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The "Dr. Kellon Take" on Equipride

A Detailed Research Commentary.

Updated: 04.02.24 to correct typo in price point of local product sales. Updated 04.25.24 to shorten content into more comprehensive article.


Background

Upon learning that my options were a bit limited locally when it came to purchasing equine supplements, tiring of online ordering, and wanting to diversify equine supplementation in a way that would compliment our native forages, I set out on a journey to bring more equine products to the northwest Arkansas territory. That journey began nearly a year ago with the help of some wonderful industry experts, suppliers, and a local feed store.


More options for our horses in Arkansas means that we, as horse owners are empowered to deliver targeted nutritional needs without losing value. This also allows us to support small businesses and the local economy.


My products of choice after confirming efficacy for our region (complimenting our NWA forages), are the lineup of products known as: Equipride (topdress supplement), Equilix (tubs), and Equipride Gold Paste (colic prevention and digestive support). One of the many reasons I chose to focus on these products was that I was VERY familiar with them, after having used them on a multitude of horses over the past (almost) ten years. I have personally witnessed these products used for personal horses, client horses, race horses, performance horses in multiple disciplines, rescue horses and horses I’d meet along life’s journey. These products were recommended to me by a holistic veterinarian who holds a stellar reputation in the Western region of the United States, and were also recommended at the prestigious Rocky Mountain Horse Expo. At the time, I knew not that one day Equipride would become one of the top selling equine supplements in the Western U.S.


In early 2024, there was some written commentary and circulating rumor disparaging Equipride. Not only was the product misrepresented as a whole, it was indicated that the product is not “safe”, especially for laminitic or metabolic horses. It was also strongly implied that the nutritional details provided in the claims were supported by renowned Dr. Eleanor Kellon, V.M.D. and equine nutrition expert. This educational article is simply intended to share facts about the product, as well as Dr. Kellon and other veterinary opinions of the product, in an effort to ensure horse owners have the facts necessary to make a well-informed decision about using or not using this line-up of products.  


Please know that I have never received commissions in any form nor any compensation for my efforts in promoting or sharing any product that I use including Silver Lining Herbs, BEMER, Equipride, proprioception pads, etc. My efforts have always been voluntary, for the purpose of bettering the horse community, helping my clients, and their horses. This is no different than my continued support of fellow practitioners, local veterinarians, chiropractors, and hoof care specialists. I regularly share recommendations as a means to promote quality care of our animals and to help promote equine industry as a whole. I promote Equipride because it has proven to be a highly beneficial broad spectrum daily supplement to nearly any horse’s diet that I have applied it to. I have seen this product benefit literally hundreds of horses and observed it closely in both simple and complex cases and in multiple areas around the country.


My belief in the product does not mean that I believe it is the ONLY good supplement for horses nor does it mean I believe that it is an “end all be all” solution for every horse’s needs. It’s quite the opposite. I love how versatile Equipride is and how well it compliments other supplements when needed for the horse depending on that horse’s unique situation. For example, horses that require additional magnesium for various reasons have done quite well on Equipride paired with a quality Magnesium supplement. Other horses, that require additional Vitamin E in the diet have done quite well with Vitamin E supplemented separately and I’ll touch on that as Dr. Kellon describes her viewpoints in the commentary below.


I have done my best to cite sources as well as provided contact information for industry experts who have helped with this article. I hope you will not take my word for any of the following information, but instead dive into the research, contact the named references, and review cited sources of your own initiative. The same goes for my practice in general. Please never just believe me because I say so. Do your homework! I could be mistaken about something. (I know, I know. Shocking!) 😉


CLAIMS & RESEARCH


CLAIM: The first ingredient listed is corn distillers dried grains with solubles. Corn is a carbohydrate and when digested becomes sugar. Because corn is the first ingredient listed it immediately makes this feed unsafe.


FACT: “Corn distillers’ dried grains as a rule are extremely safe for metabolic horses. It is corn that has had virtually all the starch/carbohydrate fermented out of it.” – Dr. Eleanor M. Kellon

Corn distillers’ has starch/sugar removed by yeast. What remains are fat, fiber, protein, amino acids and resistant starch (which acts like fiber). –  Nutritionists cited herein

See also: https://www.feedipedia.org/node/71: Datasheet Citation – Heuze V, Tran G, Sauvant D, Renaudea D, Basianelli, D. Lessire M, Lebas F, 2015. Corn distillers grain. Feedipedia, a programme by INRAE, CIRAD, AFZ and FAO.


CLAIM: The (Equipride) guaranteed analysis only states crude protein of 15%. The protein in horse feed may not be in a form that is absorbable for horses….quality protein in the right percentages is expensive and will add cost to a supplement.


FACT: “Equipride is not intended to be a protein supplement so the criticism is unwarranted.”– Dr. Kellon, VMD


FACT: Equipride is not primarily marketed as a protein supplement. At 10 oz a day, not much protein is available to the animal. But because it promotes bifidobacteria and lactobacillus in the gut it allows the animal to absorb more protein from the forages. – Sources Cited

Reference: SweetPro President – Brad Thornberg – confirming purpose and intention of product.

See also: Journal of Animal Science, Volume 86, Issue 10, October 2008, Pages 2596–2608, https://doi.org/10.2527/jas.2007-0608

See also: Grassland and Forage Division, National Institute of Animal Science, RDA, Seonghwan-Eup, Cheonan-Si, Chungnam, 330-801, Republic of Korea

See also: Lebeer S, Vanderleyden J, De Keersmaecker SC (2008) Genes and molecules of lactobacilli supporting probiotic action. Microbiol Mol Biol Rev 72:728–764


CLAIM: Horses need amino acids in their diet in the right percentages to build proteins. It is also important that those limited amino acids are in a supplement in a natural form. Those amino acids are not included in the product’s guaranteed analysis.


FACT: With the yeast culture ProBiotein, Equipride has a balanced array of amino acids though they are not all listed on the label. There are five protein sources that yeast is grown on to give it this broad spectrum. ProBiotein is a multi-prebiotic and postbiotic and protein source made from small grains. The grains are fermented to remove the starches, concentrate proteins, provide nutritional yeast, and prebiotic plant fibers. The five prebiotic fibers are AXOS, MOS, XOS, FOS, and Beta-glucan. The broad amino acid profile paired with Omega3 from flax affords equines to ingest more protein from regular forage (like pasture grass, hay, alfalfa). – Sources Cited


See also: SweetPro Nutrition Team – Walhalla, ND and Brad Thornberg, President offering detailed breakdown of their ProBiotein inclusion.

See also: Raub, R. H. "Pre-and Probiotics in Equine Nutrition." (2012).

See also: Van Saun, Robert J., and DACVN DACT. "Equine Microbial Supplements: Yeast, Prebiotics and Probiotics ACVIM 2008."

See also: Note this article is written in Polish and so it must be translated. Journal article: Życie Weterynaryjne, 2017, Vol. 92, No. 10, 745-746 ref. 21Authors: A. MirowskiA. DidkowskaAffiliation: Katedry Higieny Żywności i Ochrony Zdrowia Publicznego Wydziału Medycyny Weterynaryjnej w Warszawie, Warsaw, Poland Author Email: adam_mirowski@o2.pl

See also: Hooper LV, Midtvedt T, Gordon JI (2002) How host-microbial interactions shape the nutrient environment of the mammalian intestine. Annu Rev Nutr 22:283–307


CLAIM: Because the measurements of the minerals in Equipride are listed in ppm and not mgs/kg it’s hard to know how much copper/zinc is in each serving (referring to Equipride label).


FACT: Since ppm = mg/kg this complaint is incorrect. – Dr. Kellon


FACT: PPM (parts per million) is the same measurement as mg/kg so “8 PPM” is the same as “8 mg/kg”. PPM is more commonly used on feed labels. – Sources Cited

Reference: Equine Nutritionists – SweetPro – North Dakota


CLAIM: Equipride is not safe for metabolic horses (conditions such as laminitis, Cushings Disease, etc).


FACT: “The high levels of Omega3 from Flax reduce inflammation in the body and promote blood flow to the laminae. You see this in the accelerated hoof growth when a horse is on Equipride. It literally helps to fight laminitis.” – Dr. Abe Scheaffer, PhD (additional sources cited)

See also: Dr. Kellon’s Equine Cushing's and Insulin Resistance Group Inc. www.ecirhorse.org

Schauermann, Nicolette Lee. Effect of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid supplementation on circulating concentrations and mRNA expression of inflammatory cytokines in horses. Diss. Colorado State University, 2010.

Hamilton-Fletcher, Rebecca. Veterinary advice on laminitis in horses. Interpet, 2004.

Hess, Tanja M., et al. "Effects of Ω-3 (n-3) fatty acid supplementation on insulin sensitivity in horses." Journal of Equine Veterinary Science 33.6 (2013): 446-453.

