July 2016 - Perfect Products
Written by CRM
Friday, 01 July 2016 04:08
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Natural nutraceuticals provide a show safe way to manage your equine partner.

Training methods and medications for producing a calm competitive horse for the show ring have been a subject of industry news throughout the sport’s existence and are at the crux of especially heated debates these last few years.

Current opinions, from respected horsemen, range from endorsing modest amounts of tranquilizers to asserting that proper horsemanship is all that’s needed.

Smack dab in the middle of all this turmoil is Perfect Products, a 10 year old company that has made its mark by “providing an alternative,” explains founder Jeff Morgenstern. The company’s line now includes products that address several specific conditions related to equine health and performance. But its claim to fame continues to be its first offering: “show-safe” calming compounds.

The company’s Perfect Prep EQ calming system consists of “natural” nutraceuticals made of essential amino acids, minerals and vitamins. These formulas avoid any plant/herb-based elements (because they might test) and none of the ingredients—across the entire Perfect Products offering—are on “prohibited substance” lists maintained by the major governing bodies for equestrian sports. These include lists created by the United States Equestrian Federation and the International Equestrian Federation, along with the American Quarter Horse Association’s guidelines. The prohibited substance lists are part of rules meant to safeguard horse welfare and create a level playing field for competitors.

Perfect Prep EQ’s four formulas can be used individually or combined to meet every horse’s unique needs. However they are administered, they all work by slowing how the horse responds to its flight - fight instincts.

“What a horse sees or hears from a distance often intensifies and triggers his flight response in his brain,” Jeff explains. “Everything we provide with Perfect Prep is aimed at diminishing the development of adrenaline and softening the flow of electrons along the nervous system—which enables the horse to experience that stimuli at a more reasonable level.” Along with slowing down the neural impulses, the products contain ingredients that stabilize blood sugar, relax muscles, slow the heart rate and increase endorphin production – all without ingredients that run afoul of medication rules.

Specifically, Perfect Prep does not contain GABA, an amino acid that’s been the focal point of news lately because it’s a prohibited substance that was found in some calming products.  GABA is found naturally in all mammals.

Used responsibly, GABA supplementation possibly had its place in horse management, Jeff asserts. In human medicine, for example, GABA supplementation is sometimes prescribed for depression, anxiety or bi-polar disease.

Jeff & Renee Morgenstern presenting the Circuit Championship Award to Scott Stewart’s Golden Rule, the High Performance Working Hunter Champion at WEF.

Irresponsible use was the problem on the show circuit, Jeff explains. “The issue was that people were ‘jugging it,’ injecting it into the jugular vein, instead of feeding it.” It works dramatically that way, but at the risk of discomfort, fainting and more potentially dangerous effects. Therefore, it had to be prohibited.

The FEI has long had a strictly enforced “no foreign substance” policy for the international competitions it governs, and the USEF ‘s drugs and medication policy is constantly updated. As with any sport, there are players intent on finding new ingredients that aren’t yet tested for, and both organizations are vigilant in keeping pace with that reality.

Jeff has great respect for the work of USEF’s Stephen Schumacher, chief administrator of the Federation’s testing programs, and what he and his team have accomplished. “They walk an entirely thin line between answering the public’s outcry for fair play, keeping the industry afloat and maintaining horse welfare.”

Perfect Products “is a solution based company” and Jeff is happy that the Ohio-based firm is part of the solution when it comes to safe, effective calming agents. He and his family members are competitive equestrians themselves and thus understand the realities professionals and amateurs face in the show environment.

“I have tremendous respect and empathy for those riders and professionals and the last thing we would ever want to do is subject them to a potential positive test,” he says. That’s the motivation behind constant scrutiny of their ingredients and compounding methods as they relate to governing bodies’ prohibited substance lists.

A Flexible Horse Management Tool

The Perfect Prep EQ calming line consists of four products. Training Day is a powder meant for daily use to produce an optimal mental state to absorb training. When stress levels change, as at competitions, Training Day can be combined with Perfect Prep Gold, a long-acting paste; or Perfect Prep Supreme or Extreme, quick-acting pastes that provide quick sublimation of adrenaline.

The flexibility of the system enables individual calibration for each horse and rider’s needs, and for the same horse and rider when their needs and stress levels change. “We give the horseman a whole selection of ways to manage the horse,” Jeff says.

The Perfect Prep Sane and Sound formula line, a newer offering, combines ingredients that address pre-performance soundness, gastric comfort and focus. Jeff feels it has been extremely well received by the industry because for the first time the horseman can control several key aspects of equine performance with a single product.

