Equestrian supplements - a thorny subject. All I want is something that is totally natural, for joints, for muscles, that keeps arthritis away, that aids performance and recovery and above all works.
Are you like me? Had enough of miraculous claims and never seen one jot of difference in your horse? But then as you have spent so much money, trying to talk yourself into the Placebo effect? Sound familiar? Yes? Count me in. Been there and got a ton of T-shirts too. I have done pretty much all of them, I reckon. From the big names out there to the small crackpot ones. I hate to think how much money I have spent to try to help my pride and joy. We all have our challenges, mine is looking after the joints and muscles of an 18-hand giant, a horse with a bit of ADHD (the ability to focus on everything but what he should be focussed on), to boot we event (or try to) so looking after recovery is key and just to add the icing on the cake he is a head shaker and recently had a hobday due to a collapsed larynx but come what may, I love him to bits. So sick was I of trying to get that white powder to dissolve into the feed, it begged the question what is in this stuff? What is it bulked out with that is causing me to spend so much time stirring? Manufacturers all giving me what I now deem duff advice to get me to spend yet more money, backstabbing each other without mercy. I even had one feed manufacturer casting aspersions on every other supplement provider except the one they recommend and guess what, they sell it! I got to the point where I didn’t believe anyone anymore. So much conflicting information.
Frankly, I had given up.
By chance, I met with Antoinette Fraser the MD of Australian based supplement company, Hi-Form. We starting talking about the supplement business. Cynical was an understatement of my stance, nevertheless after about 10 minutes I found myself really listening to what she had to say. The level of knowledge that she has is, not to put too finer point on it, gobsmacking. Here I was talking about ingredients, the effective absorbtion and utilisation of minerals and trace elements, (I gave up chemistry and biology at 14 because it bored me rigid), about metabolic pathways and molecules, this was really interesting stuff. The more I listened, the more I began to understand why I had never seen a difference in Mr Stretch.
Whilst I don’t compete at FEI level, I want to be sure that I have a clean horse. So, the fact that the products are all human grade and produced in a sealed factory under stringent conditions, where this is no chance of cross-contamination is something of huge value to me. Within an hour I found myself agreeing to try out ProflamAid Plus for those big joints and muscles that Mr stretch has and Oxydane for his recovery, especially with his collapsed larynx.
Just one more shot, I told myself and then no more.
The next day I started as instructed. Putting in the scoops of the products I was anticipating my aerobic stirring exercise and an aching shoulder but no, it dissolved into the feed virtually instantaneously. WOW! There was a first, a complete break from the norm. Within a week I noticed the difference. Mr Stretch was far more focussed, seemed to be more confident in himself and I felt that I had turned a massive corner with consistency in my dressage. No longer was I just getting only fleeting seconds of good work.
Thinking this was me and wishful thinking, my coach got on board and he felt the difference immediately and pushed him way beyond his normal comfort zones. Where before we had hopping and a tendency to try to go up he was far more accommodating and accepting of what was being asked. Competing at two different BE Events with 2 different friends, who know Mr Stretch well, thye both noticed an immediate difference in him with far more consistency, less discussions and a confidence than they have ever seen before.
The final test
Physio Day. Nicky Desailly, does a physio session with Stretch every month. Walking onto the yard, Nicky was half way through her session standing on her stool to be able to get to Stretch’s back. “So how is he?” I asked. “Really, really good, nothing at all like normal!” came the response, “he’s in really good shape, what have you been doing?”. I replied “I’ll tell you later when you’ve finished” and off I trotted for a coffee. Back I went when Nicky was finished. “So what’s the verdict, can I do a dressage lesson tomorrow?” I inquired. Nicky replied “Exceptionally, and I can’t quite believe I am saying this but yes you can, no worries!”. In nearly 5 years I have always had to give Stretch the next day off due to the amount of physio work that needed to be done by Nicky. Normally it is a day off and then a day of lunging only. “Just to confirm, Nicky, he is ok right?” just to give her another chance to say no. “Claire, muscles don’t lie, I am telling you, he has never felt this good before”. So I came clean and told her about ProflamAid Plus and Oxydane and showed her a couple of videos of Stretch’s recent Eventing adventures. “Well, it works” was the response.
Without giving away a hint of the use of supplements, the people I trust most with my horse have all confirmed what I thought, a massive difference in my horse’s performance, attitude and physical structure. My search for a supplement that noticeably works, helps my horse and is competition legal is finally over and I just ordered more, another first! HiForm in the UK