Letters: 09/02

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SmartPak Responds
Many thanks for your favorable review of??SmartPak??(July 2002).?? You’ve done an excellent job with a complicated subject.?? There is one misconception we’d like to address.??

We do work hard to accommodate customer requests to stock products not on our base list.?? But because we only add products with??permission from the manufacturer,??this can be a somewhat prolonged process.?? The supplement manufacturers we represent have high standards for their products and, in turn,??set??high standards??with??regard to how their products are handled.????Our manufacturers have made it clear that??their products??must never??be packaged together with other products.?? We have invested??substantial??resources in designing our packaging to the satisfaction of the manufacturers such that their valuable brand is protected and presented in its freshest and most potent form.

-Becky Minard
VP Marketing and Founder, SmartPak Equine LLC

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Oat Hay
Thank you for your July 2002 article on oat hay. I live in California where grass hays aren’t readily available and have found oat hay to be an excellent feed for horses. My horses don’t tolerate a diet of straight alfalfa, and they will not eat Bermuda hay, the one readily available grass hay. However, oat and oat/barley hay is plentiful. Several years ago, I started feeding them a diet of 75% oat/barley hay and 25% alfalfa each feeding.

My horses love the oat/barley hay, and they have a nice shiny coat and an excellent energy level. In fact, my usually hard-to-keep mare has become an easy keeper on this diet. After reading your article, I’ve decided to add the recommended copper and zinc supplements to balance their ration.

I’m glad you got the word out about the benefits of feeding oat hay. I’m the only person in my area that feeds it despite its availability. For some reason, oat hay is considered low quality and not suitable for horses. In fact, I get comments from other horse people that I’m just “being cheap” by feeding my horses oat hay, when in fact it costs more than the alfalfa. I hope that your article will help dispel these myths and encourage more people to consider feeding oat hay.

I’ve been subscribing to Horse Journal for a year now, and I especially appreciate how your articles cut through the hype and deliver the facts about equine products, thereby helping horse owners make wise and cost-effective purchases.

-Aimee Sumner
California

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Uses Similar Diet
I appreciated reading your June 2002 article on diets for laminitic horses and ponies.??We’ve been successfully using??a similar??diet in our laminitis program for several years now with major success.?? I would be interested in knowing where you??were able to gather??some of your support data for this article.??What makes this of interest to me is that we have been highly successful in the??rehabilitation of chronic laminitis/founder cases, yet the program and diet that we find so effective is scoffed at as ridiculous by??our local veterinary community.??

-Philip E. Thommen
Farrier Science Program, Maryland

There are many possible causes of laminitis, some of them unrelated to diet, but the pieces of the puzzle regarding the connection between obesity, grass-induced laminitis susceptibility, and laminitis in horses with pituitary tumors are falling into place. Insulin resistance is the common denominator, so it made sense to us to remove as much soluble carbohydrates from these horses’ diets as possible.