Since OHS is mostly flax and copper/zinc, maybe you could try plain flax, plus plain copper and zinc, which will likely be cheaper
I swear by Cosequin ASU Plus in terms of feed-through joint supplement. It’s the only one that ever made any meaningful difference in my old, arthritic gelding.
Otherwise, I do not “swear” by any particular supplements. I am, however, a believer in analyzing forage and balancing the horse’s diet via a forage balancer. Vermont Blend Pro seems to be the ticket for my gelding. He has strong hooves, thick mane and tail, great topline, and vibrant coat.
He also gets 2000 IU of vitamin E (Emcelle) and 1 cup of flax for omega-3 benefits because he is on a dry lot and consumes very little green grass.
It’s easy to fall down the rabbit hole of supplements. Hoof supplement, coat supplement, vitamin/mineral supplement, calming supplement, the list goes on and on. For the majority of horses, if you balance their diet, the rest takes care of itself :).
The thing is, he gets plenty of copper and zinc in KIS Trace anyway. I thought I could switch out the OHS with plain flax when I started the KIS a few years ago but…apparently not. I swear something always happens. Usually it’s him getting foot sore…which seems silly and like I’m just seeing a coincidence. I think that’s why I keep trying. It makes no sense.
I’m in the process of stopping KIS Trace now that he’s on TC Balancer Gold, and I’ll eventually replace KT with a cu/zn supplement. I may try to at least cut the OHS back a bit.
Alimend is probably the one supplement I’d keep no matter what. It’s not the cheapest but good lord does it work. I used to split tubs of U-Gard pellets with my old barn owner but I noticed that my horse was getting pretty sensitive through his girth and stomach area (not a violent response, but definitely twitchy). I switched him to Alimend on a friend’s recommendation and I noticed a difference in how reactive he was in only a couple of weeks.
I will admit that I feed a bit of a supplement cocktail beyond the Alimend but that’s mostly because I switched from an all-in-one hoof supplement to feeding a few things that I buy separately and it’s worked out better that way in terms of my horse’s hoof quality. I’m also that person with a spreadsheet of all the ingredients in everything that he eats calculated out in the appropriate quantities to make sure that it’s all within the proper ranges for a horse or his size, so I don’t arbitrarily add things without checking them against that/doing blood work as necessary to make sure he actually needs it.
Does it count as a supplement because it’s bought as a supplement but is actually feed? Aka part of the essential diet? Cause if so:
Vitamin E. More than the “minimum” based on the rest of the diet. Gives great coats and fewer skin issues. Also my stifle horse does better on it??? Unsure why, but if it works . This is my “coat supplement”.
Cu/Zn. Again, more than you’d think they need based on the rest of the diet. This is my “hoof supplement”.
MSM, cause it’s cheap. This is my “joint supplement”. For anything more, I do Adequan or Legend.
GUT by uckele for my sensitive tummy horse. Not really sure why it works, but it makes a HUGE difference for him. It’s got herbal stuff and pre/probiotics and it’s cheap enough at this time that I don’t argue.
I do flax as well, for the omega 3s, if he would deign to eat it at the new place .
FWIW my horse is on a ration balancer, meh pasture, and whatever hay he wants when he’s in for dinners.
Question. If a “supplement” basically contains basic vitamins or minerals that a horse should be getting in a balanced diet, like a lot of “hoof supplements” or “calming supplements,” is that really a supplement?
That really depends on how much is in there, and also part of why I’ve asked for definitions of “supplement”
To me, anything beyond forage, and a ration balancer or regular feed, chosen based on calorie needs, is technically a supplement. Supplemental to a basic, but not bare-bones (ie just forage) diet.
BUT, in the context of what I infer the OP to mean. I say a supplement is something beyond essential nutrients, which means the extra cu/zn/vit e many of us use, doesn’t count.
Does biotin count? B vitamins in general? Technically horses make enough of their own, except when they don’t
Certainly, things that provide non-essential things are supplements. MSM, HA, all the usually joint-supportive ingredients, raspberry leaves, and more
I can "swear by’ providing enough amino acids, copper, zinc, maybe manganese (less of the country needs more Mn than needs Cu and Zn), to support healthy hoof quality, and there are dozens of ways to do that. But me swearing by it doesn’t help the next horse if the hoof issues are trim-related.
I was always a calming supplement skeptic. To an extent I still am - adequate turnout is more likely to fix a hot horse than any supplement. I tried my 8yo TB on a magnesium supplement for muscle support and thought maybe it would help with focus. He was on Grand Meadows Grand Calm all last winter. I wasn’t sure it was doing anything until it ran out and I dragged my feet on replacing the bucket. 4 weeks off of it and I had the dog from Up instead of my horse… SQUIRREL!
Splurged on a bottle of Nupafeed liquid magnesium. 5 days on the loading dose and he was hacking out on the buckle, chill and focused as could be. So maybe he was in fact magnesium deficient after all.
I also never really bought into the SmartCalm thing but my trainer swears by it. Started giving my guy a tube when we haul off property to ride (whether or not he’s on a regular mag supp) and I absolutely notice a difference. Takes the edge off the green horse tension.
Most joint supplements contain some combo and amounts of chondroitin sulfate, glucosamine, maybe some MSM, and a few other things. A horse makes glucosamine, but you can’t measure how much is there, so really can’t say he’s deficient. If you feed some, and he improves, does that mean he was deficient? Against what standard? That’s where it gets really subjective
The Arenus Aleira supplement was the only thing I found that helped one of my horse’s summer cough that he developed 2 years ago. I’m assuming it’s an allergy to something but he was coughing so much that first year he couldn’t be ridden. We scoped (nothing to see other than some very minor irritation) and tried various medications without any luck. My vet suggested I may want to try the Aleira as she’d had luck with it for other horse’s with very stubborn coughs. She did warn it was super expensive though. I gave it a go as it was looking like a last resort. Within a week the cough was gone. I now feed it to him end of March to beginning of September. Is it expensive- oh yes a little over $400 CA as the company will only ship the bigger size (5.6lbs) to Canada. There can also be issues getting it over the border so it can take a while. However, it’s still worth it as it allows me to ride during our very short summer.
It is pretty stinky (definitely clears the sinuses!) and they do advise letting it air and starting horses on a small amount and working up to the recommended amount. Mine didn’t have any issues with it.
For what it’s worth, I think of supplements as anything I add to my horses’ basic diet - forage (pasture and hay) and ration balancer for all, additional feed if more calories needed. I do vit E as an example via gel capsules.
I feed anything on a half hay or more diet vit E.
I give my show horse a SmartGut Supp for loose stool and ColiCare. And Cosequin ASU for general maintenance.
My 16 yo mare in full work gets an Equioxx per day.
For discussion purposes, I understand that some folks call anything not hay a supplement.
I see your point of course about a nonessential supplement. And I agree OP seems to be talking about that sort. I don’t have any nonessential supplements I swear by; if I did it would be Quiessience.
But it we were discussing say RBs / grains, I’d have more opinions!
Saccharomyces Boulardii (or if I am boarding, Equithrive Gut)
In the summer, I like Smartbugoff, but it only works on one of my horses really well, the other two benefit from it but the benefit doesn’t kick in until August.
Their diet is a high quality hay (orchard/brome/alfalfa) and Hygain Meta ration balancer.
Digest more plus is a pelleted form of support. Not as concentrated as Alimend but something to consider if you ever feel like weaning away from Alimend. Alimend is top tier in my book, too. I’m impressed with Vitalize all around.
Agree with most everyone else.
I use: KIS Trace, copper/zinc, Vit E, KPP Contribute for O3, Magnesium, and salt all fed with Coolstance Copra. I suppose I “swear by it” all as it has consistently worked well as evidenced by shiny, dapple filled coats, healthy weight, calm cool demeanors, and happy horses.
Currently, I’m trying a bag of Redmond Daily Gold for my one stressy/anxious horse as so many swear by it and it’s cheap but I don’t have high hopes for it.
I do. Former BO who was also a nurse said there is no way they get thru the gut intact enough to go where they’re needed.
As for myself, I disagree.
I’ve used this off and on over the years, and I do think it helps. Not as a “calming” supplement but for tummy issues, which may in turn help an anxious type.
I consider a supplement anything that I’m giving in addition to their feed. All of my guys get salt, flax and Vermont Pro Blend mixed with minimal “grain” (about 1 cup) and a handful of triple crown stress free forage. And then some other supplements per individual.
I’ve been super, super impressed with the MadBarn oil for my IR mare. She gets that along with HEIRO and a decent amount of work and we had no cresty neck this or laminitis issues.
My older Fjord mare is pretty night and day on Cosequin vrs off of it
I love Platinum Performance GI for my ulcer prone horse, also use Quiessence, vit E and Relyne. Having tried A LOT of different supplements, these seem to be the ones that I find have at least some positive effect on my horse. For those feeding salt, how much do you feed? That seems like a reasonable one to add.
My experience is the same at @RhythmNCruise . Omega Horseshine has a highter Omega 3 content than others, and it made a difference in my older gelding. So much so that I added Spectrum Flax Oil to MY diet and it made a huge difference for me. At higher doses, Omega 3’s stop inflammation.
I tried Naturally Flax plus zn/cu and didn’t see the same results, even though the flax dose seemed the same?
I firmly believe in the higher omega dose as effective, but OHS seems to be a better flax. Isn’t logical, but I no longer keep trying to change.