Peek in Our Paks: Maia F. & Winona
- Staff member: Maia F.
- Department: SmartBarn Services Team
- Horse: Winona, 15-year-old Mustang
- Discipline: Ranch riding
My partner and I have been blessed with many horses over our combined horse-loving years, but Winona is one incredibly special mare. She was rounded up by the Bureau of Land Management as a 2- year-old from the Stinkingwater Herd Management Area in eastern Oregon and was kept in holding for a few years. She then bounced through a few hands before landing with us in the chilly April of 2017. Winona came with a limited training background and an extended amount of time off, but she has shaped up to be the absolute foundation of my partner’s lesson program and a valued member of our family.
I know it’s a bit cliché to say, but Mustangs really are unique horses in how they interact with people and training. Winona started out extremely standoff-ish when we first welcomed her to our home, but now she is incredibly expressive and interactive. She’s one of those golden lesson horses who is gentle and willing for younger kids but can also push back to help teach older learners how to correctly ask for gaits and maneuvers. Winona isn’t just a lesson horse, though; she’s traveled to multiple states to show in ranch riding events and even earned a nice amount of prize money for her wins along the way! We compete with her in every event under the ranch-class bracket, but Winona's favorites classes are the pattern events in ranch riding and ranch trail.
A lot of people will tell you that Mustangs are hardier than the average horse and therefore don’t need supplements, but in my experience that’s not quite correct. Winona may be hardy and has hooves the size of dinner plates, but she does require extra support in some areas to keep her happy and healthy. The support she gets from her SmartPaks helps keep her in tip-top shape to teach the next generation of equestrians, while we also strategize for her next blue ribbon.
Particularly for Winona, I love the SmartCombo Senior Ultra Pellets because the supplement covers all areas that we want her to have the most support in. Though her hooves are massive and mighty, I love that this supplement contains copper, zinc, and biotin for hoof support. Not to mention that biotin is great for her coat, too! The biotin combined with the omega-3 fatty acids that are also included in this supplement, and she is the shiniest blue roan I know.
Since Winona is a little older, her joint health is something that frequently comes up when I’m reviewing her care. The higher levels of MSM in the SmartCombo Senior Ultra are great for supporting a healthy inflammatory response. You also can’t go wrong with what were refer to as “Mother Nature’s Big Three” when it comes to joint support—glucosamine, chondroitin, and hyaluronic acid (HA)!
Finally, digestive support is the biggest part of this supplement for her. Winona does have a sensitive digestive system and can be prone to having loose stools. With the added digestive support included in this supplement, she has a much easier time with challenging weather transitions and high heat, both of which used to bother her severely. As a bonus, this supplement is eligible for SmartPak’s ColiCare Program! If Winona ever had to have colic surgery, having that $15,000 reimbursement gives me peace of mind and is a great addition to an already fantastic product!
Winona also receives Smart & Simple Spirulina Pellets to cover another specific problem area for her. When Winona first joined our family, we lived in Ohio. Since moving back to Massachusetts a few years ago, her seasonal skin allergies became more bothersome. She started rubbing her mane out on every tree she could find and harshly used her teeth to itch herself during the height of summer.
This year, I decided to give Smart & Simple Spirulina a try based on the great support it provides for the inflammatory response. I’m happy to report that Winona’s itching was much more manageable this summer. She still loves to rub on trees, but at a much more controlled and normal amount than before. Seeing her comfortable through this past summer was such a relief!
With Winona being such an integral part of our lesson program and our lives, giving her the best support possible is always on my mind. Just because she’s a Mustang doesn’t mean she’s supplement free! Meeting her support levels with her daily SmartPaks helps Winona live her most comfortable ranch-horse extraordinaire and lesson-horse superstar life!