Tack & Gear

2023 Best of Western Horseman: For Your Horse

The Best of Western Horseman Awards are finally here.

Horses are an investment. We invest in them our money, our time, our work, our passion and more. We connect with them the same way we connect with our own family, and we care deeply for their happiness, comfort and well-being. There are so many ways to improve a horse’s quality of life from the inside, out, from proper nutrition with feed and supplements, to comfortable and well-fitting tack and gear, warm blankets, fly masks and more. The 2023 Western Horseman Best For Your Horse winners allow us to take the best possible care of the horses we love so much.

Best of Feed: Standlee
Photo courtesy of Standlee.

Best of Feed Winner: Standlee

Standlee Premium Western Forage is the ultimate hay-based fiber source for your livestock. Standlee is carefully grown and manufactured for consistent nutrition and quality. Horse owners prefer Standlee because they are tried and tested, and their studies speak for themselves. Through their research, they found that horses prefer Standlee alfalfa and timothy grass to locally sourced hay, which also generally lacks in certain nutritional components as compared to the complete nutritional profile of Standlee products. Because of this consistent nutritional profile, livestock that consistently consume Standlee feeds maintain more optimal gut health for function and digestion. While some shipped forage has an off-putting smell or color, Standlee is judged to consistently look greener, smell fresher and appear cleaner than locally sourced hay, according to a study by Purina Animal Nutrition Center.

Best of Feed Runner-Up: Purina

Best of Feed Runner-Up: Purina

Purina Mills has been innovating the feed industry since 1894. The brand has always been focused on unlocking the highest potential of every animal, and they make feed and dietary supplements for just about all of them. Their research-backed formulas over the last 125 years of feeding animals have made them a household name among ranches across the country, and the red-and-white checkerboard logo is perhaps the most recognizable in the equine and greater agriculture industry.

Best of Feed Honorable Mention: Triple Crown

Best of Feed Honorable Mention: Triple Crown

Triple Crown is a source for feed, supplements, forages and more. Not unlike the other brands aforementioned, Triple Crown offers a feed for every horse from young to senior and all levels of activity and performance. Beyond standard feeds, they also offer pelleted options, steam crimped oats, whole oats and more. The variety they offer, including forages both fortified and cubed, allow horse owners to create a completely unique and custom feed profile for their horses to maximize its effectiveness.

Best of Supplies: Pyranha
Photo courtesy of Pyranha.

Best of Supplies Winner: Pyranha

Pyranha is the equine industry’s trusted leader in fly control. In any arena in almost any part of the country, fly spray is an absolute must-have in the tack room. Pyranha has a solution for every barn, whether it be their standard Wipe N’ Spray in the yellow bottle most of us picture when we think, “fly spray”; the Equine Spray N’ Wipe, which doesn’t attract dirt and dust; the Zero-Bite, an alternative that uses natural oils suspended in water to repel insects; or one of their many other products. They also have a roll-on solution, which is particularly helpful if you have a horse with sensitive eyes and ears or one that is timid around the spray bottle. Beyond their insect deterrents, Pyranha offers a wide variety of grooming products for horses, dogs and other pets. They are a one-stop solution for your tack and grooming area.

Best of Supplies Runner-Up: Vetericyn

Best of Supplies Runner-Up: Vetericyn

Vetericyn is the leader in animal wellness. Ailments happen, and Vetericyn has a solution for most mild cases every horse owner will likely experience in their lifetime. Their products address wound care, skin irritations, eye and ear irritations, insect repellents, hoof care and more. Their Vetericyn Plus products are veterinarian-recommended, safe if ingested and don’t include antibiotics or steroids. Wound infection is a common reason the healing process can be long and complicated, and Vetericyn products are the trusted brand to simplify that process and get your animals back to performance-ready status.

