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Lets Talk Skin and Coat Supplements

Let’s Talk Supplements, Part II

As I said in Part I, I don’t love supplements, but I don’t hate them either. My philosophy is if the horse needs it, he should have it. I felt very confident in my choice to begin feeding Miles ProBios (a digestive supplement) because there was a very clear problem that needed to be addressed. I also liked the ProBios supplement in particular because it simply gives more of what is already naturally produced in the body.

In this next installment, I want to talk about coat and skin supplements, which I feel less confident about. I’ve talked a few times before about Miles’s poor coat quality and dry skin. And while it’s certainly improved since I started brushing him more, it’s still not quite where I’d like it to be. Of course, there are lots of factors that play into this issue, some of which I can change (more currying) and some of which I can’t (no baths in the winter and wearing blankets for five months straight).

But the reality remains: Miles’s coat and skin could use some help.

I’ve used coat supplements in the past, including Ultimate Finish (which really doubles as a weight gain supplement), as well as SmartShine from SmartPak, and I liked them both well enough. But Miles doesn’t need pure fat (remember when he ate too much food and went crazy?), and part of me feels guilty for wanting to feed my horse a supplement just so he looks pretty.

But just like Miles’s loose stool, there is a real problem here (blanket rubs, dull coat and dry skin) that needs to be fixed. And the fact of the matter is I live in Ohio: it’s going to be too cold to bathe for months on end and Miles has to wear a blanket so he doesn’t freeze to death.

So I’m seriously considering putting Miles on SmartShine Ultra, at least for a year, to see how things go through next winter. Has anyone used this supplement before? And, more importantly, am I a terrible person for wanting to “cheat” on getting Miles’s coat and skin up to snuff?

What do you think?


Fly On Over is an equestrian lifestyle blog devoted to connecting horse lovers around the world. By providing equestrians with practical tips and tricks related to horse ownership, discussing training techniques for horse and rider, as well as covering industry news.

15 thoughts to “Let’s Talk Supplements, Part II”

  1. A shiny coat is a sign of a healthy horse, so I don’t see getting a shiny and healthy coat as a cheat. 🙂 I actually buy a 50lb bag of whole flax seed (about $30, lasts me a loooooong time) from the feed store nearby. I feed a 1/4 cup once a day. The extra fat and Omega 3 & 6 in the flax seed helps a lot with coat quality, and I love the high fiber content and cheapness. I don’t grind the flax seeds and find they still work just fine without the extra work. That might be an option?

  2. I’ve fed Shy flax before. Much cheaper than supplements. I never ground them up either, just fed them straight to her with her other stuff.

  3. Third vote for a flax supplement. I feed BioFlax 20, which also has Biotin in it for good feets. I’ve also fed straight flax seed before, but didn’t see as good results with those as they often don’t get chewed up because they’re so tiny.

  4. I would do SmartOmega instead of SmartShine. There’s nothing wrong with SS and it’s not “cheating”, but I think you can help more than just his coat for the $$ spent.

  5. Something with Omega in it would probably do the trick just as well, like SmartOmega. I use Glanzen for Loki and it has made a huge difference in his coat. Having healthy skin and hair is important for more than just looks so I don’t think it is a bad thing to supplement if the horse needs it.

  6. Coat supplements are a beautiful thing. It’s not cheating–remember, a healthy coat comes from the inside out. Coat supplements just give the horse’s body more of what it needs to do to have a healthy coat. Lex is actually on Smart Dark and Handsome but I’ll have to switch her to something else when we go to rated shows because it tests (even though it has no effect on behavior or attitude or anything). She looks pretty great on it.

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