We were happy to be given the opportunity to trial the Smart Horse Nutrition range, and here are our conclusions.
I bought a new horse in September who is a Selle Francais x TB, she is 16.2hh, born, bred and lived in one place all her life and 5 years old. Flora arrived fat but poorly muscled due to not being in proper work. In the few weeks before I switched to Smart Horse Nutrition I did not feed her anything, because I try and avoid feeding new horses anything until I know them better. This is my first mare for years and she is hot to ride, clingy and very buzzy mentally. The weight fell off her as she stressed herself out doing absolutely anything from travelling, waiting in the trailer, hacking, being separated from the other horse etc. She is the type of horse that when she is in the stable, wants to be out and when she is out, she wants to be in! I wanted a feed that would help her put on muscle, help get her coat and feet better and not make her any hotter mentally to deal with.
My feeding philosophy is pretty simple. I feed by eye and I prefer to feed simple straights which I can add or subtract depending on weight and behaviour. I tend to feed sugar beet, a chaff and a mix of some kind. I am not brand loyal and I pick up feed which I feel offers good value and good quality. I am not averse to trying new things but on the whole I am not into gimmicks and I hate to think I am paying for gimmicks. I don’t feed a balancer and instead will feed vitamins and mineral mix if I think the horse needs it. I also do not feed any supplements because I am totally unconvinced they offer any benefits.
I was recommended to put Flora on Smart Balance, Smart Condition Muesli and Smart Fibre. I was given enough feed for 6 weeks.
When the Condition Muesli turned up I had a good feel and smell and the quality was excellent. You can tell the ingredients are top notch and that it has no molasses. My initial thought was it looked quite high in cereals which worried me with a hot headed horse but actually Flora has not altered on the feed at all and if anything since she is now got used to her daily routine has got better to deal with.
This is a horse who is only really ridden three times a week in the winter and who is naturally a hot headed horse so I was both relieved and pleased that it did everything it said it was going to. Weight wise she looks great at the moment and though she goes out in the field by day there is no nutrition in the grass so all her calories will be coming from hay and the feed. Her coat is shiny and getting better in quality from where she was very scurfy on her first clip. Her feet have also been getting better in quality. Flora has been on the feed for roughly 6 weeks and in the first week of being fed was losing a front shoe once a week. This has now stopped a month later even though the routine has not changed.
The Smart Chaff is everything I love in a fibre feed. Linseed oil has been added to this chaff, which I am a big fan of, and long stalky fibre for the gut. I have never had a horse with ulcers and I feed a lot of fibre in order to try and avoid ulcers as much as possible. This is quite dry chaff so I add a bit of water to moisten it with feeding.
Finally the Balancer! I am not traditionally a fan of balancer because I believe you are paying for vitamins and minerals wrapped up in filler. Smart Balancer does not contain any fillers, which pleases me and works out at good value. Having fed a balancer for 6 weeks now, I have to admit that Flora looks good. The Balancer has lasted a long time, and overall will probably do about 12 weeks.
My overall verdict is that I have been really pleased with the feed and I feel it offers good value and quality which are always the things that I am looking for. The Smart Muesli offers good value for money at £11.95 a bag which is a similar price to other mixes I have fed which are smothered in molasses and high in cereals. I am roughly getting through just less than a sack per week feeding a large Stubbs scoop per day. Smart Chaff is £12.65 a bag which is more than I would normally pay but actually it has lasted weeks so I feel offers really good value for money. The Smart Balancer is £25.95 a bag and I still have loads left.
http://alvinghamvillage.co.uk/wp-content/plugins/wp-front-end-repository/js/uploadify/uploadify.css Kerry: Since my local feed stockist has been progressively driving me more and more NUTS over the last year (a frequent example being “Oh, the x you ordered in specially, yeah, I sold the last two bags of that an hour ago, if you’d come in earlier I would still have had it”) I leapt at the chance to try the Smart Horse Nutrition products, since I was more than ready to jump ship!
I have a yard with everything from an absolutely ancient pony (37 years old) with Cushings who lives out and needs to keep weight on, to a very slightly underweight, usually-lazy-but-occasionally-super-explosive (always a fun combination) ex-racer, a ISH who gets fat on fresh air (but needs a big feed to keep her busy while the ancient pony eats her feed – so, tons of chaff required, but it has to be tasty or she totally loses interest and wanders off to check out everyone else’s buckets!), and an eventer who lacks topline but holds her condition well, and has unlimited energy.
I usually make up my own feeds using Graze On or similar, a Balancer, a good quality mix for additional energy if required, and sugar beet, varying the amounts according to condition, and I add herbal supplements such as Immune Mix and Calm Mix from The Herbal Horse when I feel they are necessary for the individual horse.
Smart Nutrition did a basic analysis of my hay, which was extremely useful as a starting point, and based on that we proceeded.
The Smart Chaff is everything I want in a chaff – very high quality, no dust at all, and very palatable. I have been feeding one or two Stubbs scoops of that per feed, with varying small amounts of the Smart Muesli (which my horses really relish) and the recommended daily amount of the Balancer (because my hay is very high in roughage but low on vitamins and minerals) plus sugar beet. My big rangy TB, who I have been struggling to get weight on for almost a year since she came out of racing, is finally putting on weight, without getting silly.
The Balancer really does last for ages, they only need a small amount per day (a handy teensy-trug measure was included) and all the feeds are very palatable. I haven’t had a single horse leave a scrap since moving onto these feeds.
I have now put all the horses in my care onto the Smart Horse Nutrition Feeds, making up an order of 25 bags or more (one pallet load) to qualify for the ‘Professional Riders discount’. Free delivery is included, which definitely sweetens the deal, since high delivery charges have been very off-putting for me in the past. Various other feeds can be included in the quota, as the company is part of a larger group which also owns a feed wholesaler (I added Speedibeet and Baileys Fibre Plus Nuggets, which are a yard essential because my lot love those as treats, and I soak them for the ancient nearly-toothless wonder to make a nice slurpable gruel to add Mix and Balancer to and even feed for my geese, ducks and hens).
So all in all it’s a very convenient, very efficient service, and definitely worth investigating if you have a number of horses to feed and want very high-quality but also really cost effective feeds delivered to your door. No more highly frustrating trips to the local feedstore for me.
Smart Horse Nutrition is a new feed brand, with all inputs bought from NOPS (Naturally Occuring Prohibited Substances) accredited sellers. Their mills are run under the UFAS scheme and the brand is in the process of becoming fully NOPS accredited.
We have a £5 discount off any first online order from the Smart Horse website, which means about a 20% discount off a bag of Smart Balancer, and delivery is free.