I recently was asked a bunch on Instagram what supplements I use for my horses. I’ve used a ton over the years, and I started using SmartPaks in 2009 when Tempo was having very bad diarrhea episodes. I tried SmartGut, and things have been fantastic with him ever since.
So, I put together a little guide of my 10 must have supplements (you obviously don’t need to use all 10. SmartPak has a handy wizard for you to answer questions about your horse and determine what’s best for him or her, or you can judge for yourself based on your horse’s needs and your deep knowledge of them!)
Note: I am not a horse nutritionist nor do I have the credentials to comprehensively determine what a horse should be eating diet-wise (I mean, I can give a horse food and know what to feed it, but I’m not nutrition wizard). These supplements are ones that have been tried by me over the many years of me trying supplements, and I’ve found these to be the most important and crucial to my horses’ health.
- SmartGI Ultra: SmartGI Ultra is a member of the SmartPak digestive supplement family. I like this one in particular because it pairs the benefits of SmartDigest Ultra with the benefits of SmartGut Ultra aka benefiting the whole digestive system. It’s perfect for horses that are under stress, for whatever reason, have digestive issues, are prone to ulcers, or like my guy, has a wet poop problem. I swear by this supplement for all my horses, and it seriously cured Tempo’s wet diarrhea problem. Another added benefit of the digestive supplements made by SmartPak is $10,000 in colic surgery which you can sign up for, through SmartPak, as long as your horses are on a consistent everyday regimen of one of the supplements containing a “SmartDigest/Gut” supplement.
- SmartCombo: SmartCombo is an easy way to get all the most important supplements your horse needs at a discount. I love using this when I know my horse is going to need joint, digestive, hoof, skin, and coat. It comes in different “levels,” such as regular, Ultra, and Ultimate. Obviously the Ultra and Ultimate ones carry the hoof, joint, digestive, skin, and coat supplements that are “Ultra” or “Ultimate” (example: SmartHoof Ultra rather than SmartHoof which is in SmartCombo). An added bonus for this supplement is that you can sign up for SmartPak’s colic insurance, too.
- SmartFlex: This supplements comes in a few different levels too, but I believe it to be one of the most imperative supplements you can give your horse. Joint support is so seriously vital to a horse’s well-being, and if your horse is in a strenuous training, riding, or show schedule, he or she would definitely benefit from being a joint supplement. I have always used the SmartPak joint supplements, so I swear by them. But there are other ones out there too that are just as good.
- SmartBug-Off Ultra: Okay, this is probably the one that will get the most skepticism, but IT WORKS! I first tried it on Tempo as he was getting extremely sensitive to bugs to where his sheath was red and bloody (and yes, we were fly spraying and applying Swat). I saw SmartBug-Off (there was no Ultra) at the time, and I decided to try it. A few days later, Tempo was all healed up, and the bugs weren’t bothering him as much anymore. If you live in a really buggy area or have a super sensitive horse, I highly recommend this.
- SUCCEED: This is another great supplement I’ve used a few times with my horses. SUCCEED is particularly good for digestive support.
- Platinum Performance GI: I began using this when Monte was starting to show constant allergies and itchiness. It is a wellness & performance supplement as well as a digestive supplement. The supplement is pretty comprehensive, and it contains everything from omega-3 fatty acids, to antioxidants, vitamins, trace minerals, along with Bio-Sponge®, prebiotics, probiotics and glutamine.
- SmartLytes (or SmartSalt): Either of these is super important. Horses need electrolytes no matter what time of the year, and they need salt as well as an essential mineral to their diet. All my horses either get one of these supplements or has a salt lick.
- SmartEssentials (along with SmartVite Thrive and SmartVite Thrive Senior): This is a fantastic supplement for horses that may not be getting all the nutrients. Maybe they are on only a handful of grain (or none at all), maybe they don’t have access to great pasture or hay. I have used this supplement in the past and found its been really helpful in keeping my guys healthy and looking their best.
- SmartImmune: I like this supplement especially for Tempo, my senior citizen. It has a ton of different ingredients that keep his immune system strong and working properly. It’s also good for horses that are under stress, such as in a rigorous training or showing program or ones that travel a lot in between shows and barns, as stress can affect a horse’s immune system.
- Smart & Simple Vitamin E & Selenium: Vitamin E and Selenium are both important vitamins and minerals for a horse to have in his or her diet. These two substances help to strengthen the immune system as well as neutralize free radicals (act as antioxidants, which some say contributes to less disease, like cancer). Vitamin E can be found in grass, but its content goes down once the grass is turned into hay. Additionally, not all horses get enough grass, or any grass, and others don’t get hay that is of good quality. Selenium is available in soil, but it is available in varying levels in different areas of the country, so your horse may not be getting enough. Word of caution: It is possible to get too much Selenium, so consult your vet before utilizing a Selenium supplement.
In fact, it is a good idea to consult your veterinarian before using any supplement as it will be something your horse will be ingesting daily, and you want to make sure it won’t interfere with anything, be too much of something, or maybe your vet even has a better suggestion!
Another great tool I love is FeedXL, which allows you to input your horse’s information, their feed, their supplements, their grass/hay intake, and a bunch of other things, and it will tell you approximately how much of each vitamin, mineral, and other essential nutrients your horse is getting.