I couldn’t help it. Last week it was reported SmartPak flew past the 150 millionth supplement mark. As I’ve said before, genius! SmartPak has led horse owners to a revolution of supplement feeding, convenience, and often times, throwing money into the shavings!
While there are definitely supplements that horses might need (especially regional nutrients), for the most part, supplements give horse owners a sense of purpose and accomplishment; peace of mind even their horse is receiving the best possible feed ingredients to enhance their coat, joint mobility, hooves, immune system, muscles, tendons, ligaments, respiratory system, gastrointestinal tract, energy, and weight. SmartPak even sells horse supplements to control flies, control moody mares, calm spastic horses, and alleviate wood chewing!
I mean come on! There is a supplement for everyone’s needs. Not necessarily for every horse’s needs, but the horses don’t have credit cards.
While I have fallen victim to images of great, miraculous effects supplementation can have on my horses’ health and performance, I in tune, have simplified my feeding program. Essentially, unless a horse ties up, is prone to colic, needs some extra calories, or is deficient in a major mineral (usually selenium), horse supplements are really unnecessary.
Many equine health studies explain that many horses (like people) are over supplemented and conclude the benefits of most supplements are still questionable. In theory, if a horse has bad feet, biotin MUST make his feet better. But in reality, that horse is most likely NOT deficient in biotin or any other vitamin/mineral essential to hoof quality. That horse really just has bad feet, genetically. Proper hoof care may improve horse’s feet, and a supplement after a year’s time MIGHT make a difference, but determining if that difference has come from the supplement or from other factors is nearly impossible.
When it comes to feeding horse supplements, talk to a vet about what you are feeding your horse and why. Then stop feeding all those useless supplements and put your money into something more realistic (i.e. drop join supplements in favor of Adequine, skip vitamins in favor of…well…new tack, really).
But in leu of cutting back on horse supplements, you could continue to make SmartPak and all the supplement companies that are sold through them rich. Then they can get to their 200 millionth “supplement served” mark that much quicker!
Citizen Horse Opinion of Supplements That Don’t Suck
- Platinum Performance
- selenium (for horses known deficient)
- Vitamin E (for horses with tie up issues)
- daily dewormer if you choose
- only 25% of hoof supplements (must research ingredients needs/condition)
- only 25% of all joint supplements (must research ingredients needs/condition)