Just got the smartpak catalog in the mail. They have expanded so much! LOVE Smartpak BTW. Super fast shipping. Anyway- their line of supplements has expanded tremendously and its so easy to get sucked into the "my horse needs this, my horse needs that". I have my horse on SmartVite EZ Keeper (since he gets little grain), SmartHoof for the extra boost, and SmartSenior for his joints. But I'm wondering if even thats a waste. Are antioxidants or Immune supps overkill? Who out there doesn't supplement at all?
My guys ONLY get MSM (a proven anti-inflammatory) and my one with a colic history gets SmartDigest. Most horses with a balanced diet don't need much unless they are competing FREQUENTLY. I think people over supplement as a rule.
I've tried joint supplements and could not tell a particle of difference in my horses - not in the twenty-five year old with old-age stiffness nor in the ten year old who's back at the knee.
I've also tried hoof supplements with the same (non)result. Changing farriers turned out to be the solution to their hoof problems.
I also started feeding *gasp* Purina feeds, on the advice of my vet and my trainer. Old guy gets Strategy and young guy gets Edge. They're both doing better than they were on either Seminole or Triple Crown. Go figure.
Of the 6 horses in my barn, only 2 of them are on supplements: my 30-year-old is on plain old MSM and probiotics, and my boarder's 19-year-old mare is on a joint combo (MSM, Glucosamine, and HA).
I've had the others on and off of supplements at one point or another, but I honestly don't notice a difference. I DO notice a difference with my old guy (he keeps his weight better) and, while I don't really notice when the mare is on her supplemets, if we run out I can sure tell when she's NOT getting her supps! All of her joints start going snap, crackle, and pop.
So, I tend to only supplement when I can see a difference in the horse, otherwise I save my money.
I only just started feeding my boy black oil sunflower seeds (that I make into my own 'smartpacks' for the barn to use by filling up little baggies with the right amount periodically and putting them into a bag I've hung on his stall). Just want to see if it helps his skin and coat (not that it's bad, but he does get dry skin...). I thought about going the smartpak route but I spent about $15 for like 20lbs of seeds and making them up in my "smartpacks" doesn't take a lot of time and I can reuse the baggies so I feel like I'm being more "green" doing it this way, anyway.
That, and I'm enamored of the stories I heard people tell this summer of sunflowers growing in the manure pile.
Electrolytes now and then - when the weather makes one of its famous right hand turns out of nowhere. Otherwise, that's about it. I feed a good quality feed and hay and they have plenty of pasture. There feet are good. Figure mother nature is doing her job just fine and they are all under the age of ten.
Last edited by Saidapal; Nov. 4, 2009 at 03:25 PM.
I used to feed supplements, but my horse has been free of all supplements for nearly a year and has never looked better.
I buy the best low starch feed, the best looking hay, colorado alfalfa. He looks awesome, why buy what you don't need?
I don't supplement my own horses and never have. They have good quality grain (Strategy, Ult Finish & sunflower seeds), good hay and grass, and have free access to mineral blocks. They've always been healthy & fine. I feel that most supplements do the supplement companies more good than the horses!
I used to feed a little Strategy in addition to cubes, but wasn't happy with it. Switched to King Brand Feeds Ultra 20/20 - I like the results much better, although I don't feed nearly as much as they "recommend". That the only supplement I feed. I only feed that since I started competing heavily on my mare (and I could give her something w/out giving my gelding a little too!). Otherwise, I wouldn't feed anything more than the cubes.
Can't get into all the micro-management for nutrients ...
Of my eight horses, only one gets anything beyond "normal food". The oldest, a 27 year old, has arthritis in one knee, and gets an MSM/Glucosamine/Chondroitin combo.
I'm skeptical of supplements in general, but I had won a tub of a joint supplement as a door prize somewhere, and it sat around and sat around until this mare started getting a little gimpy. I started giving it to her, and she didn't get any worse. I bought a couple more tubs and used them up, and then didn't get any more for several months.
Mare became not just gimpy, but noticeably lame nearly all the time and almost on three legs at times. So I put her back on the joint supplement, and she's back to just being gimpy (walks pretty sound nearly all the time, trots a little off, and doesn't volunteer to canter much except when she gets a wild hair up her butt.)
Now maybe that's just because I separated her from the a**h*** gelding who kept chasing her.... or maybe the supplement really is helping. Either way, at her age, I figure I can't take the chance of stopping because if it is doing her good, and if I stop and she goes downhill again, she might not be able to come back at all.
FWIW, I board at a barn where most of the horses get no grain nor any supplements. A lot of them have dull coats, their eyes water/run easily, their manes and tails are coarse and frayed, and honestly they just don't look at their optimum.
My mare, on the other hand, seems to just glow by comparison. Very shiny coat, thick strong mane and tail, super bright eyes. She gets no grain, but gets Mega-Cell (a multivit/min supplement) once a day.
That's the only supplement she gets. I may add MSM, I'm not sure yet. It one of those "cheap and doesn't hurt" supps, so we'll see.
Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!