In the heated debate about calming agents, some people call anything that alters the horse’s performance “cheating,” Jeff acknowledges. By that thinking, so is lunging a horse to the point of exhaustion and physical breakdown or even applying aluminum shoes to alter its way of going. “We don’t make a moral judgment for anybody,” Jeff states. “I do observe that most people complaining about the utilization of management used to modify horses for the show ring are people who don’t take horses to the show ring. If you are active in the business, you realize the need for something that is humane to the horses, the rider and the trainer.”

The company’s business has increased steadily since its inception and Jeff acknowledges that “we’ve probably been an inadvertent recipient” of sales benefits from the current controversy and concern surrounding calming agents. The Perfect Prep EQ line is Perfect Product’s biggest category, but far from its only one. Unique, non-drug solutions for, gastrointestinal, joint, muscle, allergy/immune system and hoof problems have expanded the company’s reach and reputation for effective tools in the horse management tool kit.

Hunter/jumper rider and trainer Elizabeth Evans, of Mischief Farm in Moorpark, found the company through its affiliation with the United States Hunter Jumper Association’s Horsemanship Quiz program. She is a three-time winner of the Quiz’ Trainers Challenge and received a sample of Perfect Products’ Gastroease EQ in her winner’s bucket when she first won it in 2013. Her then 20 year old Thoroughbred gave her an immediate opportunity to try it after a bout of four minor colics in roughly a month.

She first put the horse, Mellow Miller, on UlcerGard. “After a few weeks on that I thought he was all better.” He returned to his normal “chow hound” ways and seemed to feel good. However, when she followed that treatment with the sampler dosages of

Cover photo: John French, a Perfect Products Featured Rider. Photo: Erin Gilmore

Perfect Products’ Gastroease EQ, “I realized he had not been all better.” After a few weeks on Gastroease, Mellow Miller “became like his old self, but on steroids!” He has been on the maintenance doses of Gastroease for three years now and is currently preparing for a return to the jumper ring.

“It’s phenomenal,” asserts Elizabeth, who has equal praise for the other Perfect Products she’s tried on her own horses and those in her training program. The allergy and immune system support, ProtEQtor, had a remarkable effect on a horse prone to severe allergies. Elizabeth had kept him comfortable with a product from another company that is no longer on the market and was thrilled to find a solution from Perfect Products.

“There is a lot to be said for something that works and is also show legal,” she comments. “Every single product they make is safe, so you can start a product two weeks before the show and know you are not going to get to the show with a fire breathing dragon.”

Many-time World Hunter Rider Champion John French is another Perfect Products endorser. Winner of last month’s $25,000 USHJA World Championship Hunter Rider West Coast Hunter Spectacular, John says, “When I need a solution that works, their formulas are the only choice I trust. Whether my horse faces gastric challenges, muscle soreness, anxiety or general discomfort, I know that I can manage them safely and effectively.”

Not Cheap

Perfect Products’ offerings are typically the most expensive in their category and Jeff makes no apologies for that. Quality and efficacy justify it. Considering value instead of price alone, they wind up being the most economical because well-researched formulas of highest quality ingredients assure that each product works as advertised at doses that are recommended, Jeff says.

Customer service is another “secret” to Perfect Products’ success. Even as founder and CEO of a firm that’s grown way past his expectations, Jeff spends approximately 20 hours a week talking to individual customers. “That’s the fun part!” he says. “My greatest frustration is that I can’t talk to everyone.”

His counsel includes helping determine the right dosages for each horse or pony in given situations, which doesn’t always mean recommending his company’s products. “I find myself acting as a problem solver.“ If someone wants to calm their horse outside of a show context, he’ll often advise an appropriate dose of a vet-prescribed tranquilizer as an equally effective, less expensive way to get the job done. His attitude sets the tone throughout the staff.

“I hear great things about our products and even better things about our service.”

Perfect Products is an active supporter of the equine industry. They have been a contributing sponsor of the United States Hunter Jumper Association since 2014, sponsor the HITS shows circuits throughout the country and the Winter Equestrian Festival in Florida, along with many other competitions serving the hunter/jumper, dressage and western disciplines.

The debate over calming methods and products is unlikely to end in our lifetime, Jeff surmises. In the meantime, Perfect Products is happy to provide a safe solution for competitors who appreciate a little help having an enjoyable and productive show experience.

For more information, visit www.perfectproductseq.com.