P.C. Calder | Dietary modification of inflammation with lipids

Proc. Nutr. Soc.(2002)

King, Christine, and Richard A. Mansmann. "Preventing laminitis in horses: Dietary strategies for horse owners." Clinical Techniques in Equine Practice 3.1 (2004): 96-102.


CLAIM: Aspergillus Niger (an ingredient in Equipride) is a form of black mold.


FACT: Aspergillus Niger Fermentation Liquid is NOT black mold. It is an enzyme source. It primarily helps citric acid develop, which affords weight gain.– Sources Cited

Currie, James N. "The citric acid fermentation of Aspergillus niger." J Biol Chem 31.1 (1917): 15-37.

Kong, Fanlin, et al. "Aspergillus oryzae and Aspergillus niger co-cultivation extract affects in vitro degradation, fermentation characteristics, and bacterial composition in a diet-specific manner." Animals 11.5 (2021): 1248.


CLAIM: Equipride is a “feed”.


FACT: Equipride is not a feed, nor a forage replacement and should not be treated as a feed replacement, nor should it be compared to a feed. It is a broad spectrum high quality supplement that is intended to compliment forage and fundamentally supports a holistic horse diet. Equipride is an ORGANIC, non-starch, non-soy, non-molasses “all-around” whole horse vitamin and mineral supplement with Probiotein, Pro and Prebiotics, as well as Omega3 fatty acids. These components help support equine digestion which contributes to better feed utilization and improved nutrient uptake. Designed to minimize the need for a wide variety of supplements, EquiPride also supports immune system response through stimulating the horse’s digestive tract microbiome.


The product is purposed to help horses with feed efficiency, to promote gut health, reduce chances of colic or tying up, boost immunity, improve digestion, improve weight gain in hard keepers, improve lubricity of joints, promote strength and endurance, promote shiny hair and coat, build stronger hooves, and promote improved temperament.  – Reference - Dr. Abe Schaeffer, PhD, Reference- Agape Feeds, Reference – Dr. Diane Wagner, VMD


CLAIM: Garlic (is in the product) and may be dangerous.


FACT: Equipride’s top selling formula includes garlic as it is used for fly control. The supplement is available garlic-free.


FACT: Equipride containing garlic is not dangerous because of the low dosage. Garlic in feed supplements is taking a page from the human health trends of finding natural compounds for medicinal purposes. In the equine world, garlic is used for fly control primarily. EquiLix is commonly consumed at ¾ to 1 lb per day and will result in intake of 2 grams of garlic. Equipride’s daily recommendation of 10 oz for a thousand pound horse delivers 2.5 g of garlic. Horses in trials where anemia and Heinz bodies in red blood cells became a concern were fed 100 g of garlic per day over a 41 day period. – Dr. Abe Schaeffer, PhD, Additional Sources Cited


FACT: As more research is conducted on the effects of garlic on the equine body, we continue to learn that when fed in HIGHER percentages it can lead to anemia and changes in blood cells. However, this is not consistently proven in all horses trialed and with all garlic applications at this time so further research is required. There is not enough extensive research as to negative or positive effects of garlic which makes this highly subjective at this point in time.

Williams, Carey A., and Emily D. Lamprecht. "Herbs and Other Functional Foods in Equine Nutrition." Herbs for Horses (2006).

Bergero D, Valle E. A critical analysis on the use of herbs and herbal extract in feeding sport horses. Pferdeheilkunde. 2006 Sep 1;22(5):550.

Saastamoinen, Markku, Susanna Särkijärvi, and Seppo Hyyppä. "Garlic (Allium sativum) supplementation improves respiratory health but has increased risk of lower hematologic values in horses." Animals 9.1 (2019): 13.

Dirks, G. E., and Hieke Brown. "An investigation into the use of garlic supplements in horses in the United Kingdom." 8th Alltech-Hartpury student conference: 2nd May 2018. 2018.


CLAIM: Diatomaceous earth (DE) is in Equipride and is dangerous.


FACT: Equipride offers a formula available with DE but also comes in a DE-free formula.


FACT: The presence of DE in Equipride has not been proven to be harmful to horses and is administered in low quantities solely for the purposes of removing exoskeletons of internal parasites from the horse’s body. Studies suggest that it is possible that too much DE may be dangerous for horses but these suggested amounts far exceed that which is included in the Equipride DE formula. More research is needed in order to confirm or deny these claims. However, some research indicates the opposite—that DE may be highly beneficial as it addresses the internal parasites within the body.– Sources cited

Bromiley, Mary. Natural methods for equine health and performance. John Wiley & Sons, 2009.

