Mythbusters: Summit Joint (and why you won’t ever see it in my barn)

About twice a month, someone on Facebook posts asking, “What does everyone think about Summit Joint Performance?!”

And every single time, my blood pressure rises as I see the MLM-ers flock towards it to promote and sell this product.

And I’ve had enough (and I know I’m not the only one).

So, here goes, debunking some of my favorite SJP arguments.

For starters, Summit = Chondroitin 4 Sulfate = Condranol

“They don’t need FDA approval because it already had it when it was used in humans!”

Oh. When it was used in ophthalmologic surgery (specifically cataract surgery and corneal transplants) as a coating to reduce rejection? Not exactly the same thing.

Per the FDA, it is not approved as an injection for horses. Or any animal. You cannot take a drug and use it for not only an entirely different use, but an entirely new patient population without at least talking to the FDA about it. (Yes, I am well aware this happens – see: sildenafil, spironolactone, previcox – BUT they all had recent drug FDA approvals to begin with, and then were secondarily approved for off label use)

“They’ve done studies in humans showing it works for osteoarthritis!”

Yes, they have done studies in humans! For osteoarthritis! That showed… “the symptomatic benefit of chondroitin is minimal or nonexistent. Use of chondroitin in routine clinical practice should therefore be discouraged.” Whoops. (Reichenbach et al. 2007)

“Oh, I/my trainer/my best friend/my cousin’s boyfriend/this girl I know who wins in the AA hunters uses it and our/their horses look amazing! or “It brought my arthritic horse back from the brink of death in one week!” or “It turned my three-legged lame retiree into a prelim horse!”

We’ll start with the obvious. Anecdotes are not scientific evidence, stories are not science, someone’s post on Facebook is not science. When you purchase something or want to believe something works – ever heard of the placebo effect?

Just a few others, for fun too. We’ve got a solid amount of bandwagon effect – “OMG everyone is using it, guess I should too!” How about confirmation bias? You just spent money on something, want to believe it works, so you’re looking for information to support what you want. It’s subconscious, no matter how objective you tell yourself you are being.

This doesn’t even touch the fact that if, and just IF, it happened to bring Mr. Sparkles back to being sound after you’ve exhausted all the other treatments… what the actual hell is in this drug? Yeah, meth can make me skinny, but at what cost? Or is it masking pain, while making underlying conditions worse? That’s just it: we don’t know.

“The company is totally going to do studies! They’re coming!”

Cool. Let me see them when they’re double-blinded, randomized, done by a reputable academic source and peer reviewed. We’ll talk then. Until that… pass.

“It was developed by a veterinarian though!”

One vet (with a vested financial interest, I might add) deciding to inject something with questionable (and scarce) evidence does not make a drug company. I know many veterinarians who are incredible, smart, great people – I have lots of respect for them (see: my family’s business who is in the veterinary industry). Having a doctorate of veterinary medicine (or any medicine or hell, any doctorate) does not automatically make you a good person, grant you wisdom or instill in you ethics. Go do a google search for veterinarians who have lost their licenses. Go ask your friends about the worst vet they’ve seen or used. Hell, ask your vet (the ones with professionalism will probably decline to say much more, but believe me they have the stories).

That doesn’t make every single one an expert in pharmaceutical research & development, much less production, quality control and manufacturing. Any who try to tell you differently don’t know their personal limitations and I’d stay FAR, far away.

“Oh, it’s a supplement, not a drug.”

Wow a truthful statement! Chondroitin is in fact regulated as a dietary supplement in the United States. But wait. That pesky word, dietary. Per the FDA, “the law defines dietary supplements in part as products taken by mouth that contain a “dietary ingredient.” So, SJP labeling itself as a supplement? Not truthful, nor legal. IF YOU INJECT IT, IT IS A DRUG.

And if we want to be real picky, per the FDA, anything for animal use promoting disease prevention or therapy is technically regulated as… a drug.

“It’s all natural, so it’s safe!”

So is cyanide.

“It’s manufactured in a clean facility though, it’s totally fine.”

This is coming from…? A Facebook comment from someone loosely affiliated with the company. With no verifiable evidence. And when you dig a little deeper – they claim it’s an ISO level 5 clean room, but this requires two to three airlocks, ante-room and single direction airflow. I’ll believe it when I see it. If anyone has an actual certification of their clean room, I’d love to see.

CS4, as a dietary supplement, has many known and reported inconsistencies in purity and chemical composition. The answers SJP gives when questioned? That their CS-4 is from bovine trachea from Argentina and Spain. