According to Smart Pak, using their Supplement Wizard Farley should be getting:
"Comprehensive support" = $5.78/day
Gastric ulcer prevention supplement ($1.39/day)
Joint supplements ($2.11/day)
Insect control ($0.71/day)
Essential fatty acids ($0.98/day)
"Enhanced support" = $4.17/day
Gastric ulcer prevention, joint supplement, multivitamin
"Basic Support" = $3.50/day
Gastric ulcer prevention, joint supplement
So how does my routine stack up?
Joint supplement: Not fed
Gastric supplement: Not fed
Ration balancer (multivitamin): $0.61/day
Oil (fatty acids): $0.31/day
Vit E (not suggested): $0.36/day
Selenium (not suggested): $.08/day
Electrolytes - Not suggested, but would have been because as part of the survey to determine Farley's needs I answered that I did feed electrolytes, which is why they didn't add to the recommendations above - cheap feedstore elytes or salt adds pennies a day to my supplement costs.
My current Total: $1.36/day
What I don't feed: Joint and gut/gastric supplements. This is interesting because (aside from the feed through insect control) I cover all the other bases suggested in the more "comprehensive" package, but ignore these 2 which are considered "basic" by smartpak. Why?
- the joint supplements that work usually test positive in the drug testing done by the organization that I compete within (AERC endurance). I would use Legend or Adequan if I was concerned, both of which are legal to give prior to rides and validated to work in horses.
- Although Farley is only fed 2x a day (which according to smarkpak is a risk factor) she doesn't often have absolutely no food in front of her, and she has no other significant risk factors (besides being a horse!).
How about the vit E and Selenium?: Smarkpak probably thinks that feeding their multivitamin will provide sufficient levels of vit E. However, because handling (exposure to heat and light is no bueno) matters so much on whether the vit E in a product is available to the body, I prefer to feed it seperately. Especially to a horse that isn't getting any natural vit E in it's diet (Farley isn't on pasture). Selenium supplementation is controversial and without absolute confirmation that the horse is low, AND considering that the multivitamin probably contains the maximum allowed selenium content in it (which is not enough to elevate Farley's blood levels to what I consider adequate for endurance) smartpak probably errors on the side of NOT recommending it.
How does smartpak stack up?
I was pleasantly suprised that smartpak, in general, seemed to be recommending an appropriate level of supplementation. I got the idea for the post after reading another blogger comment on how smartpak's supplement wizard recommended a ton of potentially unnecessary supplements for their horse, something that would not suprise me based on a SUPPLEMENT company's recommendation. However, for Farley, who is still in work (not retired) the recommendations seemed appropriate.
According to Smartpak I'm covering most of the bases, including a ration balancer/multivitamin, essential fatty acids, and electrolytes. What I am NOT covering is joints and ulcers. However while I think these are important issues in my horse management plan, I just choose to manage them in some other way than supplementation.
Have you used SP's Supplement wizard? What did you think of their recommendations?