Horse Tack Review

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Purina Mills
Original molasses 3 pound bucket.with horseshoes on logo.
Horse Treats

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Manufacturer: Purina Mills (View all products by Purina Mills)

Model: Original molasses 3 pound bucket.with horseshoes on logo. (View all Original molasses 3 pound bucket.with horseshoes on logo. reviews)

Category: Horse Treats

Purchase: I first bought Nicker Makers as a getting-to-know-you treat, a bribe, actually. I often feel that in a relationship with a horse it's never quite a fair exchange. I'd happened onto a couple of horses one day while out on a country road in search of something to pet. That first day an inquisitive paint took a gamble on me and sauntered over to the fence. After the appropriate snuffling of my breath, ears, hands, and polite tasting of a few strands of my hair, he poked at my then-empty pockets. He soon excused himself and went back to nibbling grass while casting the occasional eye at me. Next day, having acknowledged my etiquette infraction, I bought a pocket-sized packet of Nicker Makers at Rainey's Feed and Farm in Sams Valley, Oregon. Stashing them in a fanny pack, I went to visit my new friend. He grazed himself gradually nearer to the fence, and finally greeted me with a friendly nose bump. I opened the package and offered him a treat, which he swooped up eagerly, throwing up his head to snuff in the full effect. As I walked back home he followed along the fence as far as his pasture would allow. Day three: He trotted over to the fence immediately when he saw me coming up the road. Two thoroughbreds were close behind him. The packet didn't last long. All three followed me home. On day four there was a herd waiting at the fence: the paint, the two TBs, a palamino gelding, a short furry black something or other, a skinny white pony, a hot red sorrel, two bay QHs, a wild-as-a-hare mustang and five dogs. It was the beginning of a cherished relationship with the 20+ horses and menagerie of other critters of the Long Branch Stables in Shady Cove, Oregon. And the purchase of many, many packets of Nicker Makers. Rainey's quickly saw the wisdom of stocking the buckets for me, the best deal I've found at about $7.95. The pocket-sized packages at $1.95 are still a great convenience if you don't actually have pockets handy.

Likes: Since then I've used Nicker Makers to open and maintain good relations with stables in Oregon and Texas, including Diamond Crest Arabian Sporthorses and Oakcrest Farm, both members of the Texas Arabian Racing Association. These treats have never failed. Overall, I think the taboo of dispensing treats is disappointing. Since my association with horses is as a handler/rider of other people's animals, I am obligated to respect owners wishes, which I do. Some recent journals have new reviews about treats as training tools, and some well respected trainers have some very positive things to say about the results. I have used them in the round pen and noted a definite eagerness, even heightened interest and willingness in light schooling when treats are involved.

Dislikes: I've noted that the horses tend to fight over Nicker Makers more than any other treats I've used. I really have to be aware of where each one is standing in relation to myself and each other. They do kick and bite for a front-row seat. Even in my pocket this particular treat can stir up behavior problems. I find them most effective when I'm one-on-one, over the fence, at a stall door or in the round pen. Or in the field with someone lonely! Also, you need to check the expiration date. With natural ingredients, they can get stale.

Quality: The ingredients of Nicker Makers place it in the "cookie" category of a horse's diet, and should be offered as such. There are nutritious parts as well as sweet-treats in each nugget. Horses' palates can be spoiled. I have to admit I've wondered what the mystery "horsenip" ingredient is that invariably makes this the favorite treat. An Arabian stallion literally went through my pockets one day to find half of a Nicker Maker in the lining underneath other treats! I like that they don't crumble all to bits. They stay in a nugget, so you can toss a few into your tote when you move down the shedrow or from pasture to pasture and you'll still be able to find them and offer a nugget, not a handful of crumbs, along with a friendly noogie! They're also easier to share with co-workers, as you can conveniently hand off a few.

Summary: I'm really happy to have found these early on when I started working around horses. They're affordable, convenient, and quite readily available. If you can't find them it's worth it to see if you can have them ordered in. Keep them in your pockets, your gear bag, your trunk, the tractor cubby, or your boot! The horses will grin when they see you coming!

Rating: 5

Author: Cheri Sullivan

Date: 2013-02-18

Usefulness Rating: 3 out of 5.
1 reader(s) voted.

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