Little Horses, Big Appetites: Weight-Managing Smaller Equines with BioStar
Spring is here, and it’s the perfect time to think about fresh grass, lush pasture — and the issues faced by metabolic horses and easy keepers.
In honor of the season and its challenges, here’s a triple treat courtesy of BioStar staffers Emily Halaszynski and Lindsey Henry: three different ponies tell us — in their own words — about three different BioStar offerings formulated for weight management! Read on about Rebel Rose, Carl Snowball, Dash, and their experiences with BioStar’s Meta Bites EQ, Tri Dosha EQ, and Optimum HW.
* * *
Rebel Rose, Miniature Pony
Growing up as a miniature pony, I’ve always lived under the law of “no treats allowed.” Despite my baby-brown eyes and long white lashes, tyrant humans have told the nicer humans, “No treats!” Or worse, they post signs on my fence telling the nice humans not to feed me. Pats on the head are nice and all, but how am I going to maintain my girlish figure on small bits of grass and hay? I may waste away, people. Why do my taller friends get all the goods while I am just as clever and even cuter than they are?
Then I met my mom. She saved me! No longer would I live a life without. She gives me these yummy treats called Meta Bites EQ, and she says that they’re made special for me! Mom says they are made with ingredients that are perfect for smaller, more fuel-efficient ponies like me. I can taste the almonds and coconut in these bite size goodies, and mom says the chia helps to keep my “sugar” from crashing, and keep the sand and dirt moving through my tummy. Mom also likes that there is oat bran and sesame seeds which support my guts and muscles. They almost sound healthy, but I just love that I’m getting treats. And we even play games with them, like “follow the leader” and “find the treat.” Life is definitely happier with my special treats. And Mom.
Carl Snowball, Shetland Pony
In the equestrian circles of Charlottesville, I’ve found that my reputation often precedes me. I’ve been known around town as the resident grump for as long as I can remember. On that note, I’m pretty sure I’ve been “thirty” for the last decade or so, but there’s no telling how old I really am, especially given that I have the spunk to rival a youngster. In a previous life, I lived with weanlings and yearlings at a local farm to teach them what’s what. This was after being fired as a leadline pony — a job that, frankly, was totally beneath me. Now I spend my days bossing around Dash, a Haflinger who is my spineless pasture-mate.
When Emily first met me, I really liked to test her. Could she flee as quickly as the other caretakers I’ve chased out of the pasture? She was just another human that needed to learn she shouldn’t try to take me away from my grass before I’m ready.
I’ll admit that I’ve had some struggles with weight — a combination of my genetic predisposition and the fact that I refuse to keep a grazing muzzle on my head. However, just to keep the humans on their toes, I am also an extremely picky eater. When Emily met me, I was getting a ration balancer along with Thyro-L and pergolide (ugh, Cushing’s) but I wasn’t actually eating it. Maybe just a bite here and there. This also made for great fun with my evasion tactics, because I couldn’t even be enticed to come in with the usual human trickery of shaking feed in a bucket. I’ve also mastered the art of the ol’ carrot-snatch-and-spin. You’re gonna have to do better than that.
In the last few months, I’ve started feeling different. I think it might have something to do with my new dinner menu. When Emily comes to get me, I’ll approach her in the pasture instead of chasing her away. Instead of turning my nose up at my feed bucket, I dig in as soon as she presents it to me. I’ll grudgingly admit that she had a good idea: since my favorite food is grass, she’s been putting grass in the bucket. Well, they’re technically alfalfa-timothy cubes, but that’s basically the same thing. She even soaks them so that they’re easy for me to eat, and adds this stuff called chia that sticks to my moustache.
There’s also this tasty powder in there called Tri Dosha EQ, formulated specifically for horses and ponies like ME. It’s about time someone recognized how special I am! I think it’s really helping me feel better inside and out. It even gets its ancient Ayurvedic name for what it does: help rebalance and re-harmonize the body. According to Emily, the ingredients help regulate blood sugar and improve circulation, which is important for keeping me limber and toned. On top of that, there are adaptogenic herbs that help address wonky hormones like mine. As the docs understand it, many of us ponies struggle with high cortisol, and adaptogenic herbs like the holy basil in Tri Dosha help normalize cortisol levels. If we’ve learned anything on this journey, it’s that stress hormones and metabolism go hoof-in-hoof, but now I am looking AND feeling better than ever!
I still have a reputation for kicking up my heels, but I try not to direct them at Emily anymore!
I’m Dash, and I also live with Emily. She insists on helping me lose weight, even though I keep telling her that I dig my teddy bear vibe. Hasn’t she heard that “dad bods” are IN? Hasn’t she ever seen another Haflinger? We Haflingers love to appreciate the finer things in life: breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Since there isn’t a rooster on the farm, I take my job of trumpeting everyone awake at sunrise very seriously. Time for my morning flake of hay! She tries to use this thing called a nibble net to slow me down… LOL! She should get her money back. If anything, it only makes me more persistent in finishing all of the food in front of me in record time. I confess that I like a challenge — kind of like how I need my grazing muzzles replaced after I wear a hole in the rubber bottom until the opening is big enough for regular mouthfuls of grass. Dry lot? Never heard of it. You think your puny fence stands a chance against my bulldozer-like chest when there’s green grass on the other side? Guess again.
Anyway, I have an old injury that makes it hard to lose weight by exercising, and I already have to wear that dumb grazing muzzle when I go outside. What more can a guy do? Apparently Emily had one more thing for me to try: BioStar’s Optimum HW (Healthy Weight), a multivitamin supplement geared toward guys like me. The hero is something called Crominex 3+. It’s a bioavailable form of chromium with amalaki and shilajit. These ingredients are helpful because they support healthy blood glucose levels, improve circulation, and help metabolize carbs and fats. Besides Crominex, there are other ingredients that provide vitamin and mineral support, along with other antioxidant powerhouses like astaxanthin. After I started getting Optimum Healthy Weight in my food, I slimmed right down. Well, to a point. I’ve got to keep around a little extra Dash to love.
Emily thinks she’s really clever with her schemes, but I’ll let her have this win — as long as I get to eat as much and exercise as little as I did before!
Meta Bites EQ: Whole food treats formulated to nutritionally support horses with metabolic issues and “easy keepers”. The size of sugar cubes, these are a great choice to replace sugar as training rewards.
Tri Dosha EQ is a unique blend that combines the best of eastern Ayurvedic plants with western culture for the health of metabolic horses. Complimentary ingredients and minerals based on western medicine provide important support to metabolic horses and easy keepers. These include: amino acid chelated magnesium, whole almond powder, organic hemp seeds, and spirulina.
Optimum HW provides vitamins and minerals from plants including chelated minerals, amino acids, the B-complex including B-12, sulfur and vitamin E. Provides selenium yeast, astaxanthin, and Crominex® 3+, a patented blend of Indian gooseberry extract, shilajit, and trivalent chromium. This multi-layered supplement provides the science and efficacy of real ingredients to assist in the management of metabolic horses and easy keepers.
More info on metabolic horses and weight management: