Problem Solvers

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The editors of Horse Journal have strong feelings about what products work best not only for their readers but also for themselves. In 17 years of field trials, we note when there are some things that continue to solve problems for us better than anything else.

The Horsemen?s Choice two-step mounting block is sturdy and stable.

The Horsemen?s Choice two-step mounting block is sturdy and stable.

We asked our editors to tell us which product they simply couldn?t live without. Many of these choices resulted from product surveys where the ?winner? was first stacked up against the other available choices in that category. Overall, we're a fairly frugal lot, so when the editors indicated they?d be willing to replace these choices in a heartbeat ? paying full price if necessary! ? if anything happened to them, we decided this was definitely an article to share with our readers.

Problem: Safe crossties.

Solution: Turtle Snaps. Editor-in-Chief Cynthia Foley has experienced too many broken crossties due to pull backs. But they?re also necessary, especially in a busy barn with lots of horses. Says Cindy: ?I find the Turtle Snaps easy to use, strong enough to hold a fidgeting horse, yet tough enough to undo and throw on the cement floor without worrying about them breaking. The lines are comfortable nylon, lightweight but strong. After 10 years, my gray ones still look good.?

Problem: ?Chair? legs.

Solution: Stubben Offset Stirrups.Associate Editor Margaret Freeman says she struggled with chair legs for decades. During a field trial, she

Stubben's offset stirrups can change your leg placement.

Stubben's offset stirrups can change your leg placement.

used these stirrups offset on the top. Depending on how the slanted opening is placed, it either opens up the pelvis/thigh area and brings the leg more under the body (for a dressage rider) or brings the thigh closer to the saddle (for a jumper). Says Margaret: ?These stirrups find extra room for my leg on the flap so it hangs straight down, and my ankle flexes even better than it does with hinged stirrups.? (Don?t confuse these with Stubben?s double offsets, which also have a slanted foot pad.)

Problem: icing legs.

Solution: MacKinnon?s Ice Horse Wraps. Veterinary Editor Dr. Eleanor Kellon spends a lot of time doing cold therapy and evaluating its effectiveness. The Ice Horse gel packs stay cold up to 60 minutes and can also be warmed for heat therapy. Says Eleanor: ?With active injuries and things like arthritis flares, the most effective approach we have found is to ice for 30 to 60 minutes at least three times a day.? The Ice Horse Wraps let the cooling continue while you do other chores.

Problem: Dirty Tack/boots.

Solution: Weaver Wipes. Says Contributing Editor Deb Tompkins: ?They are the greatest thing to have around to spiff up boots, and mine always need it.?

With the Parelli, you can lead the horse or do groundwork.

With the Parelli, you can lead the horse or do groundwork.

Problem: Frozen water trough.

Solution: Solar Bob Trough. Says Contributing Editor Lee Foley: ?We were sick of chopping through thick ice in our 90-gallon metal tank every winter, so we decided the solar tank was worth the price, even if it worked half as well as it claimed. It worked so well, it was amazing.?

Problem: using One lead.

Solution: Parelli 12? Lead Line. Says Contributing Editor Sue Stuska: ?I reach for my 12? lead for groundwork and routine leading. This braided lead is easier to hold and to slide through your hands. The tail has weight, which makes it easy to touch the horse precisely where I wish. Handling a gate is much easier with that length, but 12? isn?t cumbersome for going through gates or loading in trailers.?

Problem: petiterider.

Solution: Portable Mounting Blocks. Contributing Editor Nancy Butler says: ?I'm 5?3?. I can hang on the horse and drag myself up to mount, but I know the eventual damage that pulling on my horse's withers can cause. Besides, it isn?t fun. What started out as a test product became mandatory equipment at our barn.?

Problem: lush grass.

Solution: Best Friend Muzzle. Says Contributing Editor Beth Benard: ?I'd give up anything else before I'd part with my grazing muzzles. My first reaction to grazing muzzles was a strong 'No way, no how.? Then my horse developed laminitis and I thought differently. I eventually tried all brands, and now my horses all wear Best Friend muzzles.?