Best of Supplies Honorable Mention: Absorbine

Best of Supplies Honorable Mention: Absorbine

Absorbine products were born from a goal to create a relief for sore joints, tendons, ligaments and muscles that was natural, herbal-based and didn’t involve an uncomfortable treatment process. That was back in the late 19th century, and while the exact recipe for Absorbine remains a family secret, Absorbine has become a household name for livestock owners. Owners use Absorbine on their horses to address muscle, joint and hoof care as well as wound, ear and skin care. Additionally, Absorbine offers leather care products and feed supplements to address every need of your equine companion.

Best of Saddles: Trent Ward Saddlery
Trent Ward Saddlery. Photo courtesy of Trent Ward.

Best of Saddles Winner: Trent Ward Saddlery

Trent Ward Saddlery is one of the top saddle suppliers in the Western industry, servicing ropers and cow horse riders of all disciplines. They warranty their saddle trees from 10 years to life, depending on the saddle, and their commitment to the quality of the build of their saddles, as well as the satisfaction of the riders who use them, is what sets them apart. With more than 15 years of experience and offering stock saddles to custom builds, Trent Ward is a favorite among Western riders. Shop their website for new and used saddles that range from basic rough out leather to intricate and beautiful tooled designs. If you want to “ride the best and leave the rest,” ride Trent Ward Saddlery.

Best of Saddles Runner-Up: Martin Saddlery

Best of Saddles Runner-Up: Martin Saddlery

Martin Saddlery is a household name among cowboys. What sets them apart is their focus and dedication to creating saddles that fi t a horse exactly how it should, making each ride a more enjoyable and comfortable experience for both horse and rider. Their trees are made of South Dakota white pine, and they’re covered with Hermann Oak leather. That’s when the artistry truly begins. Martin’s leather designs are second to none, from detailed tooling to carefully hand-painted designs. In addition to their fantastic saddles, Martin offers a variety of tack and gear to choose from.

Best of Saddles Honorable Mention: Circle Y

Best of Saddles Honorable Mention: Circle Y

Circle Y is the saddle maker for all. Their handcrafted design and competitive price point make them a great fi t for anyone in the market for a saddle that is both well-made and looks great in your tack room. Circle Y fits hundreds of horses each year to ensure their trees are keeping with the size and shape of the horses who will wear them. They are adamant that a great fitting saddle results in better horse performance, and they have doubled down on this by educating riders about ideal saddle fit. In addition to great saddles, Circle Y offers a selection of tack, saddle pads, horse wear, barn supplies and more.

Best of Tack & Gear: Classic Equine
Photography by Carolyn Simancik.

Best of Tack & Gear Winner: Classic Equine

Classic Equine was founded in hopes of offering better protection for equine athletes and increasing the selection of protective equipment and gear from which horse owners could choose. They consider every aspect of the horse owner’s lifestyle — from horse health to trailer convenience to stall needs — and created products to add convenience, efficiency and safety. Classic works with top trainers to develop products for specific functionality and purpose, then those trainers test the products and provide feedback, ensuring maximum compatibility for the industry. Their top gear picks include the Zone Series, ESP Pad Line, ClassicFit and more. Education is also a priority for Classic Equine, and they offer a monthly YouTube series, “Gear of the Month,” to allow riders to learn about products and applicability to improve the well-being of their horses.

Best of Tack & Gear Runner-Up: 5 Star Equine

Best of Tack & Gear Runner-Up: 5 Star Equine Products, Inc.

Family-owned and operated and based in Hatfield, Arkansas, 5 Star Equine Products has become known for its commitment to quality products, specializing in all-natural saddle pads and mohair cinches. Their pads — the true star of the company — are made from the highest-grade pressed industrial felt using only 100% virgin wool. Their mohair cinches are designed to have a perfect, natural fit, no matter the horse, and are completely breathable to reduce irritation and skin diseases. Their saddle pad line ranges from Western to Mule saddle pads to English saddle pads, and they offer a saddle fit guide on their website to ensure riders have all the knowledge they need to get started.

