Sep 27, 2007

Review - SmartPak

I'm totally going to shill for SmartPak here, but I just want to point out how awesome of a service SmartPak provides. I honestly wish I had thought it up myself. I can't imagine anyone doesn't know what the company is and what they do, but on the off-chance.... SmartPak is essentially a company that repackages giant tubs of supplements into individual wells, containing an animal's daily dosage. Think of it as the equine equivalent of those plastic vitamin/medicine divider trays that you sometimes see people using. I love this company. And yes, no one needs to tell me that I pay more to feed my horse supplements like this. They are charging for the service and the convenience. And you know what? My horse takes up way too much of my time anyway. This just makes one less thing I have to think about.

If you have a small barn with just a few horses I can get why you wouldn't want to go down this route. I mean, at that level I would just buy the tubs, save money and do it all myself. But if you're boarding your horse, I think it's a must. I won't say anything negative against people who are working at barns, but I will say that if you're working in the horse industry, you're harried and trying to do 100 things at once. To expect someone to get the feeds and supplements right for 20 horses and upwards...well it's possible, but is it necessary? Save them the hassle (and the frustration of dealing with angry owners) and just have it be totally mindless. They won't be stressed about dipping into 30 different wells of easy-to-spill powders, and the owners can be sure the horses are getting what they need when they need it. So what if it's a little extra money? Please. It's worth not having the mess, the headache, the realization that you've run out, but forgot to order more (yeah, did I mention that they send it out automatically on a monthly basis? it's a perfect system), etc...

If I had a complaint, it would only be this. I think that SmartPak has made giving your horse vitamins and minerals and other assorted supplements so easy that there is a danger you will start giving your horse plenty of totally unnecessary extras in his diet. And it's not a benign danger as I see it. I have almost fallen into this trap on numerous occasions. I'm all: "Ooh, I want my horse to be more coppery, let me add this." or "Maybe my horse should take glucosamine. I mean, it's right there and it can't hurt?" I mean, it's great for SmartPak that we load our animals up on tons of extras (ka-ching!), but is it really so good for your horse? I see a lot of those extras as just filler, but when I think seriously and honestly on whether I would put say, creatine (a muscle builder), into my body... Well, no, absolutely not. So, why should I give it to my horse?

Now that's really my problem, not SmartPak's. But I think that it's fueled by the extra convenience that they provide of just clicking online and adding 2 more wells to my horse's daily feed, and not giving it another thought. Just saying.

1 comment:

Jo Phipps said...

I completely agree with you on the SmartPaks--both the pros and cons. I work with a barn of 20+ Saddlebreds, and though only a few get SmartPaks, they only share two ingredients in common, so the system saves me tons of time in the morning (when I have horses banging down walls and pawing holes to hurry me along). I do also worry about customers over-supplementing their showhorses, especially as the horses get into their teens and may not perform as they did in their youth. Since none of the supplements in the paks we use require a vet's clearance, the possibility of a owner experimenting and saturating their horse's diet with unnecessary additives is considerable. Still, it is encouraging to see owners take more than a passive interest in their horses' diets, and make feeding time for barn hands like me significantly easier.