When I first got my horse Sasha back in 2013, the first thing I ordered for her was her SmartPaks. At the time she was six-going-on-seven and we were spending our time focusing on flatwork and working over small jumps in preparation for her 2’6” hunter debut. Based on her workload and what areas of support I thought she could benefit from, her SmartPaks included SmartFlex II Support Pellets, SmartDigest Ultra, and SmartGut Pellets.
Fast forward three years and she’s still the same smart, sassy, and opinionated mare that she was when she first walked into the barn, but there are some other things that have changed. She’s now nine-going-on-ten, had a successful debut in the 3’ hunters last year, and is spending her time sharpening her jumping style (and working on her flatwork, because you can never improve your flatwork too much!).
Another thing that’s changed is how much we know about her and her individual needs, which in turn means that her SmartPaks need to change to meet those needs. Here’s how her SmartPaks have changed based on her changing needs:
Stepping Up Her Joint Support
When Sasha first came, SmartFlex II Support Pellets provided the perfect amount of support for her moderate workload. However, over time her workload has increased and she’s jumping higher and competing more frequently. Because of that, I wanted to increase the level of joint support in her SmartPaks. Our SmartFlex line makes it easy to do that because it has a different formula for each workload level.
Since Sasha was getting SmartFlex II Support Pellets, it made the most sense to step her up to SmartFlex III Resilience Pellets. This formula is designed for horses in heavy work, and includes a higher level of joint support from glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, HA, and MSM, plus silica and collagen for resilient tendons and ligaments.
Combining Her Stomach & Hindgut Support
Sasha’s first SmartPaks included SmartGut Pellets to help maintain a healthy stomach and SmartDigest Ultra to support a balanced hindgut.
I didn’t know whether Sasha was a picky eater or not when I got her, and I wrongfully assumed that she would be like my last horse, who happily ate whatever pellets or powder you put in front of him. I quickly learned that Sasha was not a fan of powdered supplements. The SmartDigest Ultra was getting left at the bottom of her feed bucket – the very last place I wanted it to be! Since things like changes in hay, training, and travel can stress a horse’s delicate digestive system, it’s really important to me that her hindgut support ends up where it’s supposed to.
With that in mind, I knew I needed to switch her to a pelleted digestive supplement. I had two options: SmartDigest Ultra Pellets, which provides the same hindgut support that she was getting in a pelleted form, and SmartGI Ultra Pellets, which combines the ingredients from SmartDigest Ultra with stomach support from SmartGut Ultra Pellets. Choosing one of these two formulas also meant that Sasha would be eligible to remain enrolled in ColiCare, our $7,500 colic surgery reimbursement program. (Want to learn more about ColiCare? Check out the details of the program here.)
I decided to go with SmartGI Ultra Pellets because it would mean that she was getting the hindgut support that had been in her SmartPaks along with a higher level of stomach support. Since Sasha is a show horse and under stress from training, competing, and traveling, stepping up the level of stomach support she was getting seemed like a smart choice.
As we got to know Sasha and started working her more, we discovered was that she was a heavy sweater. Having a heavy sweater means more than just long nights at the barn waiting for your horse to dry – it also means that your horse may benefit from an electrolyte supplement!
When a horse sweats, he or she loses salt and other key minerals that are essential to normal nerve and muscle function that need to be replenished. The best way to ensure that your horse is getting the right amount of electrolytes every day is with a daily supplement. That’s why I decided to add SmartLytes Pellets to Sasha’s SmartPaks. They’re carefully formulated to mimic the mineral losses in equine sweat, and even picky Sasha is happy to gobble down the apple-banana flavored pellets.
Adding Moody Mare Support
When I got Sasha, it had been years since I had owned a mare. The last mare I had never exhibited any of the “mare-ish” behavior that everyone talks about, so learning how to manage Sasha’s moodiness was a whole new experience for me. Along with working with my veterinarian to ensure there weren’t any underlying issues that were causing Sasha’s moodiness, I added Mare Magic to her SmartPaks. This economical formula provides pure, dried raspberry leaf, an herb that’s thought to help regulate smooth muscle tone in both the reproductive and gastrointestinal tracts.
As you can see, Sasha’s SmartPaks have changed quite a bit since she first came three years ago, and I’m sure that over the next few years her needs will continue to change and I’ll need to review her supplement program again.
If it’s been a while since you’ve reviewed your own horse’s supplement program, the new year is the perfect time to take a moment to review your horse’s needs and determine whether his or her current supplement program is still meeting them. If you need help evaluating your horse’s program, don’t forget that our Supplement Experts are here to help! Just give us a call at 1-800-461-8898 or send an email to CustomerCare@SmartPak.com and one of our Supplement Experts can help ensure that your horse’s supplements are meeting his or her needs.