Let’s talk supplements. We all know there are basically millions to choose from- and not a lot of quality research to back up most of it. I would really love to get a ton of feedback on this thread, because I am ALWAYS on the fence about supplements. I would love to hear what you feed, and more importantly, WHY you feed it?
I have had Rio on some type of SmartPak supplement basically since I got him, but I am constantly changing it up. I always want to make sure I am giving him everything he needs, which leads to me second guessing myself and changing his supplements basically monthly kinda like a psycho who can’t make up her mind.
Let’s start with feed. I know a lot of people say that if you feed good quality food that you don’t need supplements. This may be true, but I also have this feeling that it can’t hurt to add a little “extra”. Rio gets Nutrena ProForce Fuel grain (12% crude protein, 10% crude fiber, 13% crude fat) which was picked out by Trainer. All of the horses in our barn look really good on it. He also gets all the coastal he can eat (basically) and alfalfa.
Joint supplements- hoax or real majik?
I do not particularly believe in the effectiveness of expensive feed through supplements for joint issues. I am not saying there aren’t any that work, but being fairly uneducated on such matters I like to hedge my bets and go with what is more proven- aka injectable joint meds. I use Pentosan and feel that it works very well. Rio is only 6, but he does have a bone spur in his left hock and some changes in his right, so I want him to always be comfortable. He also gets hock injections twice a year. Personally, I feel this is a better use of money then feed through joint supplements. I did have him on SmartPak’s Smart TLC pellets for a few months, which are basically $1/day and I figured it couldn’t hurt.
Then I heard somewhere that magnesium is good for muscle and nervous system support and it’s pretty cheap so I also put him on that. Again, unclear if at all helpful or proven effective, I just figured it couldn’t hurt and it was pretty cheap. Attribute it to my supplement ADD.
Trainer decided to start some of her horses on Equine Omega Complete so I jumped on the bandwagon and started Rio on it too. Their advertising campaign is spot-on btw. It is $60 a month, so at this point I was paying about $100 a month for supplements. Flushing money down the drain? Maybe. Unclear.
When Rio was started in pretty have training (a few months ago) I decided he could use some extra supplements for energy and to support muscle building. I put him on Red Cell and Smart Muscle Mass. At about $50/month total, I opted to take him off the magnesium and TLC, but continued the Equine Omega. So now we are up to $110/month total, not including the Pentosan which I give him 6 ml IM approx. every 2 weeks.
When Rio started down the vet road again a few weeks ago with his right hind issue aka spider bite of death, I again switched up his supplements. Took him off the Red Cell and Muscle Mass, and put him on SmartFlex Rehab pellets and SmartGI pellets to help him heal quick and hopefully not develop any ulcers. Because I do not fully trust ulcer prevention supplements he is also getting omperazole paste daily. Am I dumb to double up on ulcer prevention? Maybe. But, ulcers also really suck. Those 2 supplements cost $130/month, so I decided to take Rio off the Equine Omega at that time, because money doesn’t grow and trees and all. I also honestly didn’t feel like it was working, or not $60/month working. To me, Rio’s skin and coat looked dry-ish even after being on it for 3 months. Instead, I got a gallon of flaxseed oil from the feedstore for $24 and will see how that works for him.
Between the flaxseed oil and the Rehab and GI pellets, we are not up to $154 a month. Plus the daily omeprazole and probiotics both those are due to him being stall bound and on heavy antibiotics and not meant to be long term. Am I insane? I really want to know. Am I just wasting money? How do you decide if supplements are “worth it”? Rio has been seen by Amazing Vet approx 12 times in basically a 3 week period. I’m sure you can imagine what that bill looks like. I am not complaining about vet costs- I am REALLY glad he is getting better, but I am wondering if I’m wasting money on supplements or if they are worth the benefits. I will ABSOLUTELY do anything for Rio that helps him, but the logical side of my brain wonders if it even helps, or if the money would be better spent elsewhere.
WHY oh WHY is this so HARD?! So what are your views on supplements? If you already have a supplement post please link to it in my comments sections so I can read your views!
This is your reward for making it through this post: Rio nibbling on Ado’s face: