I’ve talked before about Tristan’s nutrition and diet, and the ways I’ve tweaked that.
For many years, I’ve been a faithful user of HorseTech supplements. I still love them. I still think they’re the best quality, best customer service, best availability/combination of ingredients you can get.
(Of course there’s a but – otherwise there would not be a blog post.)
Tristan is very slowly – incrementally – almost imperceptibly – becoming a pickier eater. I don’t know if it’s age, Cushings, or what. The fact remains that my little rescue horse, who used to hoover up everything in his immediate vicinity – edible or not – is just a touch fussy now.
For some time now, he doesn’t eat his morning grain until he gets back from turnout. When you toss him his breakfast he spurns it in favor of hay. Granted: he does not get much (about 1.5 cups at a time) and it’s a really bland grain (Blue Seal’s Carb Guard). Still, two or three years ago, Tristan turning away from grain would have been a sign of the apocalypse. Do not pass go, do not collect $200, call the vet immediately.
HorseTech supplements are typically a powder, and Tristan started actively leaving the powder behind. I added flavoring. That worked for a little while. I switched his supplements – High Point Grass/Mixed Hay and ReitHoof – to pellets from powder when that became available. That worked for a little while. Then it didn’t. The barn manager thought that he was sniffing through the pellets carefully, picking out the grain, and in the process smooshing the pellets back into powder with his nose, guaranteeing he would not eat them.
In the last few weeks, we have arrived at an impasse. I knew I wanted Tristan on an overall vitamin/mineral package, but I just wasn’t excited by anything the barn already offered or I could purchase locally at Tractor Supply.
Last week during yet another SmartPak 50% off sale, I made a choice. I started Tristan on SmartPak supplements. First, I added SmartVite Senior Perform as his basic vitamin/mineral supplement.
I also spent quite a bit of time thinking about muscle supplements. In the past, I’ve added some alfalfa for extra protein to support muscle growth, but I never saw a huge difference. I looked at a few different muscle supplements, and then I looked more closely at how they matched up with SmartPituitary Senior Pellets.
One of the key symptoms of Cushings is muscle wasting, and it’s one of Tristan’s biggest indicators, so any Cushings-oriented supplement would have plenty of muscle support. It fit my bill, was a bit less pricey than the other supplements I looked at, and I’ll be curious to see if it helps support him in any other way. He is a very, very low-symptom Cushings horse, responding well to the pergolide with few (if any) spikes in his bloodwork, even seasonally, so I felt like a little bit of support would help but not that I would be crushed if it didn’t help him.
We’re about a week in, and he’s eating both of them just fine. It’s obviously way too early to see any clear results, but we’ll see!