Supplements (BlogHop)

Jan at Codex Dressage posted about what supplements her horse was on. Although she didn’t make it up to be a blog hop, I thought it was really fascinating and wanted to do it myself. Especially since I’m not riding much right at this moment due to my horses conspiring to injure themselves, I could use some blogging topics. I’m also really curious what other people are using as I want to switch up things for Levi.

I’ve posted before about my do it yourself supplement packs. Years later, this is what we’re still doing. I have added some labelled bins to hold the supplement cups and keep them more organized. I used SmartPaks when I had Nilla in training, but they cost 3 times more than buying supplements by the bucket and making my own packs using tupperware. When I brought Nilla home, I had about 3 weeks of SmartPaks left and I hated throwing all the packing away every day.

I know a lot of people don’t believe in supplements and that’s cool. I’m actually highly skeptical of most of them myself. I don’t take any vitamins or supplements personally, but my horses are definitely producing some expensive pee if nothing else. Before starting supplements, I consulted with my vet and her opinion is that most supplements need to be fed at much higher concentrations than the suggested amount in order to be effective. Some supplement manufacturers will say use 1 scoop for a horse in light work and 2 scoops for horses in hard work. My vet’s advice was to do the hard work level for everything. She recommended 20,000 mg of MSM per day and at least 50mg of HA per day. Obviously consult with your own vet before deciding what supplements to use. This isn’t a how to guide, it’s just what I am doing.

When it comes to supplements, I am all about maximizing the about of the supplement per dollar per day. When I’m looking for a new supplement, I make a spreadsheet and cross compare the ingredients I’m looking for with the price. Since I sometimes feed a double dose (as is the case with MSM), I don’t use whatever the website says the cost per day is; I do my own calculations.


Absorbine Flex+Max

All three horses get a scoop of this per day. It has a high amount of HA and Glucosamine for the price. I buy it in bulk 10 lb container which is about 1 month’s worth for all 3 horses. I buy this from Santa Cruz Animal Health because it’s the cheapest place I can find it with free shipping. The chart above is from a while ago and the price has gone up a little, but I pay about $1.38 per horse per day for this.

Animed MSM

Since the Flex+Max doesn’t have enough MSM, I supplement with Animed’s straight MSM. It’s very cheap at $48 for a 10lb container. As I mentioned, my vet wants them on the loading dose so they get an ounce a day, which works out to < $0.12 per horse per day.


Nilla gets a 1/4 tab of Previcox per day. It’s prescription and I get it at ValleyVet. I buy the largest container possible and it works out to about $0.63 per day.

Picture Credit: © Absorbine and ©Animed


Animed Biotin 100 Powder

All three horses get Biotin. Nilla gets one scoop and Levi and Eugene get 2. I buy this one from Riding Warehouse and it works out to < $0.16 per horse per day.

Vegetable Oil

I know it’s not as fancy as flax oil, but it’s like a million times cheaper.They all get some for coat, but Eugene gets extra for weight gain. I buy it by the gallon at Target. Nilla gets 1 ounce, Levi 3, and Eugene 5. It’s about $0.05 per ounce per day, but the price can vary and I will buy a few gallons if it’s on sale.

Picture Credit: © Animed


Animed Ulc-R-Aid

Nilla gets 1 ounce per day plus extra before trailering or while staying away from home. It works out to about $0.27 per day.

Probios Treats

Nilla gets one per day. I’m not sure these do anything since my understanding of probiotics is that the yeasts and bacteria need to be alive to do anything and therefor wouldn’t survive being un-refrigerated let alone baking, but I’m a sucker so I buy them. Worst case, they’re a treat.


This is another one from ValleyVet though I will sometimes order just one from Riding Warehouse if I need one in a hurry and didn’t realize I’d used them all up. I only use this when trailering Nilla longer distances and my bank account cries whenever I do. $30 a tube.

Picture Credit: ©Merial, © Animed, and ©Probios

Fly Prevention

Animed BugLyte

Levi and Eugene get this. Nilla doesn’t because of her history of ulcers. If it weren’t for Shasta, I wouldn’t know if this were worth it or not. The horses do still get flies on them; it’s definitely not a miracle worker. However, Shasta used to rip her mane out itching at flies and midges. We added this to her feed and she stopped doing it. It really made a difference for her. It cost $5 per month per horse to feed this. $5 is worth it to me even if I don’t see dramatic results.

