Some people will try anything once. Others take a little more convincing, and yet other people like to hear peer reviews from fellow equestrian lovers before they’ll try a product on their four-legged companions. That was the case for Hillary Irwin of Ocala, Fla., who after recommendations from her eventing coach and two friends in the hunter discipline decided to try Vitalize® equine supplements.
“I got involved with the Vitalize products from my peers. I’m funny about what I will try, but always willing to try to new things. These are my friends, and I trust their input,” said Irwin, an eventing coach, trainer and competitor.
Nearly a year later, Irwin has seven horses on the Vitalize Equine Digest More® Plus supplement every day. She said her horses are happier in general due to being healthier overall.
“They put on weight and put on muscle. Their coats look better. It does what it is supposed to do, help them digest the grain and process the nutrients, and my horses are so much better for it,” Irwin said.
As with all animals, good health starts in the gut. With Vitalize equine products, the “good gut feeling” is a result of Amaferm®, a precision-based prebiotic designed to enhance digestibility by amplifying the nutrient supply for maximum performance. It is research-proven to significantly increase intake, digestion and absorption improving gut health.
Although all of her horses have experienced positive changes since starting on the Vitalize, she said one horse that needed a more correct amount of muscle has benefitted immensely. Another horse, her mare, has seen the biggest advantages, however. She describes this particular mare as very muscular, but the Vitalize was a definite attitude changer for her. And that became apparent to Irwin when she ran out of the supplement for a short period of time.
“She turned into a monster not being on it, and she’s never allowed to come off of it again,” Irwin said with a laugh. “It’s amazing how much it’s helped her stomach. Behavioral wise, she lets her feelings be known when she’s not happy. Within a week and a half, there was a noticeable difference when she came off of it.”
Although, she might be wary to try new products on her horses, Irwin isn’t afraid to restart a horse. She said she’s been riding with her mom since before she could even crawl, and restarted her first off the track thoroughbred when she was 13 or 14-years-old.
She is participating in the Retired Racehorse project for the second time this year and is looking forward to competing with her little bay, Yogi, in October at the Kentucky Horse Park.
“I will probably do eventing and one other discipline. He’s a little bay horse with four white socks and white face, so his looks fit into the hunter world. We’ll have to see if his personality fits in as a hunter,” Irwin said about her two discipline choices for the Retired Racehorse project.
She was glad to be able to start riding Yogi when December came and will work with him regularly to prepare him for the October competition. His daily care will also include Vitalize products.
Irwin just sold her 2015 thoroughbred she restarted and trained as eventing horse this past summer. Nutella, fondly referred to as Mo, had raced in Graded Stakes both in the U.S. and France, placing third in the French Derby. He ended up second as a retired racehorse. When she sold him, he was at a one-star intermediate level.
“Several of my horses are young, just starting their careers or off the track thoroughbreds. Therefore, I need the best possible products to keep them at the peak of their ability; making sure they stay healthy, happy, and sound through the CCI**** level,” Irwin said.
Trying new products can be scary. New things don’t have to be scary, and combined with the advice of friends, often result in good outcomes that lead to healthier, happier horses. That’s what Hillary Irwin found, and she hopes others will get their horse companions the “good gut feeling” they deserve with Vitalize too.