Supplements or No?

Does your horse get supplements? Do you think supplements are worthwhile or a waste of money? Or maybe you are, like me, somewhat ambivalent about them? Because it really depends on what the supplements are and the individual horse, right?

Eli does get some supplements. So here, I am talking specifically about the daily feed-through ones that aren’t prescription medications.

HALO is a feed-through liquid hyaluronic acid supplement for joint health. It seems to keep Eli comfortable (but is not a replacement for joint injections). Also, he eats it. No powdered or pelleted supplements for his serene highness. Conveniently, I can get the HALO directly through my barn, so I just tack it on my board check every month.

ThiaCal is a vitamin B1 supplement for nervous system health. It seems to even out Eli’s reactiveness quite a bit, and it doesn’t have any “dopey” stuff in it like tryptophan or Valerian root. It’s salty, but also in liquid form so Eli eats it. (He’ll lick it off my hand, honestly.)

Probios is a probiotic. It comes in cookie form. Eli’s been on this one the longest, and I swear his tail is thicker and his forelock is less sad looking because of this supplement.

Majesty’s Omega Wafers are a new supplement for us. Shedding season is upon us, and fatty acids help with skin & coat health. And it’s in cookie form, too. We’ll see how Eli’s skin is doing after a month of this one. I am considering subscribing via Amazon, as they’re offered at a good price for a 60-count bag.

Don’t be fooled by the cookie form — they are truly supplements, not treats, and Eli gets one a day. I have actual treats for him, too, of course. Of which he gets many a day.

Eli is also fed all the coastal he can/will eat (maybe 6 flakes a day if that — he can be picky) and an alfalfa-based fortified pellet feed, so I think that alone offers some nutrients that would make some supplements pointless.

The HALO and the ThiaCal have made a noticeable difference to me for Eli. Neither are any kind of magic bullet, but I can feel the benefits of both with Eli under saddle. Honestly, I am thinking about starting HALO for myself — people and dogs can take it, too.

Are your horses on supplements? Do you notice a difference in your horse because of certain supplements?

22 thoughts on “Supplements or No?

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  1. Mine are all on a multi-vitamin supplement (Mega-Cell), which I feed because my horses’ nutritional needs are met. (I used FeedXL to help with the calculations.) Gina is on an MSM supplement, too, which I think makes a world of difference in how much her joints crack and pop. She seems much more comfortable with the MSM than without, and it’s so cheap that I don’t even care if the placebo effect is what’s really going on!


    1. MSM is an interesting one! It does seem like it can treat inflammation or arthritis but there’s never been anything definitive on it. If it’s working for Gina that’s awesome!


  2. I don’t know if they help or not but I am of the mind that it can’t hurt?? So I keep paying for them πŸ™‚ I still use smartpak and may be looking elsewhere but for now I have Remus on the SmartDigest (with the Colicare Insurance) and a Metabolic supplement called Leg Up (It is so much cheaper than the metabolic I had Remus on before). Tate is on the Metabolic too just because they are both cresty enough to make me think Insulin Resistance. My vet says it can’t hurt so I keep them on it. I have added two new supps (Not thru SmartPak) just lately. One is the ViaCalm (it is cheap to buy at Tractor Supply if it helps at all I will go online and buy a bigger version) Sarah (Three Chestnuts) is also trying it. I give it to both boys but just started this week. They seem quieter already but sure that is the placebo affect :). The other one I just got and bought is Quitt. Tate and Remus both chew on my fences. Do I think they are missing minerals and/or have ulcers? NOPE but I figured for 13 dollars it was worth trying it to see if stops them from being beavers (Tate is more guilty than Remus of the chewing).

    Sorry for being so long. Remus’s smart paks are about 55 bucks a month and Tate’s one supplement from smart pak is like 14 bucks. The two new supplements were cheap and for two horses comes to about fifty cents a day for each if these last a month. So I think its worth a try.

    Again my guys are easy keepers. But both shine with good health(and fat) so I hate to change anything up. I did use Fly feedthru from Smartpak last year and I think I started too late. Not sure if I will try again this year earlier or just try the predators.

