Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Another Round of Applause for Smartpak

You've heard me sing their praises before (see my totally Type-A spreadsheet, Savings with Smartpak), but I have to tell you that this company has done it again.  A while back, I switched Tucker off of his SmartGut (which had been keeping him symptom-free of ulcers) because it contains licorice.  I wasn't aware that licorice could be a problem, but one day while browsing the COTH forums, I came across a post stating that horses can't do USEF shows while on Smartgut.  Puzzled, since I couldn't find any of the ingredients on the USEF's forbidden substances list, I emailed USEF and received an email back confirming that licorice, though not specifically included on the forbidden substances list, is prohibited and cannot be fed 7 days prior to competing. 

So, I did some very in-depth analysis of various options using Smartpak's comparison charts (which are super helpful and completely designed with crazies like me in mind), and found out that if I put Tucker on SmartCombo (which I had wanted to do anyway, because I was looking to add a joint and hoof supplement), and added something with an antacid, like U-Gard, I could come up with a reasonable approximation of the same ingredients as Smartgut, minus the offending licorice.

Then, the other day, I saw something on my facebook wall about Smartgut paste.  This would be a perfect solution for Tucker on show days, since he gets a little tummy trouble when he travels.  (I've tried probios and ProCMC, and even human grade pepto, which are all okay, but not ideal).  Unfortunately, I was afraid I'd run into the same problem with the licorice.  The following dialogue ensued on Smartpak's facebook page (I've taken out the names of other facebook users, just in case they wouldn't want the free publicity here on the blog):

Smartpak  Announcing NEW SmartGut Paste! Now you can provide your horse comprehensive gastric support with the convenience of a paste. This formula will help keep your horse’s stomach tissues healthy during times of added stress, such as travel. SmartGut Paste is also the ideal complement to your horse’s daily gastric health supplement.

SmartGut® Paste

Comprehensive gastric support is now available in a paste! Research shows that nearly 60% of performance horses have gastric ulcers. SmartGut Paste provides a targeted selection of ingredients that allow natural healing mechanisms in the stomach to take effect.
[Another facebook user]  Would this be good for a horse with ulcers?
SmartPak Hi [facebook user], thanks for your question. Yes, since SmartGut Paste was specifically designed to support healthy stomach tissues, it is an excellent choice for horses prone to gastric ulcers. It is ideal to administer in addition to a daily gastric health supplement, such as SmartGut Powder/Pellets, U-Gard or U-7 Gastric Aid, during times of added stress (trailering, clinic, etc.), when your horse needs a bit of extra support.

Marissa Any chance Smartpak will make a version of this that comports with the USEF rules?

SmartPak Hi Marissa, thanks for your question! We are happy to clarify that none of our SmartGut formulas (powder, pellets and paste) contain any ingredients specifically listed as Forbidden Substances in the USEF Drugs & Medications Guidelines.

To learn more about these USEF rules, please visit this link: http://www.smartpakequine.com/health_and_nutrition/infoforcompetitors.aspx

For a complete list of the ingredients in SmartGut Paste, please visit this link: http://www.smartpakequine.com/ProductClass.aspx?productclassid=8685#fulldetail

Please let us know if you have any additional questions!
[Another facebook user]:  Even the regular SmartGut not the SmartGut ultra? Many forums have made it pretty well known that the SmartGut tests (due to licorice?).
SmartPak Hi [facebook user], thanks for your questions. SmartGut only comes in one daily formula (available in both powder and pellets). We do have another formula called SmartDigest Ultra, which is probably what you’re referring to. Both SmartGut and SmartDigest Ultra contain licorice. We are aware that there is some confusion out there about licorice, but we can confirm that this ingredient is not specifically listed as a Forbidden Substance with USEF. We hope this helps clear things up!

Marissa Hi there, thanks so much for clarifying. Just figured I would pass along the information I have, in case it is useful to someone. Unfortunately, although the USEF list doesn't specifically list licorice, I emailed them and asked about it ...and they confirmed that it is in fact a "forbidden" substance. For some reason, the list that the USEF publishes is not inclusive of every forbidden substance. It's unfortunate, because I had great results using SmartGut, and had to switch to another supplement for competition season.

SmartPak Hi Marissa, we can explain the confusion. USEF’s published list of examples of Forbidden Substances includes a substance called eugenol, which can occur naturally in some plants like clove. Although eugenol does not occur naturally in the licorice plant the way it does with clove, USEF has some concern about licorice being “mixed” with clove (which sometimes happens for flavoring), or the licorice plant having been grown in the same field as clove, and therefore having some cross contamination between the two plants. However, we recently sent SmartGut out for independent laboratory testing, and those test results showed that it is eugenol-free. In addition, the company that supplies the licorice for our SmartSupplement formulas now certifies that the licorice we’re using is eugenol-free. So, since licorice itself is not specifically listed as a Forbidden Substance, and the licorice used in our SmartSupplement formulas like SmartGut is eugenol-free, there should be no problem with feeding them during rated competition.
Marissa Excellent, thank you so much for that explanation. I have a feeling I will be making some adjustments to my horse's Smartpak soon!  
SmartPak  You're very welcome Marissa!
Marissa Do you mind if I re-post this explanation on my blog? I'd like to clear up a previous discussion about the licorice crisis :)
SmartPak Marissa, please feel free to copy and paste our explanations onto your blog, as we would love to clear up the confusion as well. We’d also love to check out your blog, if you feel like sharing the link! And thanks for being a great customer!

Are these guys great or what?  No question, Smartpak is hands down the official supplier for Tucker the Wunderkind.  The quality of their products are great, from what I've sampled, and less expensive than other brands, and their customer service is absolutely unparalleled. 

Given the above, I've made some changes to Tucker's smartpak, so he'll now be getting SmartGut, SmartHoof, Smart Flex Support II, and Cool Calories.  (Instead of his usual SmartCombo, U-Gard, and Cool Calories).  Smartpak, of course, is sending me a sample, just so I can be sure that he'll eat all his new stuff before I order a whole month's worth.  Assuming he finds the mixture palatable, I'm going to feel much better about him going back on the SmartGut, since that seemed to be the best help for making sure that he was eating well, keeping weight on, and staying comfortable. 

Next on my list... I have been eyeing the Smartpak blankets... Tucker's blankets are about 4-5 years old now, and starting to show their wear.  As you know, he is rather tough on his clothing.  For the first time this year, his Weatherbeetas have started rubbing his shoulders, which either means that they've lost their shape, or he's changed (possibly a combination).  I do like the placement of the shoulder gusset on those Smartpak blankets... and we know how good he looks in navy... hmmmm.  You guys may be getting another product review sometime soon!


  1. That is great news! I started Lucy on SmartPaks this past November and have made a few changes here and there but overall I am very happy with the convenience of them! Plus, you can't beat SmartPak's customer service reps, they are just awesome.

  2. We use SmartPaks for all of our horses too. It's really a convenience for us at feeding time.


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