SmartPak: Ask a Pro with the Health Team

Welcome to the SmartPak Ask A Pro series, where we will be introducing the SmartPak Health Team and covering a wide range of topics surrounding equine health and supplements.

Dr. Gray and Dr. Appleton are members of SmartPak’s Health Team. Together, they introduce new SmartPak-brand supplements for horses (and dogs!) They also coordinate the research behind the SmartPak-brand supplements and provide customers with educational information. Dr. Appleton focuses on new product concepts and novel ingredients, development batches and label creation. Dr. Gray’s time is spent on the palatability studies that occur before any SmartPak-brand supplement is launched, as well as scientific research studies documenting an ingredient or a product’s safe use in horses, its bioavailability, and other testing.

Dr. Lydia Gray

Staff Veterinarian–Research & Medical Director

Dr. Lydia Gray

Dr. Lydia Gray earned her bachelor’s in animal science/agriculture, her DVM, and her master’s in communication from the University of Illinois. Her diverse career includes private practice and developing a business and leadership program for graduate veterinarians. In addition, she has served as director of owner education for the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) and is the former Executive Director of the Hooved Animal Humane Society (HAHS).

She began at the Plymouth, MA-based SmartPak in 2006 and is part of the team responsible for the research and development of supplements. Dr. Gray also provides print, online and in-person horse health and nutrition education to a wide variety of audiences. In addition, she is part of the veterinary group that manages the colic surgery reimbursement program “ColiCare™.”

Dr. Gray has owned, ridden and competed horses most of her life, earning awards in dressage, combined driving and even sidesaddle with her “heart” horse Newman, a Trakehner. She recently purchased a young Dutch Warmblood gelding named Stan Lee that she hopes to bring up the levels.

Dr. Stacie Appleton

Director, Health Product Development

Dr. Stacie Appleton

Dr. Stacie Appleton focuses on creating products with the latest nutritional technologies to address horse health issues and provide solutions in a form that is convenient for horse owners.

Dr. Appleton completed her Ph.D. in animal nutrition from Texas A&M University. Prior education was a Master of Science degree in Agricultural Development and a Bachelor of Science degree in pre-veterinary studies/animal Science from Stephen F. Austin State University. Experience in the animal nutrition industry include regional, national and global roles in research and development of horse feed as well as nutrition and health supplements. In addition to product formulation and development, Appleton has experience in teaching equine science as well as nutrition and management consulting. Personal experience includes teaching, breeding, managing, training and competing with Quarter Horses, from youth through professional levels.

“My current role at SmartPak is very exciting because it is where my personal and professional experiences intersect. I can apply my experience of research, nutrition, and novel ingredients to create products to solve real-world issues that horses and horse owners manage daily,” Dr. Appleton says.

Follow along in the SmartPak Ask a Pro series as we cover a wide range of equine health care and supplement topics!

Question 1: A Healthy Hindgut

We asked our featured SmartPak Pros, Health Team members Dr. Lydia Gray and Dr. Stacie Appleton: Why do you feel that every horse’s hind gut health should be addressed? What are good practices and key ingredients that you would recommend? Get the answers here!

Question 2: Gastric Support Importance

We asked our featured SmartPak Pro, Health Team Member Dr. Stacie Appleton: Why do you think considering your horse’s stomach health should be top of mind? Check out the intel here!

Question 3: Joint Support

We asked our featured Health Team member and SmartPak Medical Director Lydia Gray, DVM, MA, why it’s important to support your horse’s joints no matter his age, workload, or breed and to discuss the significance of new research on cutting-edge ingredients for equine joint health. Learn more here.

Question 4: CBD

We asked our featured SmartPak pros Lydia Gray, DVM, MA, and Stacie Appleton, PhD, to discuss the key findings of new research on SmartPak’s CBD ingredient and to explain how CBD can benefit your horse’s health and overall well-being. Find all the details here.

Question 5: New & Novel Supplement Ingredients

We asked our featured SmartPak Pro Stacie Appleton, PhD, to explain how some of the newest ingredients in equine supplements—turmeric, collagen, ashwagandha, and resveratrol—differ from more traditional ingredients and to discuss the potential benefits they may provide your horse. Keep reading here.

Question 6: Supplement Ingredients

We asked our featured SmartPak pro Stacie Appleton, PhD, to discuss SmartPak’s supplement development process, specifically how ingredients are selected for new products or to reformulate existing supplements. Get the scoop here.