Packaging sells products. In fact, one major horse supplement manufacturer gave away products in exchange for customer feedback on what logos appealed to them the most. That company actually has quality products, but they also know what it takes to sell.
Brand-name dewormers usually come in brightly colored boxes with pretty horses on them to catch your eye, and they do. However, if you read the ingredients list you’ll find exactly the same drug at the same concentration in a plain wrapper. Saving money with a generic deworming product is a no-brainer.
Brand names are also designed to get your attention. You may be drawn to Happy Trails grain over Senior Mix, but if you look at the analysis and ingredients there may be no difference between them. You may be paying extra for Happy Trails, so the manufacturer can pay the advertising agency’s fee.
Testimonials are another attention getter, of course. Watch for vague, nonspecific endorsement claims. ”Veterinarian approved” is a biggie here. Which veterinarians' Who are they' What is it they actually approve of' Can you talk with one of them' Another one often used is the even more encompassing: ”veterinarians agree.” That’s almost comical because, believe me, you can always find veterinarians who don’t agree.
The phrase ”research proven” is highly abused. What research' Where was it published' Who paid for it' More often than not, the research amounts to observations made by the manufacturer. If a company is claiming ”research proven,” and charging you accordingly, demand to see it.
What about companies that are household names, at least in horse-oriented households' Does that mean you can trust everything they sell' Not necessarily. Many companies become big through smart business decisions and advertising, not because they have or had a stand-out product.
Drug companies budget much more money for advertising, sponsoring events, and even wining and dining veterinarians than they do on product development. A company might even be riding the wave of one genuine stand-out product and using that to sell you a dozen more that aren’t quite so great. Newer or smaller companies aren’t necessarily the best answer either.
It all boils down to being an informed consumer. With little, if any, regulation on the things you buy, you have to do your homework. Identify your needs and research the best options.
We’ll help you understand feed and supplements labels, know what your horse needs and give you recommendations on products based on our real-life field trials and market surveys. Money’s tight, and this isn’t the time to make foolish choices. It’s time to ask manufacturers the tough questions and demand answers. Don’t get glitzed.