What do Highpoint’s Barrel and Show Horses Have in Common?

Look good, feel good, do good, right?
Highpoint Performance horses in various disciplines
Highpoint Performance Horses excel in multiple disciplines across the Western industry. Images courtesy Highpoint.

The crew at Highpoint Performance Horses know how to keep their stallions, barrel racing, performance and halter horses looking and feeling their best all year long, something important in all disciplines the Highpoint horses compete in.

Barrel horses aren’t always known for having good expressions on their faces. But Charlie Cole and Jason Martin, whose Highpoint Performance Horses stands the most breathtaking array of barrel racing stallions in the country, need to see good expressions on everything.

Of course, they make sure the studs – including actual NFR horses like Slick By Design (with Michele McLeod) and Christian Shipley’s Smoken French Winner (with Wenda Johnson) – are fed right. But Cole also made a great point recently while discussing the supplement needs of performance horses. Highpoint has to be even more careful than the average barrel racer about gut health, simply because at shows, appearance is part of every score.

Wenda Johnson and Smoken French Winner
Wenda Johnson and Smoken French Winner, who stands at HighPoint. Mickey Owens Photography.

“We have a halter horse that is also one of the top Western Riding and All-Around horses in the country and is getting about 9 years old now,” Cole said. “With what we do at shows, we’re striving to keep every ounce of weight on a horse that we can while making sure its performance will be optimal.”

There’s no doubt that a full, strong horse is an asset to a rodeo barrel racer. But for halter horses, it’s absolutely everything.

“For us at a show, what we do is down to every little flick of the ear or the tail,” Cole pointed out. “It’s super important that a horse is focused and comfortable in the stomach; not irritable nor swishing its tail. I want the horse as comfortable as it can be. Barrel horses are different. They can make a little mistake and might lose a little time. But every single move our horse makes affects a judge’s opinion. So, we need to have everything possible in place. For me, it’s all about good expression. If a horse isn’t feeling good, it won’t have a good expression. I want my horses to look happy and like they enjoy their job.”

If barrel racers want that same comfortable, happy expression, they could take a page from Cole’s book.

“I think it’s vital that our gelding’s gut health is on track, so that we can keep weight on him through the hot summer and those six to eight classes at a time that he competes in at the top level,” he said. 

And, while Cole also believes good alfalfa helps gut health, his best bet for great equine health – and a good expression – seems to be staying hooked with the supplements.  

“I think being consistent in your feeding program is huge,” he said. “Making sure a horse gets his supplements every day. Whether a horse is on the road or at home – we keep it the very same. The more consistent we can be, the better our good horse does as far as weight and condition.”

HighPoint recommendation: SmartPerform® Advanced Gastric & Joint™ Liquid

Problems with stomach health and soundness can affect horses across all ages and activity levels. SmartPak developed this novel formula with a science-first approach, choosing ingredients shown in research to play a role in the body’s preservation, protection, and healing of gastric tissue and joint integrity. The resulting combination delivers powerful gastric, joint, and soft tissue support in a bioavailable liquid. 

You’ll love SmartPerform® Advanced Gastric & Joint™ Liquid because it provides: 

  • MHB3® Hyaluronan, a patented, high molecular weight HA shown in clinical studies to have gastroprotective properties and enhance gastric tissue healing in horses. Involved in the production of articular cartilage and synovial fluid, hyaluronic acid also has documented effects on joint capsule lubrication and comfort.
  • Jiaogulan, an herb renowned for its ability to promote a normal inflammatory response as well as nitric oxide production, integral to the delivery of nutrients and oxygen to tendons for healthy, resilient soft tissue. 
  • Hydrolyzed collagen, demonstrated in a 56-day clinical trial to help maintain stomach health in horses undergoing the stress of stall confinement and intermittent feeding. Research also supports collagen’s role in maintaining joint capsule and connective tissue health4
  • Beta glucan, a prebiotic soluble fiber with bioactive components that help defend gastric mucosa against irritants to support a normal inflammatory response 
  • Aloe vera, demonstrated to have mucosal-soothing and antioxidant effects that support a healthy response to inflammation and protect against cellular stress 

Learn more about SmartPak products that can help your horse look and feel their best here.