Solitude IGR

This is new this spring and the whole barn is on it. It only works if every horse on the property is getting it as it kills larvae in their poop – it doesn’t deter flies from landing on your horse. Our barn owner decided to mandate it this year. She feeds it to the other horses at the barn and charges a monthly fee. We bought our own container and feed it with our own supplements because that seemed easier. This stuff is pretty expensive at $0.40 per horse per day, but since I would have to pay this as part of my board, it’s really a wash.

And the best part is, this stuff WORKS. Everyone at the barn was really worried about how the flies would be this summer after our wettest winter in years. We decided to go the feed through route and wow has it made a difference. We have never had so few flies. It’s like night and day.  I cannot recommend this enough though it’s not something you can just do for your horse. You have to do it for all the horses on the property and I have heard reviews that if you are very close to other properties that don’t do it, it won’t work. The flies are still attracted to the poop and the horses so they’ll come visit after breeding at your neighbor’s. Our barn is isolated enough for this to work wonders.

Picture Credit: © Animed and ©Zoetis

Weight Gain

We have a hard time keeping weight on Eugene. He has been seen by the vet and dentist. There’s nothing wrong with him; he’s just not a good keeper. I think he’s so energetic, he just works it all off.

Weight Super Gain

This is another one where I can’t believe how well it works. We bought a bag of this last year for Eugene and the effect was dramatic. It was only a 10 lb bag over the course of 20 days, but he put on enough weight to be easily noticed. He certainly put on more than 10 lbs and I know physics says that’s not possible, so it must be doing something to help him better metabolize his other food. We went through 2 bags last year then stopped and his weight stayed up. This spring, once we started conditioning for Endurance and doing a lot of eventing, we noticed his weight slipping again and bought a few bags. His weight has come back up and we’ll see if we need anymore this summer. This one is a bit expensive at $40 for 20 days, but we haven’t needed to use it long-term. Levi has been getting a half ration of it as well.

Stabilized Rice Bran Pellets

It’s not technically a supplement, but it’s worth mentioning for people who are looking for good weight gain solutions. Eugene gets a pound of this added to his food daily and Levi gets a 1/2 lb. The stabilized pellets don’t go rancid as quickly so the one bag can last a while. I like Rice Bran for adding calories without adding too much sugar. Eugene and Levi do not need extra energy and we don’t feed any grain. I buy whatever brand I can find as our local feed store is frequently out and I will then have to shop around. I feel the pellets instead of the powder because Eugene is a picky eater. Isn’t it always the ones who need the weight who’ll refuse to eat their food?

Picture Credit: © Horse Guard © Manna Pro

Ration Balancer

Because our horses don’t get grain, we feed beet pulp to soak up the supplements and get a guaranteed amount of water into them. We use unsweetened Beet Pulp so they’re not getting any added sugars. Beet pulp is my favorite food to feed because it’s just a fiber, like hay. However, beet pulp doesn’t have any of the vitamins and minerals that horses need, so we use a ration balancer. Here’s an excellent article on ration balancers and how they work. We feed LMF Super supplement G. It’s formulated for our area to meet the needs of horses getting the type of hay we’re feeding.

Muscle Builder

Here’s where you come in dear readers. I’d really like to add something to Levi’s diet to help him with muscle gain. He gets lots of hay and a ration balancer in addition to his supplements. He’s at a good weight, but I am having a hard time building condition and muscle on him. I think part of it his being drafty. He’s not going to condition as easily as Arabs or TBs; it’s not what his body is designed for. But I’d still like to help him. I’ve never bought any supplements for this before. Please let me know in the comments if you have any suggestions.

Blog Hop – or Comments

I am genuinely curious what other bloggers are using for supplements. While I like the ones I’m using, I have changed them up in the past and I’m always keeping my eyes peeled for new options. I also find it really interesting to see the differences in what people are feeding for different horse lifestyles, different sports, and in different parts of the country. I know my way of feeding has changed since I moved to California. Feel free to do a blog hop or just let me know if the comments what you use.

* There are no affiliate links in this post (or any of my posts).

32 thoughts on “Supplements (BlogHop)

  1. Karen

    Add lysine to his diet. My vet has us on 10mg a day. It’s an amino acid that helps protein build muscle. Works very well.

  2. Leah

    Have you considered AniMed’s Muscle Up? I don’t do a ton of supplements myself, but most of the ones I feed are AniMed, because they’re a good combination of cheap and effective.

    My OTTB is on AniMed’s SweatAgain (for his anhydrosis), both my mares are on organic raspberry leaves (cheaper than Mare Magic and it’s identical), and then Ruby gets Ulc-R-Aid and a little bit of MuscleUp (although my goal with her was more as an electrolyte than a muscle gain thing, and it seems to be working because within a few days of starting it she started draining her water buckets in her stall every single day).