Best of Tack & Gear Honorable Mention: Professional's Choice

Best of Tack & Gear Honorable Mention: Professional’s Choice

Professional’s Choice is among some of the most recognizable brands in the Western industry. Their longevity and dominance are a testament to the quality of their products, which include gear, tack, horse wear, fly protection, leather goods, therapy products and even human orthopedic products for both English and Western riders. Their first big break into the Western scene was with their SMx Air Ride saddle pads, which used leading-edge technology and completely disrupted the equine gear industry. Since then, the brand has continued to innovate, focusing on horse health, comfort and safety.

Best of Retail Stores: Teskey's
Photo Courtesy of Teskey’s.

Best of Retail Stores Winner: Teskey’s

Teskey’s Saddle Shop has become a Western destination when enthusiasts visit the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex. Located a half-hour west of Fort Worth, Texas, Teskey’s is a go-to for horse owners and riders alike. The massive tack shop is home to saddles, reins, ropes, feed, supplies, boots, hats, apparel, home décor, antiques and even custom-award design. Teskey’s is also home to one of the largest Case Knives collections in the state of Texas. They truly are a one-stop shop for all-things-Western, and the facility itself is uncontested with more than 100,000 square feet of shopping space. A huge perk of the Teskey’s shopping experience is the delicious sandwich shop in the store, which is the perfect place to take a break and grab a bite while out on a ranch equipment run.

Best of Retail Stores Runner-Up: Tractor Supply

Best of Retail Stores Runner-Up: Tractor Supply

Tractor Supply is a household name among the errand runners of the ranch. You can essentially find anything you need as a horse owner at your local Tractor Supply, from gear and equipment to fencing or feed. They cover all the needs of the ranch, including the other livestock and animals. Their “Life Out Here,” motto is the driving force behind their commitment to the rancher and the Western way of life. They are the largest rural lifestyle retailer in the U.S. and have more than 50,000 team members ensuring quality products and service. They boast more than $14 billion in sales in 2022 across more than 2,000 stores in 49 states and more than 80 years of service to the nation’s rural enthusiasts.

Best of Retail Stores Honorable Mention: NRS

Best of Retail Stores Honorable Mention: National Roper’s Supply

“National Roper’s Supply is the Walt Disney World of the roping and rodeo community.” What began as a small shop in a strip mall in Decatur, Texas, around 30 years ago, is now a household name for ropers. Now expanded to offer trailers, feed, clinics and more, NRS is the largest Western store in North Texas, located on highway 287 in Decatur. They have a second location in Wickenburg, Arizona, the roping capital of the world, and six locations for their NRS trailer dealerships. Despite being the go-to-destination across the U.S. for roping and Western tack, gear, feed, saddle and trailer needs, NRS is still family-owned and operated, a feat of which owner David Isham is incredibly proud.

Best of Supplements: Farnam
Photo courtesy of Farnam.

Best of Supplements Winner: Farnam

For more than 75 years, Farnam’s mission hasn’t wavered: simple, effective and innovative horse care solutions. While their bread and butter are a noteworthy line of supplements, Farnam also offers fl y and insect control products, grooming products, hoof and leg care, wound care, leather care and ranch supplies. Just like humans, horses’ genetic makeup and day-to-day consumption and activities alter digestion, performance, appearance and overall health. We take vitamins and supplements to ensure our bodies get what they need despite our lifestyles, and horses’ needs are no different. Farnam offers a supplement for horses in all walks of life. From electrolytes and muscle builders, which are for growth in young horses, to digestive aids packed with fiber to help avoid colic, biotin and protein-packed supplements for hoof and coat health, to joint supplements for the senior horse, Farnam truly addresses every horse and every need on the ranch. One product that sets Farnam apart is Mare Plus, designed to build and condition mares for the demands of pregnancy, foaling and lactation. Especially for mares coming from a performance horse background, this is often a massive adjustment to their lifestyle. Setting up a foal for a successful career trajectory starts with ensuring the foal’s mother is prepared and well cared for during a time when her body will be under massive stress. Additionally, while many older horses are put “out to pasture” to live out their days, Farnam puts an emphasis on mature horse care with almost 20 products to specifically address the needs of senior horses.

