Taking the Reins on Your Horse’s Health: Insights From Two Top Equine Experts
As the equine industry grows, so do the options for horse owners seeking to give their animals top-quality care. With an influx of products on the market, it’s increasingly difficult for consumers to discern which are safe and effective.
The teams behind Pyranha, Inc. and Adeptus Nutrition know the value of healthy horses firsthand. Whether it’s a million-dollar Arabian racehorse or a mild-mannered equine companion, horses are special animals that require continuous care. As such, Pyranha and Adeptus develop their products with the horse’s best interests in mind.
The companies tackle two distinct but related aspects of horse health. With its line of fly sprays and animal grooming products, Pyranha focuses on alleviating environmental hazards posed by flies, mosquitos and other insects. Adeptus addresses the horse’s physical health with its line of nutritional supplements.
Pest Protection is Crucial for a Healthy Horse
Flies and mosquitos are more than just pests. They can carry infectious diseases that threaten horses’ lives including mosquito-borne West Nile Virus and fly-transmitted equine infectious anemia (EIA).
Tom DiCillo, Pyranha’s National Sales Manager, works with top equestrians to educate themabout insect control and explain how fly spray systems benefit their horses. He also oversees the company’s nationwide team of sales reps, which offer hands-on service and training.
“With every product that Pyranha comes out with, the goal is to make it the best in whatever category it is. It has to be the best at what we’re trying to do for the animal, and at the same time, be a great value for the consumer,” he says, “If it’s not the best, we don’t do it.”
A family-owned company in operation for nearly 50 years, Pyranha is a pioneer in fly control, grooming products and barn misting systems. In 1972, Pyranha founders Carl and Lon Cunningham developed the SprayMaster, the first barn misting insect control system. Today, David and Greg Cunningham continue the family tradition, providing horse owners and carers across the country with these systems and products to protect their animals.
Pyranha’s on-staff chemist oversees the development of the company’s pyrethrin-based formulas. Derived from chrysanthemums, pyrethrin contains natural insect-repelling qualities.
These pyrethrin-based sprays work exceptionally well because the chrysanthemum’s natural elements vary with each annual crop. Flies can quickly become resistant to spray compositions, but as Mother Nature alters the crops, these differences make their way into Pyranha’s formulas. Therefore, they continue to be safe and effective year after year.
Pyranha fly sprays also contain emulsifiers that allow them to stay in solution, meaning they won’t separate. Insect control products that separate can be less effective, particularly if not adequately shaken before use. However, emulsification means Pyranha’s products are good from the first spray to the last. This is particularly important in SprayMaster systems because these emulsified formulas won’t block the lines.
Unlike competitors, Pyranha refrains from making broad statements about product efficacy due to outside factors that often influence protection duration. DiCillo contrasts this with spray companies that tout 14 days of protection, a claim typically derived from tests in highly controlled settings.
“Yeah, you’ll probably have 14 days,” he says of Pyranha products. “But in a typical situation, we don’t want a horse owner to believe that their horse is okay for a whole week. We want them checking their horses periodically, even if they’re using Pyranha, to make sure something hasn’t changed, l ike they’ve sweated, or it’s rained, or that sort of thing.”
Further, the Pyranha team believes people shouldn’t have to pay a premium for quality horse care. Even with raw material prices on the rise, the company strives to keep its products affordable. Pyranha owns its own bottling company, Houston-based Barracuda Bottling, which allows the company to cut out the middleman and maintain a competitive price point.
For general horse care, DiCillo recommends the products in Pyranha’s Ultimate Protection Collection. The oil-based Wipe N’ Spray with lanolin, a coat conditioner, provides excellent protection for turning out the horse and activities such as trail riding. The water-based Equine Spray & Wipe uses a pyrethrin and permethrin formula for long-term repellency, so the product continues to work even though it appears dry. Zero-Bite is an all-natural product composed of geranium oil, peppermint oil, and clove for all horses, including those with sensitive skin. Both Equine Spray & Wipe and Zero-Bite work well with allergenic horses. Finally, the Pyranha Insecticide aerosol’s powerful formulation is used by showmen to keep their horses calm during competition and, at the same time, gives the animals a show-ready shine.
