To “supplement” or not to “supplement”, is that really a question? Maybe not if you know what supplements are doing, or not doing.
When you decide to give your horse a supplement, how do you know exactly what they are lacking or how much they are lacking? Is it a guess based on symptoms? Are you doing it just because you assume every horse needs it? Supplements randomly add what is thought to be “missing” in a diet. There is no basis in medical theory of any kind, no precision, and no research about the underlying issue. For example, your horse has arthritis. What do you do? Give Glucosamine and Chondroitin. Okay, but did you know that these two things are substances that are naturally found in a HEALTHY joint? When there is injury or disease and the joint capsule is damaged, these things are lost. Giving supplements will only act as a band aid and will not repair what has happened to the capsule. You have to treat the CAUSE of the problem, not the symptom. Only then will the body begin to replace the natural Glucosamine and Chondroitin (etc.) that is in a healthy joint.
It is the same with vitamins and minerals. How do you know what your horse is lacking, if anything? Do you offer free choice minerals and salt? Do you feed an adequate amount of hay or grass? If you do, your horse should be getting what they need. Most people feed a “grain” to their horse as well. Specialty feeds contain all sorts of vitamins and minerals; biotin, magnesium, lysine, calcium, vitamins A and E, etc. When you give an additional supplement that also contains these things, how do you know that you’re not giving too much? Even too much of a good thing can be bad. And once you stop a supplement, the problem seems to come back, sometimes worse than when you began.
So, what do you do?
How about figure out your horses symptoms and get the underlying problem figured out? Once you know WHY your horses coat is dull or their hooves are brittle and weak, you can treat the problem at the root, eliminating the symptoms as the real issue is resolved instead of wasting money on supplements that will only make things “look” like they’re better. Even conventional medicine has forced us to deal with symptoms instead of the problem, so it’s perfectly natural to “settle” for something that simply helps our horse for the time being.
If you ARE tired of nothing helping your horse, I encourage you to visit For Love of the Horse. ALL of Dr. Thomas’ formulas are created with the intent to go directly to the root of the problem, fixing it from the inside out without EVER masking symptoms. There is no comparison between a supplement and Dr. Thomas’ formulas. There is no need to supplement if you can fix it, right?