    I did have Remus and Tate on Remission that was good for fatties BUT they were spookier than hell on it. Now they are always stupid but they have been off it a few weeks now and the difference is huge. Not sure again if placebo affect but whatever πŸ˜‰ I figure the ViaCalm is mostly for Tate but it is worth trying so far no new spookiness. πŸ™‚

    Wow that was way too much info πŸ™‚ HA! the good thing is my horses EAT anything so it doesnt matter what I put in their food πŸ˜‰


        1. Right? Normally that would be my reaction (and was the first time Eli stopped eating) but it’s just something he does every once in a while. He has days where he is a hay vacuum and others where he just stands there looking at it like he’s hoping it will suddenly be alfalfa πŸ˜‚πŸ˜­

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  3. Amber used to get SmartPaks, but after doing some research, I could get more mgs per dollar just buying the supplements in and of themselves instead of buying the SmartPaks. Since her surgery and laminitis, I have Amber on the regular Animed MSM, Glucosamine and HA, all in powder form since she’ll eat it that way. The only other thing she gets is flaxseed. I think her body responds best to the HA, second to the MSM and then Glucosamine, so I think I could take her off the Glucosamine if I wanted. But I have noticed that once I put her on all 3 of those she was noticeably more comfortable within a week, so I keep her on that :). Plus, the jars are inexpensive, and a few bucks cheaper than the SPs, and I like that I can add/subtract however much I want vs the SPs. Plus, even just the 2.25 lb jars last like 2 1/2 months, so you save money in the long run lol.


    1. I have definitely saved in the long run taking Eli off smartpaks. It’s interesting how all three together work so well for Amber — it makes me wonder about adding glucosamine & msm for Eli since he’s getting older.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah Whisper is 16 and on the same supplements as Amber and all 3 have helped her as well. It took a little longer for her but we noticed a difference with her too after about 2 weeks. Amber is only 8 but with all her injuries and no doubt already developing arthritis, I feel it helps πŸ™‚


  4. I think some help more than others, and it does seem to depend on the individual horse. I have my boys all on something. Rio is on the most, but he has the most special needs. Some of his are prescription, but all were recommended by the vet. (I don’t get them all from the vet though, so he’s not just taking my money!)
    Rio: Ponazuril (med, not a supplement), small dose of banamine daily ( med, old age pain stuff), electrolytes, Elevate (liquid vitamin E), Senior Flex HA (joint plus msm, and some other good stuff), Bute-less performance, Transfer Factor (immunity), equiotix (probiotic), and U-shield (stomach stuff).
    Jamp: E-5000 (vitamin e), electrolytes, metaboleeze (for founder recovery), Isoxuprine (med for his feet), equiotics, and U-shield. I’d like to get him back on the senior flex, but that’s on hold while he recovers from the laminitis.
    Eros: E-5000, electrolytes, senior flex ha, and he’s on some meds while his ligament heals in his ankle.
    Ugh. They’re so expensive these horses.


    1. I had a horse on isoxuprine for a while and that shit is magical. His xrays improved significantly (he had some changes in the navicular area like small lesions or something but after he was on isoxuprine for 6 months or so his xrays looked great)


  5. It depends on what you define as a supplement. I have taken my horses off traditional feed. Instead I offer them 24/7 hay and I give them beet pulp and alfalfa twice daily. With each feeding they also get hay stretcher, a supplement called VT Blend to provide what forage doesn’t, rice bran, and flax. We are in winter too so they get vitamin e. If I notice any gastro issues they go on a quality probiotic, I prefer absorball.


    1. I hear so many great things about flaxseed. I tried rice bran for my horse for a little weight gain and it changed his personality quite a bit somehow so we decided not to keep him on it.


        1. It was so bizarre! But a few days after we stopped it he was way less “hot,” edgy, whatever you want to call it. I was surprised that rice bran would even do that.


          1. Same. I can’t imagine what could have caused that reaction. Excess protein can create an excess of calories and so can excess carbs but bran is typically fat and cool calories. My thoughts are maybe it added more calories than needed?


          2. That’s really all I can think of. And the rice bran was the only change for him that week so we couldn’t figure out what else would have done that.


  6. I don’t have Scarlet on any supplements. I think they do work depending on what you use. I would love to have something for him but I’m not well versed on equine nutrition and we aren’t in a program that really demands much. Plus supplements aren’t cheap and aren’t in my budget at the moment. Maybe when summer time rolls around.


      1. Possibly. I do want to do some research to see if adding something for muscle building in seniors would be worth it. But I think his diet is good enough for regular maintenance.


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