“There really isn’t an equine discipline that doesn’t use our fly sprays. Even the thoroughbred racing industry uses them. But barrel racing, cutting, roping, they all take care of their horses because they depend on their horses to perform,” DiCillo says. “And that’s the key: Our products do work.”
Leaders throughout the rodeo and equine communities trust the Pyranha brand, which is why it’s the fly spray of choice for organizations such as Highpoint Performance Horses and BuckWild Barrel Racing. It’s also the official fly spray of the newly-opened World Equestrian Center in Ocala, Fla., a 300-acre facility featuring 22 outdoor arenas.
“It’s all about family, God and country,” DiCillo says of the brand’s relationships in the equine community. “It’s all about working together, and it’s always got to be a win-win.”
Equine Supplements Promote Performance
As part of the Pyranha family, Adeptus Nutrition serves as an extension of Pyranha’s commitment to care. Founded 20 years ago by animal nutritionist and equestrian Dr. Colleen Wilson, Adeptus specializes in nutritional supplements for horses and other animals.
Christine Cunningham oversees the Adeptus brand. She notes that some supplements are particularly useful for rodeo horses and other equine athletes, which may be at a higher risk of injury due to the nature of travel and rigorous training.
“They’re under constant stress from travel, new surroundings, water, and, often, hay changes,” says Cunningham. “These horses usually benefit from products that help maintain their normal gut microflora since travel does interrupt these bacteria. A general vitamin and mineral supplement is also beneficial from the standpoint of supplying some of the nutrients that may be lacking due to the area of the country. For example, hays will vary in nutrients depending on the area of the country, how long they have been stored and so on.”
The intense summer heat is another reason horse owners should consider specialty supplements.
“Electrolytes are very important to the horses since they often perform in warm weather with increased sweating and electrolyte loss. Electrolyte supplements keep them drinking when the water changes,” Cunningham says.
When choosing supplements, she suggests first looking at the horse’s use. A strong barrel horse will have different needs than a typical farm horse, so it’s essential to consider the benefits to each. She also recommends targeting animal-specific issues such as age, mobility issues, weight maintenance and hoof problems.
“There isn’t a single supplement that will fit all these athletes. Supplements that aid in maintaining their digestive systems, products that aid in normal joint function, electrolytes, as well as general vitamin supplements are most often fed,” she says.
Digestive supplements are among the most popular Adeptus products. These include Allay, a digestive buffer and calmer used to alleviate stress, and Invigor, which also promotes horse digestive health. For electrolyte replacement, horse owners look to Persevere, while Augment is a vitamin and mineral balancer. Gleam & Gain helps promote the horse’s skin and coat health as well as weight gain, while Nimble Mega is for horses’ joints, tendons and ligaments.
Adeptus is currently undergoing an extensive quality control initiative led by Richard Godbee, Ph.D., a top equine health expert certified by the American College of Animal Science board.
These measures will continue to ensure the Adeptus name carries only the top-quality products in the industry.
It’s a testament to the passion driving the Pyranha and Adeptus brands, which DiCillo reiterates is key to the companies’ success.
“The number one thing is taking care of the animal. If your horse could read, he’d use Pyranha and Adeptus,” DiCillo says.
For more information on Pyranha and Adeptus products, visit their website at www.pyranhainc.com.
Pyranha, Inc.®, SprayMaster®, Wipe N’ Spray™, Equine Spray & Wipe™, Zero-Bite™, Pyranha
Insecticide™, Adeptus Nutrition, Inc.®, Allay®, Persevere®, Augment®, Gleam & Gain® and
Nimble Mega® are trademarks or registered trademarks of Pyranha, Inc.