    1. Olivia Post author

      Anime is my preferred as well since it’s cheap and I can usually get just the one element I want. I’ll check out the muscle up

  3. Megan

    For muscle builder, with Rico I fed Core Builder, which is outrageously expensive but I noticed a huge difference with him. TC isn’t so lucky but I do have him on Muscle Up from Animed. Not sure if that is making a difference just yet though. But I got it cheap at Expo so figured I would try it!

  4. Kate Little

    I do have to say that I’ve noticed HUGE differences in muscle gain with TriAmino – also I want to do this write up because it would literally be so ridiculous….

    1. Carly

      Second TriAmino. Made a notable difference in Bobby’s muscling, and it’s pretty cheap as well.

  5. Laura

    Interesting post – thanks for sharing! Smart to make your own spreadsheet based on your dosing of the product. I don’t feed many supplements, mostly because I’m in Canada and am not super impressed by the stuff I can get here. I used to buy a few items from the US when the exchange rate was better, but the driving 2 hrs roundtrip to pick up the supplements added an extra cost! Right now, my horse gets a ration balancer (Buckeye Grow n Win) and powdered magnesium. He hates the magnesium and will only eat it if the grain is soaked so he has no choice. lol

    1. Olivia Post author

      I am glad I’m not in Canada. It seems like it’s harder to get a lot of equestrian stuff up there.

  6. Kelly W

    I blogged about my supplement ambivalence in June- maybe you read mine? But anyway- omg I love your spreadsheet! This is the kind of organization I love. I am totally going yo have to take a page out of your book. I feed the Animed flax seed oil and adore it! Love Animed products

    1. Kelly W

      One more thing- omeprazole is the generic form of ulcer guard. You can get it without a script and for way cheaper at or Some people say its a sketchy site because they sell drugs without scripts- but I’ve used them a bunch with so problem. Horse pre race tends to have it on sale if you watch for it. I got it for $9 a tube once.

    2. Olivia Post author

      Animed is great for being cheap and also offering lots of straight up versions of supplements. Like straight MSM or Flax. I like being able to use just the things I want.

  7. Stacie Seidman

    This is an interesting blog hop! Maybe I’ll take some pics tonight when I feed and join in the fun. I’m sorry I don’t have any muscle building suggestions but I’m going to follow along, because Rio is losing his rapidly. (Age and epm mostly, so not sure a supplement would help him, but you never know!)

  8. martidoll123

    love this post!! so interesting! I only use smart digest and a multivitamin addition since Remus gets so little grain (he gets a 10 percent pellet and my coffee mug in the morning is about double his volume. Poor starving horse 🙂 Great post!

    1. Olivia Post author

      Poor Remus 🙂 Since we feed our own we can skip grains and feed beet pulp instead and then even the fatties like Nilla and Shasta get some and don’t feel left out. This western style of not feeding grains is probably going to stick with me even once I move back east.

  9. TheDancingDonkey

    I test my hay and supplement to balance that. In the northeast we are low in selenium, copper and zinc; way too high in iron and manganese. The only commercially available supplement that address this is California Trace, which is a small company that was born out the failure of the feed industry to take into account the horse’s main diet. Most supplements and feeds are balanced to themselves, but not to the rest of the diet. The big name stuff is all developed to fit the lowest common denominator so they generally fail all horses. I feed the Ca Trace and give Actiflex 4000 as a joint supp. You might want to check it out, it is comparable to the Flex+Max, but cheaper. On sale right now at Big Dees:

    1. Olivia Post author

      I’ve looked into California Trace. The LMF supper supplement I feed does the same balancing act and is a bit cheaper, but I have been tempted to switch to the trace. It’d definitely on my back up list. I hadn’t heard of Actiflex before so thanks for the recommendation. I’ll have to think about switching.

  10. Dom

    My dogs are on more supplements than my horses LOL JR is on Previcox (technically a medication, not a supplement) and that’s it. Then again, they are mostly retired.

      1. Dom

        Julio isn’t on anything now that we got his spleen issue resolved. Herbie is on a generic joint supplement and Previcox. She used to be on a bladder supplement too, but it made her gain a ton of weight so we weaned her off of it, and so far so good (knock on wood!)

  11. Kaity

    Topline Advance is the only muscle-builder that my vet will recommend because it’s got the most research backing it up (according to her). I know a few people at my barn who have used it, including my trainer, and they all have had noticeable results. However, it’s pretty expensive, as is the “premium” version of it – Topline Extreme.

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