Best of Supplements Runner-Up: Platinum

Best of Supplements Runner-Up: Platinum Performance

Platinum Performance Equine products are veterinary developed to support total body health in your horse. Their supplements address targets such as joint, digestive, hoof, allergy and weight issues. Among their lineup, Bio-Sponge products used on foals when they need digestive support have been known to offer almost immediate results. A feature that sets Platinum apart is the Product Finder Quiz on their website. With more than 60 products to choose from, it can be helpful to narrow down your options to the supplements that are the best fi t for your specific program. By taking this online quiz, you are able to input specifications about your horse such as the breed, age, discipline, workout frequency, body condition and more, and the results will tell you what supplement is best suited for your horse based on your goals. It’s an innovative solution to help riders who might feel overwhelmed about where to start in their supplement journey.

Best of Supplements Honorable Mention: SmartPak

Best of Supplements Honorable Mention: SmartPak

SmartPak offers a Supplement Wizard tool on their website that helps horse owners narrow down the exact supplement combination needed for their horse. It’s detailed about the specificity of your horse, and it even takes your budget into consideration when building the results. Rather than a single product recommendation, the Supplement Wizard suggests a number of supplements to build a “Smart-Pak,” which will address multiple points of health in your horse. SmartPaks are custom-made, pre-measured daily doses of your horse’s supplements, so you don’t have to leave the dosing up to human error, and you can ensure your horse is getting exactly what it needs every day. What sets SmartPak apart is that, instead of feeding from a tub, they send your supplements in pre-packaged doses that you pour into your horse’s feed without any measuring required. It cuts down on waste, increases accurate dosing and they auto-ship to ensure you never run out. SmartPak is especially useful if you travel with horses. Rather than having to haul all of your supplement tubs on the road, you can just take enough “paks” to get you through your trip. This is a no-brainer solution for the horse and rider on-the-go.

Best of Pharmaceuticals: Zoetis
Photo courtesy of Zoetis.

Best of Pharmaceuticals Winner: Zoetis

The “Zoe” in Zoetis is the Greek word for life. The use of science to sustain life is at the core of Zoetis’ mission. They use innovative, cutting-edge technologies to create advancements in animal health vaccines, medicines, diagnostics and technologies. With more than 13,000 team members and being sold in more than 100 countries around the world, Zoetis core species include cattle, swine, poultry, dogs and horses. Zoetis has around 300 individual product lines addressing vaccinations, parasites, anti-infectives, dermatology and more. Their guiding principles of integrity and passion for animals are what have propelled them to be a distinguished brand among the competition. Zoetis works closely with veterinarians to ensure your horse has access to top pharmaceuticals to address various concerns and conditions.

Best of Pharmaceuticals Runner-Up: Adequan

Best of Pharmaceuticals Runner-Up: Adequan

Adequan i.m. is the only equine injectable polysulfated glycosaminoglycan prescription approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Used for intramuscular treatment of non-infectious arthritis, degenerative joint dysfunction, traumatic joint dysfunction and associated lameness in carpal and hock joints, Adequan is a product many horse owners reach for in their performance horse and senior-horse care arsenal. Adequan relieves lameness by addressing inflammation and also restores joint lubrication. Additionally, it helps to repair damaged cartilage, which reverses the cycle of diseases caused by loss of cartilage. Adequan reaches the joints within two hours of administration, and clinical studies show that horses may show improvement as early as the fourth injection.

Best of Pharmaceuticals Honorable Mention: Merck

Best of Pharmaceuticals Honorable Mention: Merck Animal Health

Merck Animal Health covers a variety of species with its pharmaceutical solutions. Merck produces products horse owners are familiar with, such as Panacur Powerpac, a dewormer highly effective at fighting dangerous equine parasites, and Prestige, a line of flu-containing vaccines for your horse, as well as Safe-Guard and Regu-Mate. Their science-based approach and relationships with the industry’s top veterinarians helps them create products that are exceptional, safe, trusted and convenient.

*This is not intended to serve as medical advice. Equine owners should consult a veterinarian for recommendations and decisions pertaining to their horse’s health.

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