From Endurance to Dressage
While at Bakersfield Vet Hospital for Speedy's most recent appointment, I ran through a few things with my vet, Dr. Tolley. I've worked hard to develop a good relationship with the team that cares for my horses, and that includes my vet. Over the years, I've made sure to ask for and follow the advice that my vet offers. He's been in practice for more than 30 years; he knows his stuff.
Right now, both of my boys are in fine shape, as they usually are. Both have awesome feet, and their coats gleam with good health. They're regularly vaccinated, their teeth are examined at least annually, and they're in excellent weight. Twice a year they're checked for worms with an eggs per gram fecal test and then given an appropriate dewormer. They see the chiropractor as needed, which is at least once a year. There is not much more that I can do.
Even so, I like to check in with my vet to see if he thinks there is anything else I should be doing. The one thing that I felt was missing was a mineral supplement. Izzy already receives a magnesium supplement (Quiessence), but I wondered if I shouldn't be giving both horses something more.
Hay grown in the western part of the United States is well known for being deficient in selenium and vitamin E. Selenium, an essential trace mineral that helps the body deal with stress, and vitamin E serve as anti-oxidants. While I know that our hay is deficient in these essential nutrients, I've never done anything about it. Until now.
Dr. Tolley and I talked about the various supplements from which to choose. He's fairly conservative in his approach to caring for horses and can usually be counted on to choose the simplest and most often, cheapest option. His own horses live on dry pasture with some added alfalfa cubes when the grass gets sparse.
He recommends horses get a good quality roughage, a fat source, and a mineral supplement. He likes my current feed regimen: both horses are fed alfalfa/oat cubes, loose hay (Speedy gets some alfalfa while Izzy gets a grass or stemmy grain hay), beet pulp, and rice bran. Each horses gets fed by weight, and I weigh my feed every now and again to check that it's still right. While the feed was great, he felt that a mineral supplement was indeed missing.
Many years ago, Dr. Tolley created his own mineral supplement that was designed to pair with the hay typically fed to horses in Kern County. He contracted with a local feed producer to manufacture his mineral supplement formula. It comes in a plain white bag, no fancy label, and is sold either at the vet hospital or at a local feed store, Rosedale Farrier Supply. It costs around $30 for a 50 pound bag, and Dr. Tolley recommends a one-pound serving daily.
I bought two bags, enough to try it out for seven weeks. Since it's a mineral supplement only, I won't see any changes in my horses. This isn't designed to shine their coats or harden their hooves. The purpose is to help them at a cellular level. The better their cells can function, the healthier they'll be. And ultimately, they should live longer and have more productive lives.
I should have enough of BVH's formula to last until we get back from vacation in late June. In the meantime, I'm evaluating two other mineral supplements: Platinum Performance and Grand Premium Plus. Both products are highly reviewed and well respected, but Platinum Performance was originally created by the doctors at Alamo Pintado, our area's premier equine medical center.
Platinum Performance was created to specifically aid bone and muscle healing in our equine patients. Based on research done over several years by Dr. Doug Herthel, we found that providing key trace minerals, highly bioavailable protein sources, vitamins and essential fatty acids that are missing from the modern horse diet, our patients experienced enhanced healing of muscles and bones, thus reducing the post-surgical recovery and promoting a smoother return to normal activity.
Both products come in multiple weight bags, but for comparison, I chose the 25 pound bags. Platinum Performance costs $1.69 per serving, while Grand Premium Plus runs slightly less at $1.49. BVH's Mineral Pellets come in a 50 pound bag and cost about $0.60 a serving, clearly the cheapest. While BVH's supplement is a lot cheaper, and remember I'm feeding two horses so cost is a factor, it doesn't come with all of the ingredients that the other two have.
When Dr. Tolley and I discussed my options, he asked if I needed or wanted all of the other ingredients. That was a very valid question and one that I am weighing seriously. As I look at the price of each supplement, I wonder if they're worth it for me right now. Feeding either of the name brand supplements would run me right around $100 per month. If I stick with BVH's supplement, I know I am getting the nutrients that they need without anything extra, but it would come at a price that I can easily afford.
Do you have any experience with either of these supplements? Do you feed something else that was recommended by your vet? If you had BVH's mineral supplement available, would you choose it over the pricier but more inclusive supplements?
About the Writer and Rider
I am a lifelong rider.
I began endurance riding in 1996 where I ultimately completed five, one-day 100 mile races, the 200-mile Death Valley Encounter, and numerous other 50, 65, and 75 mile races. I began showing dressage in 2010.
Welcome to my dressage journey.
About Speedy G
Speedy went from endurance horse to dressage horse. After helping me earn a USDF Bronze medal in the summer of 2020, he is now semi-retired. Speedy is a 2004, 15'1 hand, purebred Arabian gelding. His Arabian Horse Registry name is G Ima Starr FA.
Izzy was started as a four-year old and then spent the next 18 months in pasture growing up. I bought him as a six-year old, and together, we are showing at the lower levels. He is a 2008, 16'3 hand warmblood gelding. His Rheinland Pfalz-saar International (RPSI) name is Imperioso.
National Rider Awards
State Rider Awards
State Horse Awards
CDS Sapphire Rider Award
Third Level: 63.514%
Third Level: 62.105%
2023 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
2023 Show Schedule
*** SCEC 10/15-16/22
2022 Completed …
(*) Tehachapi 5/22/22
(*) Tehachapi 7/24/22
(***) Tehachapi 8/28/22
2023 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
Qualifying Training Level
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%:
Score 1: 62.115%