Bergero D, Valle E. A critical analysis on the use of herbs and herbal extract in feeding sport horses. Pferdeheilkunde. 2006 Sep 1;22(5):550.

EFSA Panel on Additives and Products or Substances used in Animal Feed (FEEDAP), et al. "Safety and efficacy of the feed additive Anpro consisting of a mixture of Sepiolite and Kieselguhr (diatomaceous earth) for all terrestrial animal species (Anpario plc)." EFSA Journal 21.12 (2023): e8453.


CLAIM: Wading through nutritional supplements in the equine industry is incredibly difficult because it is an unregulated industry. Very few feeds marketed as quality feeds that are safe for horses are indeed that.


FACT:  Make no mistake the feed industry must answer to a myriad of regulatory compliance requirements. – Sources cited


FACT: There is no substantial scientific backing to the claim indicating that “most feeds on the market” are not safe for horses. (Expert references cited at end).


CLAIM: Equipride is cheap and therefore it is not effective.


INFORMATION: The affordability or price point of an equine supplement is truly a subjective concept. Not everyone views “cheap” in the same dollar range. Furthermore, the reason that the price point quoted is not because the supplement is of poor quality. It is a testament to the equine industry’s massive profit margin as most products are heavily marked up for retail. It is also a fact that the company which manufactures Equipride, produces multiple other top tier products leading to fostered relationships and have supply-chain connections which afford greater savings up front. If you research Equipride specifically, you will find that the product is generally sold for $75 USD for 25 lbs. However, because our Northwest Arkansas dealer is both generous and kind, he wanted to pass the savings onto the community here by NOT marking up the 50 lb product and offering it at a deeply discounted rate of $83 for 50 lbs (a 3 month supply for most horses).– Sources – Joe Fancher – NWA exclusive dealer, Regional Distributor, Horton Kansas Plant – SweetPro, Dealers List – Sweetpro.com


Final Comments:

Per Dr. Eleanor Kellon, V.M.D. regarding Equipride:

I have always been a fan of Equipride. It is intelligently formulated and complements many forages in your area. I personally don’t recommend getting vitamin E requirements from a mixed ingredient supplement. It’s too unstable. I don’t recall ever saying it was unsafe.”


Per Dr. Diane Wager, V.M.D., Chiropractor and Nutritionist, Elemental Equine: Equipride is an excellent, organic option for horses of all classes, especially those with metabolic conditions such as Cushing’s horses or horses with hoof problems in general.”

Dr. Wagner’s loyal clients will remember her remarkable contribution to the equestrian community in Colorado and her wealth of knowledge in the areas of equine nutrition and holistic health, and her avid education regarding Equipride as a choice supplement for her patients.


See also her detailed YouTube video embedded and linked below addressing many of the points covered in this paper, at https://youtu.be/vLUqcOdK5u4?si=u8tsFqtwQMWyeAmj.

Dr. Wagner rates Equipride / Equilix next to other top tier products like Platinum Performance, Equine Matrix, and Silver Lining Herbs (see also https://www.elementalequineservices.com/referrals.html)


Per Dr. Mark DePaulo, DVM:

“Horse Hair Analysis is the most useful problem solving approach in my practice. This program allows me to resolve health issues when conventional diagnostics fail to find an answer.” – Mark DePaolo, DVM

(Dr. DePaulo’s commentary here is applied as many equine professionals have come to learn that hair analysis is a wonderful option in that it affords insight allowing us to customize the horse’s diet based on any specific needs or deficiencies. This is applied in the context of addressing the earlier claim that Equipride may not be a suitable feed based on daily percentage values; but as Dr. Kellon suggests as well, the Equipride is a great option to supplement WHEN NECESSARY with other products just as this statement applies to ALL horse supplements on the market. No two horses are the same.)


Contact Details for multiple references named herein:

drkellon@gmail.com– Dr. Eleanor M. Kellon, VMD

612-209-0497 – Brad Thornberg, President | SweetPro a division of Harvest Fuel Inc.

Abe.scheaffer@sweetpro.com – Dr. Abe Scheaffer – Research Scientist and Nutritionist

940-268-6460 – All Star Equine, Dr. Mark DePaulo

870-654-3163 – Joe Fancher, NWA Equipride/Equilix/Gold Paste/SweetPro dealer

hilltopequineconcepts@gmail.com – Heather Underwood, Certified Equine Muscle Therapist & Author of this publication

 




Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the contributors as quoted only, and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of any entities or product companies they represent.


© 2023-2024 Hilltop Equine Concepts LLC. All rights reserved.

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