Saturday, July 22, 2017

Supplements

This unofficial blog hop showed up at a relative time for me and Razz, so thank you to whoever got it started. We are in the process of switching supplements in an effort to be more effective. 

Razz is an 18 year old, 16.1 tb/appy cross. He's an overall healthy guy, and doesn't show any soundness issues at present (please, to the powers that be, don't let me jinx myself by saying that), however at this stage in his life daily support certainly can't hurt. I've been feeding the Tractor Supply Dumor joint suppliment for a little over a year. This was simply out of convenience. Where I live, Tractor is the only place to shop for horse supplies. The next best shopping experience is about an hour and a half inland. Ingredients and dosages run the gamut across brands. I chose the Dumor after comparing ingredients, weights, and prices on the different options. It was also nice to not have the commitment to a Smart Pak subscription since this is all I wanted at the time and a simple joint combo wasn't enough $ to ship for free.


pc: Tractor Supply

I focused on three main ingredients-glucosamine, chondroitin, and msm. A scoop of Dumor contains 5,000 mg glucosamine, 250 mg chondroitin, and 1,000 mg msm. It comes in a 2.8 lb tub for $30 and an 8 lb tub for $70. I've purchased both sizes, but mostly the smaller one. It works out to .66 a day not counting the initial loading dose. Not bad...

But when all the heat and humidity set in and actual barn time cut back, I started spending my time doing more horse focused reading and research. Turns out the recommended dosage for 1,100 lb horse (depending on work load) is as follows:

Glucosamine  6,000-10,000mg/day

Chondroitin    1,250-5,000mg/day

MSM              up to 20,000mg/day

Again the Dumor provides 5,000, 250, and 1,000 respectively. Razz was being cut short, even for a horse in light work. It shouldn't reflect on TSC in a negative way. I'm happy with the products I buy there. And in general I believe supplement combos of all types come up a little short if you only feed the standard dose. I wasn't satisfied with a little short, ya know? Thus began a point and click extravaganza across all sites that offer supplements. I wanted highest efficacy for the best price. After a couple hours I came to the conclusion that there was nothing that met both my price point and desired recipe. But I could buy the individual ingredients myself and make my own, and that's what I've done.

Animeds is a company I'm sure most of you are familiar with. I picked up the Glucosamine 5000 powder for $22 and the MSM powder for just under $7 from Amazon Prime. 

pc: Amazon

pc: Amazon

The packaging I received had updated labels on them with metallic ink and actual horse images.

While on Amazon I also found UltraCruz Chondroitin pwoder for only $9. Razz was well on his way to having a custom mixed joint combo.

pc: Amazon

Between the different size packaging and varied doses, I now have to stay on top of things and know where I'm at with each one, versus a mindless single scoop a day. Who cares?! It's about what's best for pony, not convenience, so that argument is pretty much a non starter. 

My new, personalized dosage for Razz consists of 2 1/2 scoops glucosamine, or 6,250 mg/day. One heaping scoop chondroitin, or 2,000 mg/day. And one scoop MSM, or 14,000 mg/day. For a quick comparison chart:


                          old          new

Glucosamine      5,000       6,250

Chondroitin          250        2,000           mg/day

MSM                  1,000     14,000


It feels great having my boy on a suggested, customized dosage. The MSM and chondro was upped dramatically (IMO) and I consulted with my vet about it. I explained what I was doing and why, and where I ended up. Her only question for me was who is making the things I chose. She said Animed and UltraCruz were both legit sources, and that I shouldn't worry about the increase in dosages. She also told me that the only joint supplement on the market with proven, studied results was Cosaquin ASU. I ask her if this was due to the parent company (Nutramax) having more money than others to fund a thorough study, but it is the combined effect with avocado soy extract that pushed the rest of the ingredients into the "proven" corner. Their recipe is their own, no replicating that. But my recipe was still good in my vet's opinion, and she's anxious to hear how it works out for me when I see her next.

In addition to the joint stuff, Razz gets an electrolyte during these hellacious months. If the horse is sweating just standing around in the pasture, then he needs a scoop of Apple-A-Day on top of his feed. I pick this up at TSC for $13. Easy peasy, and it smells like cotton candy!!

pc: Tractor Supply

During my spring shots and check up I was discussing how hard it is to maintain a top line on Razz and the vet recommended Omega Horseshine. I get this at TSC also, $47 for 20 lb bag. This is an all around supplement for skin, coat, and hoof with additional benefits of increased conditioning, joint support, psyllium replacement, the list honestly seems too good to be true. But both vets at my practice sing it's praises and I've seen several other bloggers using this as well, so there must be something to it after all. Recommended serving is 1/2 cup up to one full cup daily for average sized horse. I'm feeding 3/4 cup a day. 

pc: Tractor Supply
Every one of these supplements is a powder. The chondroitin is especially fine, it's basically dust. I don't expect my barn owners and their staff to scoop each one of these, and frankly I need to be in charge of the doses because half scoops and heaping scoops are subjective. The cheap resealable plasticware found at any discount store works great. I'm guessing mine are one cup in volume because the 3/4 cup horseshine followed by all the rest almost fills them up. 




And the stats on where I ended up? Initially I was spending .66/day on sub par support that probably helped a little but not all that much. In April I began Omega Horseshine at .78/day bringing me to $1.44 total per day. Mid May I started electrolytes at .16/day bringing me to $1.60 total per day. 

