Lifelong horse enthusiast and rider Debby Brown got her first horse when she was just 10-years-old. She has surrounded herself with good horses and horse people through life, enjoying both the companionship and the sport of riding and competing in various disciplines.
Brown has competed in poles and barrels, but now prefers trail riding, pasture riding and the sport of ranch classes, which has grown in popularity in the last 3-4 years in her home state of Arkansas, where she is active in the Westark Horse Show Association. With the unexpected death in the fall of 2016 of her long-time companion and favorite horse, CooDann, Brown wasn’t sure she’d find another horse to ride and continue to compete in the ranch classes with.
“I went from not being physically able to ride in the speed classes anymore to doing some extreme trail riding and then doing these ranch classes,” Brown said, “Then, my main mount, a horse I raised from a baby, died unexpectedly.”
That was in November. Brown didn’t think she was ready for another horse, but an acquaintance convinced her he had the “perfect” horse for her, an 8-year-old Paint named Penny. Since she trusted the source, Brown purchased the mare, brought her home and started riding her. Very soon Brown realized the mare had poor feet.
After talking to good friends and BioZyme® Inc. dealers Julie and Tracy Leonard with 5000 Ranch in the Spring of 2017, Brown decided to try Vitalize® Equine Free Choice. It didn’t take her long to notice a positive difference in Penny.
“I had been feeding her a hoof supplement since I first bought her, but I didn’t see a big difference in her until I started her on Vitalize,” Brown said. “I was real pleased with her hoof quality, hair quality, weight gain, and how her mane grew. Vitalize totally transformed her. Some of that was getting her on a good feed, but I saw a difference when I put her on a good mineral. This mineral gave her what she needed.”
Vitalize, a line of supplements with the Amaferm® advantage to improve digestive health and gut integrity, are formulated to keep horses healthy and performing. Amaferm, a natural prebiotic designed to maximize the nutritional value of feed, is research-proven to increase nutrient absorption resulting in maximized digestive health for improved performance. Other benefits of the Amaferm advantage that Brown noticed with Penny include weight gain, consistent appetite and strong solid hooves.
Brown noted that the transformation happened when she had only fed about one-quarter of the bag. While feeding just a half-cup per day, 50 pounds lasts a while, she chuckles. Once she saw the positive changes in Penny, she also introduced Vitalize to her other two horses, a 21-year-old mare and a younger mount she keeps for pasture riding.
Another thing that impressed Brown was that Penny really muscled out and bloomed during the show season that runs from March to September, and much of that is in the summer, when horses often lose weight.
“During the heat of the summer is when she bloomed out. At the end of the show season I didn’t have the same horse I started with in March,” Brown said.
Brown isn’t the only one that noticed a difference in Penny. When farrier Jason Smith shod the mare in late summer, he noticed the difference in Penny’s hooves right away and told Brown that was the best he had seen the feet on that mare look since she started caring for her.
The Vitalize Equine Free Choice vitamin and mineral supports overall hoof health by providing the basic building blocks for a strong, healthy hoof and through the power of Amaferm, which helps digestion and absorption of nutrients in the diet. In addition, the Vitalize equine supplements contain added biotin for hoof health.
Lynsey Whitacre, BioZyme’s Equine Business Development and Field Support, weighed in on the subject. “Not only is nutrition important to hoof health, but hoof health is also important to the horse’s overall health,” Dr. Whitacre said. “Horses put all their weight on their hooves, so the importance of a well maintained and healthy hoof is understandable. As the old adage goes, ‘no hoof, no horse.’”
In addition to feeding Vitalize, cleaning your horses’ hooves on a regular basis to keep them free of mud or dirt that might cause an irritation or infection and making sure the horses see a farrier about every six weeks to maintain adequate hoof shape and length will help ensure good hoof health.