Tuesdays with Tony
You may have noticed (or not, if you’re oblivious to the racehorse world like me) that some major bad players were recently indicted by the FBI. That’s right, the Federales were involved. I am above these things you humans call laws, except when it comes to Rabies shots, but I understand some pretty big laws were broken. More importantly, horses were hurt, and potentially even died because of what happened. I will let you humans sort out the law side of things, but I wanted to chat about science, ethics, and supplements.
What do you want for your horse?
The trainers involved in this indictment obviously don’t want the best for their horses, but what do you want for your horse? I’m okay with saying we pushed hard for the championship. If I wasn’t a cat who’s only motivation is finding the ideal sleeping spot, I’d probably want to push hard for the championship too! You all know horses. You know they understand the game, and many of them like to do what you humans ask of them. Some of them don’t, but that’s a whole different blog topic. However, at the end of the day, it’s up to the humans to understand where the line is between pushing and breaking, and what’s more important: the win, or the horse. I’m not a young kitten, I do understand that the line is in different places for different people. Think about where the line is for you, and your horse.
What’s in it?
One of the products involved in the FBI raids has an ingredient list that reads as: an innovative formulation consisting of amino acids derived from Ovine Placental Extract. SGF 1000 RMR is manufactured and puriﬁed through a patented low temperature process that involves homogenization, fractionation and ultra-ﬁltration of the ovine placental extract suspended in a sterile liquid.
As stated earlier, I’m no kitten, but I am a wise cat. I’ve done my time on the front counter listening to my Docs. That is a bunch of big, sciency sounding words that don’t mean a thing. And nowhere do they have the unabridged version of what’s supposed to happen when they put it in a cold blender, then run it through an expensive strainer. Tony’s Take Home: Be very wary of a company that won’t give you a good answer to 1. The science behind their process, 2. What’s actually in the stuff they’re selling you for what I’m sure is a decent amount of money. This applies to every single thing you humans buy for your horses. From grain, to hay, to probiotics, to saddles, tack, bits, and ANYTHING called a supplement.
There is one particularly overpriced, but very pretty, supplement on the market that is 90% flax seed (!) plus some vitamins and minerals. You can give your horse a pound of flax seed daily, and a pound of a good ration balancer and have the EXACT same thing for about 1/10th the price. Anyway, you and/or my Docs should have a very clear understanding of what’s in any product you are putting in or on your horse.
What does it do?
In the case of this supplement, it did a lot, and there were statements made like “it doesn’t test,” and “there’s no test for it.” Those seem like red flags to me. Many of these drugs are illegal because, not only do they cause profound performance enhancement, but they also have pretty awful side effects. Mother Nature has done what can be done with the available materials. Racehorses already perform at the edge of what their engineering is capable of. Giving them performance enhancers will only cause the engineering to fail.
That’s exactly what’s suspected in one horse, X Y Jet. One of the nasty side effects is the potential for a heart attack. Well guess who died of a heart attack? That’s right, X Y Jet. Imagine if your tiny human was on that horse when that happened rounding the third barrel and heading for home. I promise you, it’s not a good outcome. Things that promise to vastly improve Mother Nature come with a very, very high price.
On the other side of the spectrum (and way more common) is the drug that promises to make your barrel horse run faster, your jumper jump higher, and your western pleasure horse to lope slower. Guess what? It very likely doesn’t do ANY of those things! The only thing this type of product, supplement, boot, saddle pad, widget, or thingy is good at is separating your money from your person. Horses are pretty good at that all on their own. You don’t need snake oil to help you.
Know what makes your horse run faster, jump higher, or lope slower? Good training, hard work, and natural ability. If things aren’t going the way you want, here’s some simple rules:
1. Have my Docs talk with you, watch your horse perform, and do a lameness evaluation
2. Check your tack
3. Check yourself.
I’m not a big fan of rules, but they are important occasionally. So follow the rules, avoid the FBI, and have a happy, healthy horse at the end of the day.
Until next week,
P.S. Looking for more knowledge in the world of horses? Head on over to our podcast page for an abundance of useful knowledge. To get there, just click here.
Tuesdays with Tony is the official blog of Tony the Clinic Cat at Springhill Equine Veterinary Clinic in Newberry, Florida. If you liked this blog, please subscribe below, and share it with your friends on social media! For more information, please call us at (352) 472-1620, visit our website at SpringhillEquine.com, or follow us on Facebook!