The new recipe breaks down to: glucosamine .78/day, chondroitin .10/day, and MSM .22/day for a combined total of $1.10 per day. That's a productive buck and ten vs. a meh .66 on the old regimen.

That's also a lot of mg. noted and a bunch of math I wouldn't have done if not prompted to do so by this post. Kudos to you if you've hung in there with me this far. I'm spending $2.04 a day on supplements for my faithful sidekick. If it keeps him happy, I'm more than happy to spend it on him. Tailoring individual levels of each ingredient with the help of my vet also makes me feel like a more educated and proactive horse owner than the mindless scoop. 

If my combo seems to be working out after the first month, then I will invest in the 5 lb bucket of glucosamine rather than the 2.5 lb, which will save me a few bucks and put me back on track to spending closer to previous totals. And that's when you know you've won, by spending the same amount and getting more. I will probably keep Razz on the electrolyte year round from here on out. I plan to ride a lot more going into fall and winter, so he should be sweating more and the electrolytes cost beans anyway. And of course cotton candy hehe!!



Sunday, July 16, 2017

MIA

Hello again everyone. Five months is long enough to go without posting. I am fine. Razz is fine. He was kind enough to be waiting for me at the gate when I arrived at the barn yesterday afternoon.


this doesn't happen very often


So what's been going on? Well...

Not long after my lesson in February on the warmblood at instructor A's new place, winterguard season kicked into full swing. That's the dance/flag team that my daughter is on. She was a senior this season. We didn't travel as much as we did last year, but we did go to Raleigh every other weekend. I made sure to ride as much as possible in between. 

My section of the Croatan got a facelift this spring. The forest service came in and recut the fire breaks. That's the trail we use to get through the front section of woods and it hasn't been cleaned out in a few years, other than the maintenance my riding crew has given it. The digging exposed fresh sand which was nice footing but we had to watch out for small tree roots that were crudely cut as the digger made his way. I saw the machine they used to cut this fire break. It looked like a bobcat that you see on construction sites. but instead of tires it had a chain track like a tank, and a scoop on the front that just shoves everything out of its way.



And they didn't cut these again to make a nice trail for us. There were several controlled burns in preparation of spring storms. The horses weren't really sure what to make of the charred earth. Some hot spots were still smoking on one of our rides, being the good trail ponies they are, they adjusted pretty quickly.


the view of a burn from town

Along with the forest service clean up, I tried to clean out a back country trail that had haunted me for a while. Hubby and another barn mate joined in and we hiked over with snips of all kinds, a machete, and an axe. The trail was just as I remembered. Super thick and super rough. We chopped, hacked, pulled, dragged, but it didn't get any easier on us. I just new the thicket was going to open up at any time and the trails I'd seen on google maps would be right there waiting on Razz and myself. We made our way down a bear path for a good distance before giving up altogether. It sucked so damn bad to walk out of there defeated yet again. 


the entrance, trimmed but
not cleaned out yet

bear path, the dark spot up
front is actually hubby

You certainly can't say we didn't try.

Even though I didn't make it down that trail, I still found a couple other smaller new trails to mix it up with. I also got Razz to go in a pond after much protesting on his part. 


not happy

the water was so clear
til we stomped in


Aside from trails, we've worked in the arena some too. My new obsession is the mexican crossrail. It gives me lots of things to do with one obstacle. 



I've seen this one referenced in several places and finally decided to give it a try. The first time we jumped the entire thing Razz popped straight up and took a similar trajectory back down, even though we didn't come in too deep. I think the question was just fuckin' with him. Anyway, in mid air over the jump I was swung forward and my legs swung backward underneath me. It was a really weird feeling. I have never been thrown into that position on a horse's back. It only happened the first time over, and now he canters up to and jumps this fence like an old pro.


wtf toes?

Sure my positon needs work, but my toes bug me the most. I just can't seem to put my leg on without my toes turning out. We don't jump too often. Enough to keep the boy in half way decent shape. I haven't been taking any jump lessons. We aren't working towards any particular riding goals right now. I did pick up the shaped memory foam pad that some bloggers have been talking about. I came across it one evening on amazon, and since it came in aqua I had to have one. Was anxious to see just how much support the memory foam offered. I've been really happy with this pad. the foam works rather well considering how thin it is. I love the fact that this pad does not move. Not. One. Inch. 





Why no pony goals? As I mentioned earlier, my daughter was a senior this year. It's her time in life to shine. Some of the most memorable years she will have. I've been focused on her right now. I can focus on myself in August. Til then she's the star of the show. So I got through a winter of back and forth to Raleigh every other weekend. Then prom. Then graduation. And three trips to the college she chose, Western Carolina University. That's a 16 hour round trip. 

judaculla rock, largest petroglyph east of
the Mississippi, it's truly amazing

In addition to all this I've also worked on growing my business and I've had some moderate success. My products are in a two local stores and I'm working a booth at festivals & farmers markets. 

kiddo is hiding

Now that summer is here and it's hot as hell, I sit in my backyard and drink beer. One of the stores featuring my products is a home and garden center and it was there I found a cute Hungarian baby bath tub from the 1930's. I plant and replant this tub all the time. Everything thrives and outgrows quickly. I also built a potting bench out of reclaimed pallets. My backyard is cozy and just perfect. The only thing to make it better would be Razz right there in the back yard too!






Many of the plants are starting to look a little blah with the heat and humidity but the tub looks green and happy. Cheers to summer everyone!!