All posts by Cassie Hupric

Before and After: The Benefits of Cocosoya Horse Supplement

Fabio’s Story:

Fabio Fabulous is a 13 year old miniature horse gelding that is owned and loved by Big Dee’s employee, Mary. His events include halter, showmanship, in-hand trail, jumping, being spoiled and snuggled. Mary has used Cocosoya as a supplement for various horses over the years, but has been giving it to Fabio a year and a half. As you can see in the pictures below, Cocosoya has greatly improved Fabio’s mane, tail, coat and overall body condition.

Fabio Before Cocosoya

Fabio After Cocosoya

Cocosoya, manufactured by Uckele Health & Nutrition is a fatty acid horse supplement. This supplement provides Omega 3, Omega 6 and Omega 9 essential fatty acids. Horses, as well as humans, that are deficient in essential fatty acids may show hair loss, skins problems, and impaired immunity and reproduction issues. This supplement helps with coat, hair and hoof strength and shine. The increase fat in the horse’s diet may also help build and maintain weight. Cocosoya is also highly palatable – which is great for a picky eater or if you want to mask the taste of other supplements or medications. Cocosoya horse supplement is recommended for all ages, breeds and disciplines of horses.

What are essential fatty acids?

Omega 3

  • Alpha-linolenic acid, EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), DHA (docosahexaenoic acid)
  • Improved skin and hair coat quality
  • Decreased joint pain in arthritic individuals
  • Improved bone formation
  • Reproductive benefits
  • Prevention of gastric ulcers
  • Anti-inflammatory effects

Omega 6

  • Linolenic acid
  • Pro-inflammatory (needed to fight infection and repair tissue)
  • Produce steroids & hormones
  • Regulating pressure in body fluids, cell division and smooth muscle activity

Omega 9

  • Oleic acid and Erucic acid
  • Supports the function of Omega 3 and Omega 6
  • Nonessential fatty acid because the horse can produce it

Enter to win a gallon of Cocosoya! A $23.00 value.

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How Horse Calming Supplements Can Help

Horse Calming Supplements | Big Dee's Horse Tack & SuppliesDo you have a horse that is tense, on-edge or unfocused? Perhaps a calming supplement would be the right choice to bring out the best behavior in your horse without sacrificing performance.

Typically, there are two types of horse calming supplements. The first is a top dressing for feed that will help with everyday handling, work and training – this usually comes in the form of a powder or pellets. Second are “day of” supplements given before an event – these most likely come in the form of a paste. Calming supplements can be given anywhere from 1 hour to 5 days before the event – each supplement has its own specific time frame.

While the types of calming supplements greatly vary, there are a few common ingredients that can be found in products on the market today:

  • Vitamin B1/Thiamine: This is a water-soluble vitamin that is not stored in the horse’s body – as a result, it must be supplied by the horse’s diet. This vitamin is used in metabolizing carbohydrates and fat. Horses with a deficiency of this vitamin often appear stressed and nervous – the reason for its inclusion in a lot of calming supplements.
  • Magnesium: Magnesium deficiency in a horse is characterized by nervousness, irritability, muscle tremors and incoordination. This mineral plays a role in over 300 enzyme reactions – including cellular energy generation and genetic information decoding. It also works in part with calcium in nerve transmission and muscle contraction.
  • Vitamin B12: This vitamin aids in nervous system regulation, metabolism and red blood cell production. The recommended usage of this vitamin is for a horse in a stressful situation or to help increase appetite. A calming supplement with this ingredient would be ideal for situations such as long trailer rides or moving to a new location.
  • Tryptophan: This is an essential amino acid from which the horse is unable to product itself. This is used to increase levels of serotonin in the brain, which in turn creates a calming effect in horses. This includes increased sleepiness, reduced aggression and reduced fearfulness.
  • Valerian Root: This natural herb is used to reduce anxiety and excitability without reducing the horse’s mental function. Valerian can also be used as an antispasmodic in cases of colic or muscle spasms. This calming supplement would be recommended in stress-inducing events as opposed to competitive events.

If competing, it’s important to make sure that your association or registry accepts the use of the calming supplements you are using. This can usually be done by taking a look at the rule book or calling the office of the association or registry. If the supplement is not approved, be sure to give it time to leave the horse’s system before competition.

Other considerations for an edgy horse would be the horse’s diet. If the horse is being fed a grain that is high in sugar – they will react the same way as a human who has had too much sugar (hyper & unfocused). Consider switching to a grain lower in sugar or consult with a nutritionist or veterinarian to find the best way to reduce sugar in the horse’s diet. Another thing that can affect the horse’s attitude would be an overabundance of calcium. Like we mentioned earlier, calcium and magnesium work together – too much calcium means too little magnesium. Rich grass and alfalfa hay are often the culprits when it comes to a surplus of calcium. More exercise and turn out time can also reduce the amount of excitability and anxiety within a horse.

Do you have a go-to calming supplement? Let us know your favorites!

The Truth Behind Hoof Care and Horse Hoof Care Supplements

Horse Hoof Care Supplements - Horse CareHealthy hooves are influenced by a variety of factors – some controllable and some not. Genetics, age, climate, environment, nutrition, activity, hoof care and breed, along with countless other factors, play a key role in how healthy your horse’s hoof is. Things like genetics and age can’t be controlled but proper hoof care is in our hands.

