Must-haves in your tack trunk
When I was competing, my show trunk held the usual necessities: extra saddle pads, a spare halter, extra girth, assorted bits, clippers, polo wraps, bell boots, tack cleaner, Animalintex, poultice, and standing wraps. On the top shelf I kept various wound creams like Fura-Zone, Corona, ichthammol and a jar of SWAT. Always had a few tubes of omeprazole, too, as my horse Lionheart was notoriously ulcer-sensitive.
Back in those days I also kept a box of Domino sugar cubes in my tack trunk along with a thermometer, hoof pick, jar of SMZs, extra gloves, and duct tape.
If I were competing now, I would have four other items in my tack trunk:Tri-Gard, Alixir, Remedium Nadi, and Zen-Max — some of BioStar’s most popular paste syringes.
Tri-Gard EQ is an alternative to the ulcer medications designed for preventative use. It is not a proton-pump inhibitor like omeprazole; it doesn’t stop the important stomach acids from functioning, nor does it cause the rebound effect of omeprazole.
Tri-Gard is based on a study done by Hagyard Equine on ulcers mitigated by pectin and mushroom polysaccharides.1
Tri-Gard provides premium-grade apple pectin (used in hospitals for wound care) along with sunflower lecithin, Lion’s Mane mushrooms, and sea buckthorn to protect and support strong intestinal mucosa, plus probiotic soil-based organisms to encourage microbiome balance.
Tri-Gard has become very popular with show hunters who are on the road and competing a lot, and don’t want to constantly give omeprazole.
Dressage trainer Jim Koford uses Tri-Gard when he competes, because he finds his horse is less stressed in his stall and more likely to eat and relax happily at a show when given Tri-Gard.
Alixir EQ is a recovery formula, and helps with rehydration. This is particularly important when horses are stressed and may not drink enough water to keep hydrated, or during a sudden weather change.
When I formulated Alixir, I had no idea that it could also help relieve mild colic, failure-to-thrive syndrome in foals and horses, and lethargy with discomfort.
Alixir contains shilajit, an Ayurvedic bioresin that helps regulate and support the mitochondria in cells which provide energy for cellular function and all biological processes.
Dressage trainer and rider Allison Kavey has had a lot of success with Alixir, and tells us she uses it for mild colics. Once, with a mare struggling to produce enough milk for her day-old foal, both mare and foal dramatically improved within two hours of being given Alixir. She also uses the paste during competitions with her performance horses to help them bounce back quickly.
Recently one of her mares had a reaction to a flu shot, and was showing lethargy and discomfort. Allison gave the mare Alixir, and a short time later the mare was back to being herself.
Allison’s vet has been so impressed with Alixir that he now carries it in his truck for mild colics, scours in foals, and lethargy in horses.
Beth Haist from The Horse of Course tack shop reported that at the recent USDF Region 1 Dressage Finals in Lexington, Virginia, (October 2023) a rider was hand-walking her horse because the horse had started to colic. Every time the rider stopped, the horse began pawing. The rider had called the vet and, while waiting, gave the horse a tube of Alixir that one of Beth’s employees had grabbed. Within fifteen minutes, the horse was relaxed and showing no colic signs. The vet came, said the horse was fine, and the rider ended up returning to the Horse of Course to purchase more tubes of Alixir.
Some horse owners use Alixir during weather changes, to increase hydration and reduce the possibility of weather-related impaction or gas colic.
I wish I’d had Alixir when my horse Lionheart colicked one year at Dressage at Devon. Fortunately, with hand-walking, the gas colic resolved, but giving him Alixir would have no doubt made him more comfortable sooner.
Remedium Nadi EQ
Remedium Nadi EQ is an Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine formula backed by modern scientific research, which supports a healthy inflammatory process in horses. It helps with muscle recovery and body-balancing through a blend of patented extracts from India, France, Switzerland, and Italy, plus traditionally grown and harvested medicinal mushrooms from China. Because Remedium Nadi is Eastern medicine-based, the ingredients help the whole horse — not just specific symptoms.
Some horses need muscle support after a day of showing. Or they may be feeling the effects of the particular footing in the rings, or are simply older and get a little stiff. Remedium Nadi helps maintain inflammation at a normal level, thus improving recovery time and well-being.
An added benefit of Remedium Nadi is the inclusion of holy basil (tulsi), one of the most revered plants in Ayurveda. As we all know, competitions are stressful for both horse and rider, and tulsi addresses the effects of this stress on the body system at large. .
Popular with jumpers, show hunters and ponies, Remedium Nadi (known around the barns as just “Rem”) has proven to support comfort and performance. Some riders give RemediumNadi at night after a class, while others give it 1-3 hours before a class.
In Ayurvedic medicine, adaptogens are substances that help the body adapt to stress, support the adrenal glands, balance cortisol, and encourage a healthy response to physical and mental stresses. While there are many equine calming pastes available, BioStar’s Zen-Max is unique in that it provides the adaptogenic plant orpine rose, along with dual-extracted Reishi mushrooms.
Zen-Max supports the brain-gut connection, which is the foundation for health and wellbeing. As we know, stress has a direct effect on the gut microbiome. In turn, the gut microbiome has a direct effect on the brain. For example, the GI tract produces 90% of the body’s serotonin — a neurotransmitter responsible for mediating satisfaction, happiness, well-being and optimism. Therefore, support of the intestinal microbiome is crucial for optimal mental health.
That’s why this paste, a tack trunk essential, is being used across the equestrian world in various disciplines to support horses under stress from competition, trailering off-property, surgical procedures, lay-ups, moving to a new barn, and for helping the horse during training sessions.
• Orpine rose has been shown to have gut-modulating properties that provide brain-gut support.
• Dual-extracted Reishi mushroom supports focus and concentration. Medicinal mushrooms such as Reishi can also provide prebiotic activity, helping to stimulate growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut.
• Bovine milk protein, which provides tryptophan and bioactive peptides. These compounds can regulate the serotonergic system through modulation of intestinal microbiota.
• Sunflower lecithin, which benefits brain health and cognitive function. Lecithin helps support the protective barrier within the GI tract to stop harmful bacteria and other toxins from entering intestinal cells.
• Amino acid-chelated magnesium, for helping relax tight, tense muscles in horses.
Whether you compete with your horse, or prefer to stay home and ride, having BioStar pastes in your tack trunk can provide a little bit of security to support your horse quickly and effectively. All of our pastes are show-safe.
1 – https://www.hagyard.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Polysaccharide-Treatment-Reduces-Gastric-Ulceration-in-Horses.pdf