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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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