You are certainly acquainted with the company Omega Alpha, as you probably see their banner flying high at events every weekend. Top level riders like Hannah Sue Burnett, Jessica Phoenix, Lauren Kieffer and many more are devoted to their product line, and for good reason. I was lucky enough to get my hands on seven of their products and give them a trial with my own horses.
Before we get into each individual product, it’s worth learning about the ideas behind the company, and what sets Omega Alpha apart from other supplement providers. It was created more than 20 years ago by Dr. Gordon Chang, who is a biomedical engineer, a physiologist and a pharmacologist. With his guidance, Omega Alpha has become a unique company that offers products to improve horse’s health through a strong foundation in science combined with botanical ingredients.
Most of the Omega Alpha supplements are purely herbal, and the company has strict quality control standards and practices when it comes to their herbs. All of the herbs supplied to Omega Alpha are in a whole and uncut form so that the verification of medicinal herbs can be performed. This process ensures that there are no adulterations or substitutions for the ingredients.
When it comes to our competition horses, we all know that we have supplements that we swear by and can’t live without. No matter the level at which you compete, eventing horses have a tough job both physically and mentally, and it’s important that we support them through nutrition and supplements to ensure that they can give us all that they have.
The policy of Omega Alpha is to begin with making the gut and digestive tract of the horse healthy and then proceed from that point. This makes a lot of sense to me, as you really can’t have much success without a horse that is internally healthy, processing all his food correctly and feeling settled in his gut. I was able to try three of these products: Biotic 8, Gastra-FX and Gastra-FX Ultra.
While my two big guys are thankfully without stomach problems, I do have several rescues and OTTBs in work who have various problems with their gut flora, due mostly to their unsympathetic pasts. Biotic 8 is one of the most all-inclusive supplements for a healthy, fully functioning stomach that you can find. It is the best-selling product that Omega Alpha offers, and for good reason!
Biotic 8 is an eight-strain probiotic with a carrier system that helps healthy bacteria survive in the stomach acid. It also offers three digestive enzymes to assist in better digestion and absorption of all the food that your horse eats. On Biotic 8, horses tend to just blossom, and you can see it in their coats as well as their attitudes, as they go from cranky to happy and willing.
Gastra-FX and Gastra-FX Ultra are more aimed at the type of horse that tends to get ulcers or stress related stomach acidity. They are used as a maintenance supplement towards overall gastric health, but also for a little extra oomph at shows. The Ultra is in a tube for your convenience at competitions. The best part of these three stomach supplements is that they are extremely palatable. This is important because horses that already have stomach issues are regularly picky eaters, and it can be difficult to get them to consume extra supplements in their feed.
Eventing is really demanding on the muscles, ligaments and joints of our horses, which is why we are all gurus in supplements that help support those systems. I got to try Sinew-X, which is unique in that it has a dedicated D-form of glucosamine sulfate, as well as three anti-inflammatory herbs to help with recovery and comfort for horses during times of physical stress.
Glucosamine sulfate is a chemical compound found in the fluid around joints and has been proven to work as well as some pain medications in reducing joint pain and inflammation. When we ask our horses to do intense dressage work, gallop and jump on varied terrain, and then collect and jump show jumps, we invariably need something to help them keep their joints and soft tissue healthy throughout their careers.
Another common supplement that we eventers are fond of are tubes of calm! It’s notably difficult to get a fit cross country horse to decide to concentrate on the tiny white arena, and as many of our eventing horses are full Thoroughbred, we are all familiar with the horse that gets a little too much show anxiety.
Chill Ultra is Omega Alpha’s solution to that, along with their daily supplement, Chill. These two products can be used together, or you can just take the tube to shows, as it’s much easier to pack and transport. They contain herbs that are well known for reducing stress, anxiety and even depression. I used a Chill Ultra tube on a young horse for her first public outing, knowing that she tended to get hot, and while she did show signs of unrest, I was pleased to see that she never lost her mental capacities fully.
One supplement that I think is particularly interesting to eventers is the Equisel-BCAA. This comes in tube form and is intended to be used after strenuous exercise like cross country to replenish minerals and electrolytes lost in sweat. It also contains branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) which are critical in reducing protein and muscle breakdown during exercise. The best way to use this tube is 10 minutes to one hour after exercise while the horse’s body is in the cooling phase.
And, finally, I also tried the Omega Alpha brand of liniment, Tetda. We all use liniment at some point or another, either for your horse’s legs after a hard workout or for a full body massage and bath to get them feeling extra good the next day. Many eventers have gone away from the old habit of using poultice after cross country and are now relying fully on liniment to keep their horses fresh for the final day of competition. Tetda has a complete collection of various herbs designed specifically to help with muscle recovery and relief from stiffness, and is also great to use for packing hooves to help with sore feet.
We are all invested in offering our horses the best of the best, and Omega Alpha is unique in their scientific yet botanical approach to supplements towards equine health. They also offer monthly seminars towards continued education on topics related to the well-being of your best friend and sporting partner. Click here to learn more about Omega Alpha’s full line of supplements.