Manufacturers know that big personalities and well-known horses help sell their products. Actual endorsements can be hard to come by though — they cost those manufacturers a bundle (big names don’t come cheap). Paging through a breed magazine, we came across two ads featuring a successful horse but without giving an actual endorsement.
Both ads showed action shots with famous horses, but if you read the ads there was no mention that the products were used on the horses. One ad went so far as to print a prominent list of the winners of major races to date but, again, no connection was made between that list and the product.
A favorite ploy: “Shoot The Moon was fed Space Shuttle Conditioner when he won the Kentucky Derby.” Does this mean the product is good and you should use it'
Horse sports are packed with examples of how exceptional horses have literally made the name/career of the farm, trainer, rider, veterinarian and farrier associated with them. More often than not, it is the good horse that makes everyone else look good, not the other way around. That something special in that horse came from his genes and his heart, not from a bottle.
It can be turned around, too, to include famous people: “Moe Hoofpick, trainer of Shoot The Moon, feeds Space Shuttle Conditioner.” The problem is, Moe Hoofpick may have 15 other horses in training, may have been training horses for 20 years and feeding Space Shuttle Conditioner long before Shoot The Moon ever came along — all with no big winners. This tells you nothing about the product, good or bad.
Some testimonials carry a little more weight. If you read that the champion yearling halter horse in every category in every state was bathed with GloPoo this year, either the manufacturer was giving it away by the truckload at shows or this is a shampoo that might be worth trying. The other contributing variables cancel out. There are different handlers, different breeds, judges, feeding and conditioning techniques. Reasonable claims, backed by big numbers, may be worth attention.
Endorsements and advertising are not the best ways to choose a product. Even if the horse really did get the product in the ad, you have no way of knowing what other supplements or drugs were also given to that horse. Implied endorsements are even worse, walking a fine line between eye-catching ads and flat-out deception. The best ways to find good products are self-education, word of mouth and, of course, impartial magazines.
’Til Next Month,
-Eleanor Kellon, VMD