I feel like I’ve spent Presto’s entire life obsessing over his condition. He’s been a scrawny, rangey, skeletor-type kid since the word go, and I kind of feel like we’ve always been playing catch-up, in a way. I don’t know if it’s all his thoroughbred, the fact that he’s been pretty fast-growing, or if this is just him, or if there’s some kind of lingering effect of all his digestive-system-related problems early on in life, but keeping condition on this horse has always been a challenge. Over the years I’ve run just about every test on him that you can imagine, never quite satisfied. He’s never looked BAD, but he’s just never looked truly GREAT either. I have an actual spreadsheet where I’ve logged and broken down all of his feed and nutrition information over the years, trying to find just the right formula.
To be fair, it does seem to come and go a bit with his growth spurts. He always thins out when he’s growing, and because he is such a blooded horse, he doesn’t naturally have very much in the way of natural muscle bulk. I’ve always hoped that this would improve with age, and it definitely has, especially since I started riding him lightly.
I also don’t believe in throwing a ton of concentrated feed at a horse, especially a warmblood baby. That’s just asking for issues. And when he was boarded, while he did have access to grass and hay, it wasn’t nearly as much as I would have ideally wanted. I did what I could, buying him premium feeds and extra fats and extra hay and making sure everything was balanced, but y’all know how it is when you board – there’s only so much you can control.
Now that Presto is “at home” I’ve had a lot more leeway with what I can feed him, and he has 24/7 access to grass and/or good quality hay. I also switched both of my horses over to a top of the line feed, and added flaxseed oil to Presto’s. It definitely helped some – Henry’s grain amount has been cut in half, and Presto has held his weight better. Still though… never quiiiiiiite the kind of condition that makes you feel really pleased. You know what I mean.
I’ve never been much of a supplements person, I always start at the roughage and then add a super high quality (and low NSC, high fat) feed, and I strongly believe those two things are by far the most important basis for a horse’s diet. I have a bit of a grumpy grumbly old man response when it comes to supplements, a distrust that runs deep enough to where you might hear me mumble something that sounds a lot like “snakeoil salesmen” and “show me the non-biased research”. Henry and Presto both have been on various powders and potions over the years, me trying things out here and there, but none of them have made any real noticeable difference. The barn owner is a long-time user and big fan of the Platinum Performance line, which admittedly I have always heard really good things about and her horses definitely look great, but with boarding two horses that supplement line has also always felt a bit hard to swallow budget-wise. They aren’t cheap.
There have always been a couple little niggly things with each horse that have continued to bother me a little though. Henry’s a walking Mr. Sensitive. Like if you look at him wrong his hair will fall out, or he’ll break out in hives, or his butt will start flaking off, or he’ll have an allergic reaction to like… dirt or whatever. Tres sensitive. And with Presto, it’s always been just that little lack of truly great condition. Not-quite-shiny. Not-quite-thriving. You guys know what I mean, when a horse seems 95% of the way to “great” but you just can’t seem to bridge that final gap.
The BO and I got to talking about supplements one day when she had let one of her mares’ supplements lapse and noticed a difference really quickly. The more we talked the more I was kinda like… ya know what… I’m in a place right now where I can afford to drop a little bit of money on one of the few things left that I haven’t tried – let’s just see what happens. I mean, worst case scenario I was out a couple hundred bucks right? WHAT THE HELL ELSE IS NEW WITH HORSES.
It’s been about a month now and honestly? They both look great. Presto especially. He’s on Platinum Performance Equine and Platinum Balance, and Henry is on Platinum CJ. I haven’t noticed quite as much difference in Henry yet… I do think his skin and coat look nicer/shinier, but granted there was not as much room for improvement with Henry, he already looked pretty good. Presto though… wow. Despite already having a good start to his winter hair, his coat is looking the best it ever has. He is SHINY, the hair itself feels different, and he’s rounding out a bit. Not in a fat kind of way, but in a topline kind of way. My skeptical side wants to pipe up and say that he’s rounding out because we’re heading into the time of year where his growth rate slows down, and he’s getting older, but even if both of those things are entirely responsible for the change, he’s still shiny AF. I can’t even tell you the last time I gave this horse a soap bath, nor have I touched him with a shine spray. Shit, he only gets groomed once or twice a week. He’s about as filthy and au natural as you can get right now. I was watching him yesterday though, while the crew was there to level the house, and I was like DAMN. Who dat horse???
Kind of can’t wait to see what he looks like after I bathe and clip him.
The Platinum supplements have earned themselves an extension for sure. I’m not quite 100% sold on it for Henry yet but the difference in Presto over the past couple weeks has been pretty undeniable. I’m finally feeling pretty pleased with his condition. I don’t know if it’s the Equine or the Balance or the combination of both. I don’t know if it’s the extra vitamins or extra fats (he was already getting a lot of both between his feed and flax oil) or if the digestive assistance is helping his body utilize the rest of his diet better. Maybe a combo of everything. Either way, I’m not going to question it. If this is what it takes to give him that last little bump towards THRIVING, count me in. Bye money.