Proper nutrition is the start of healthy hoof growth. Your horse should have constant access to fresh water and free choice minerals. Since the horse’s diet is based on forage good hay should be given priority. In addition to good hay, a grain with essential nutrients can also be given. Healthy hoof care is an everyday thing – hooves don’t get time off.  So it’s important to be diligent about caring for your horse’s hoof, inside and out.

Daily Hoof Care:

  • Check all four hooves & pick out any dirt/mud/rocks/other debris using a hoof pick. Be mindful of the sensitive “V” of the hoof, the horse’s frog, as it is more sensitive than the other parts of the hoof.
  • Make sure there are no injuries to the hoof or the leg.
  • If your horse has shoes make sure they are all securely on the hoof – no loose nails or bent ends. If there is an issue with the shoe, be sure to get in touch with your farrier. The longer the horse walks on a thrown or loose shoe the possibility for injury and soreness increases.

In addition to daily hoof care, you can use topical products such as hoof dressing to maintain the appearance and feel of hooves. The use of hoof dressing is ideal if your horses live in an area that is particularly dry or if the horse has a naturally dry hoof. Hoof dressing is also beneficial to those horse’s that have minor cracks and splits in the hoof.

Benefits of Hoof Dressing:

  • Helps to retain moisture to combat dry and brittle hooves
  • Conditions and brings out natural shine
  • Enhances texture
  • Prevents cracks and splits

If your horse needs a little more support than the above mentioned practices, a feed through hoof supplement might be a good idea. Like so many other types of supplements, there are plenty of hoof supplements on the market to choose from. One difference, however, is that is can take approximately 6-9 months of using a hoof supplement to see any change or improvement. This is because the hoof grows at such a slow rate that the new (and hopefully improved) growth won’t be evident for quite some time. In accordance with that, hoof supplements typically need to be fed on a continued basis and not just during certain periods of time.

Key Ingredients in Horse Hoof Care Supplements:

  • Vitamins: E, Biotin
  • Minerals: Zinc, copper and calcium
  • Amino acids/Proteins: Lysine, methionine and threonine
  • Fatty Acids: Omega 3 & 6

Any questions regarding hoof health? We would love to help you out!

How to Choose an Equine Joint Supplement for Your Horse

How to Choose an Equine Joint Supplement

Looking for a joint supplement for your beloved horse can be tough – there is a variety  of options out there and a lot of questions you have to ask yourself (powder, liquid or pellet? MSM or HA? Budget?). We’re going to go over a few key factors in making a decision on a joint supplement for your horse.

First, you want to look at what active ingredients the product offers. While there can be a variety of ingredients found in equine joint supplements, there are a few key players in most supplements found on the market today. Keep in mind that a joint supplement can contain one, a few or none of these ingredients – it’s important to research what the supplement offers.

  • Glucosamine Sulfate: This is a naturally occurring chemical found in the fluid surrounding joints – it’s responsible for the manufacturing of cartilage, ligaments and tendons. It’s been proven to have anti-inflammatory effects and is crucial to the development and maintenance of joints. Glucosamine Sulfate is the most readily absorbed ingredient in joint supplements due to the small molecular size.
  • Chondroitin Sulfate: This compound is found in the cartilage surrounding the joint – it acts as a flexible connector in cartilage. It also helps neutralize destructive enzymes in the cartilage. Where glucosamine helps build the cartilage, chondroitin helps to slow the degradation of it. However, due to the large molecular size chondroitin is harder for the body to absorb.
  • Hyaluronic Acid: This is found in the fluid surrounding the joints. HA helps to thicken the fluid to around the joints for added protection and lubrication. A joint supplement with HA would be beneficial to a senior horse, since natural HA production slows with age.
  • MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane): A readily usable form of sulfur which is necessary for the production of collagen, glucosamine and chondroitin as well as the formation of the connective tissue. MSM is proven to be beneficial to horses with arthritis but it can also helps in preventing scar tissue from forming so horses with injuries might find this beneficial as well.
  • Yucca: Plant that is found in The Southwest US and Mexico which is believed to have natural pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties. This product isn’t specific to joint supplements, but is still often found in many of those on the market today.

It’s also important to consider why you are looking at putting your horse on a joint supplement. Is it because of arthritis, injury, age or a combination of factors? Or are you trying to take a preventative step towards the care of your horse’s joints? Most companies target their supplement to a specific cause – so be sure to look for that.

Senior Injury Arthritis Combination
  Glucosamine Sulfate Yes Yes  Yes
  Chondroitin Sulfate  Yes  Yes  Yes
  Hyaluronic Acid  Yes  Yes  Yes
  MSM  Yes  Yes  Yes  Yes
  Yucca  Yes  Yes  Yes

 

Joint supplements also come in a variety of substances – all of which have their benefits. The biggest factor that I consider when choosing between different formulas is how good of an eater the horse is. If your horse will eat pretty much anything, then you could go with any of the options. However, if the horse is a picky eater, going with a liquid or powder would most likely be the best option. All of the supplements are easy to feed as a top dressing to your horse’s grain. If your horse doesn’t receive a grain ration on a regular basis, the pelleted joint supplements would be a good option because they can be fed on their own.

As always, we recommend consulting with a licensed veterinarian about your horse’s specific case before starting them on a supplement.

What joint supplement do you use? And what do you like about it? Let us know!