rapidly. It performed for us on two horses with chronic thrush that didn’t respond to other products. $8.49/4 oz. www.sbsequine.com, 239-354-3361.

Well-Horse
The most recent research suggests simply treating most wounds with a disinfectant, simply to keep them clean and allow them to heal. However, sometimes you need more. Well-Horse soothed wounds, kept tissues moist and appeared to even decrease pain. You can use it under bandages, too. It’s expensive, at $25/4 oz., but when you need its power, it’s worth the price. www.well-horse.com, 419-295-0474.