Dr. Dianne Smith, MD
My 2012 Holsteiner/Hanoverian stud colt owes his health and possibly his life to the work of Amanda Kroeker at ARK Nutrition. His dam tends to drop her foals early, and “Everest” was just barely mature enough to survive. He spent the first 10 days of his life at the vet clinic, in part because the mare had also leaked her colostrum and he required a plasma transfusion to replace what his immune system lacked. Once he was home, we had to supplement with foal milk pellets because the mare only has one teat and couldn’t supply all the milk that he needed. He didn’t like the taste, so we added other types of pellets to help him tolerate it, but unfortunately, these gave him diarrhea which lasted for weeks. It wasn’t until Amanda got involved and designed a feed program suitable for his stage of development that we were able to get his diarrhea under control. After that, Everest began growing and developing beautifully on Amanda’s program, which compensated easily for the fact his mare couldn’t produce enough milk. There was one additional setback at 2 months when we learned his immune system wasn’t quite up to par yet. The other horses in the barn, including my filly a month younger, developed no worse than a cold when a virus went through the barn, but for Everest, it turned into pneumonia. He went back to the vet clinic for treatment, and after recovering from that illness he’s never looked back. At 20 months of age, Everest is now a strapping young stallion. He’s already 15h3″, and thanks to Amanda’s nutritional program, his baby playfulness has been all it takes for him to develop more muscle than I’ve seen on 3 and 4-year-old show horses. With Amanda’s ongoing nutritional guidance, I look forward to watching Everest meet his potential as a high-level show jumper. Although none of my other horses have faced the same types of obstacles as my stud colt, I have Amanda work with all of them on a regular basis as well. The colt’s dam, “Trinity,” has rebounded quickly after each foal, and was in the ribbons at Spruce Meadows again at the age of 19 after foaling 2 years in a row.
Both of my hunter/jumper geldings are fitter than they ever were before Amanda started designing their feed programs, and they maintained their muscle and fitness beautifully when I gave them a winter break this year. My Quarter Horse, who was a career brood mare until starting under saddle at age 9, also enjoys being on Amanda’s program. Cinnamon’s glossy coat and easy muscle development are quite different than what I’m used to seeing in career brood mares. Cinnamon always nurses her foals very well, usually at the expense of her own condition; but thanks to Amanda’s program, her 2012 Warmblood/Quarter Horse filly grew beautifully without Cinnamon’s body paying the price. Since weaning, her filly “Eireann” has continued to grow into a beautiful young lady and had already outgrown her dam by 18 months of age. Thanks to her steady, healthy growth, Eireann never went through the usual gangly ugly yearling stage, but instead looked like a small horse every step of the way. Before we met Amanda, I thought I was doing a good job of selecting feed for each of my horses, but after seeing the difference in their fitness and health with Amanda designing their feed programs, I can’t imagine going back to my guesswork approach. The horses and I are all grateful to have her on our team!