The horse industry in general offers a dizzying array of options for everything — tack, clothes both for horse and rider, feed, supplements, treats, grooming tools, and the list could go on and on — so I thought I’d help a little and tell you about what I like and why.
Now, no one post on a specific topic could detail all of an equestrians favorite things cause let’s face it, we tend to acquire a generous amount of ‘stuff’ which gets stored in our tack trunks, trailers, cars and yes, even our homes. And as an eventer, I seem to have triple the collection, much to my husband’s chagrin. This installment of ‘A Few of My Favorite Things’ is all about feed, supplements and treats.
This isn’t the gospel; it’s just one rider’s opinion about what works for me and my horse. But I’m happy to share the benefit of my own experience, and give you the goodies that resulted.
SmartPak supplements — When I first got Charlie Brown, he was on a very small amount of grain, supplemented by just black oil sunflower seeds and ground flax seed. And while it was easy to get those items, I had to get them in bulk and scoop them myself. I tried to do that for a while, but I just couldn’t keep up. So I switched to SmarkPak supplements. Obviously we don’t get sunflower seeds in our paks, but the helpful Supplement Wizard helped me figure out what supplements would offer similar nutritional value. While they don’t offer every single supplement available, they do have a good selection.
But perhaps more important is the ability to manage my supplements from their app. So whenever I meet with my barn manager to discuss Charlie’s nutrition, if a change to his supplements is needed, I can make the update right on my phone, and it comes in our next shipment of SmartPaks.
Buckeye No Sugar Added Treats — Not only are these made without added sugar, they’re small so I can use them as a training tool without over-stuffing Charlie with “junk food.” They’re also hard enough so that I can keep a handful in my pocket, and not wind up with a pile of treat dust at the end of the day. They come in peppermint, carrot and apple flavors.
Natural Vet RedCal Salt — Charlie used to have a standard salt block, but he never seemed to get enough and he was licking it constantly. As an experiment, we switched him to RedCal because it is a loose salt, and I thought he might be able to better satisfy his taste for salt. I quickly discovered that it did just that. I fill the small wall-mounted dish in his stall about once a week, and he occasionally takes a bit and moves on. RedCal also contains a variety of trace minerals. I order two 25 lb bags at a time, so shipping is free, and I store the salt in a five-gallon bucket.
Natural Vet Weight Check Oil — This oil provides a mix of Omega 3s and Omega 6s from organic soybeans. It keeps Charlie’s coat beautiful and provides him with additional cool calories to maintain his energy level.
Better Bucket — This feed bucket has a flat back, tapered sides, and a sloping front. This makes it easier for Charlie to get his head down into the bucket to get his grain, without it being claustrophobic.
Heated Water Bucket — Charlie lives outside, so when winter comes, we use a heated water bucket to make sure he has access to water no matter how cold it gets. This is a 20-quart flat-back bucket, so it holds an ample supply. And the grounded plug winds back into a compartment in the bottom of the bucket for storage during the off season.
Big D’s Ultra Slow Feeder Hay Net — To make sure that Charlie doesn’t just plow through his hay when we’re out and about, I use this hay net with a super small 1″ x 1″ weave. He has to work to get the hay out of it, so it takes him longer to eat the 5-6 flakes this will hold.
Dura-Tech Stable Hand — This is basically a sheet of plastic that holds open your hay net so one person can fill the net without winding up with most of it down your shirt!
HayGain Hay Steamer — To help manage Charlie’s cough, we switched him to steamed hay. Since he eats an entire bale a day, I got the HG-2000, which steams a full bale at a time. It has two tanks to produce plenty of steam, which kills bacteria, mold, fungi, and eliminates dust, without altering the nutritional value of the hay.
What are your favorite feed, treats and supplements for your horse and why?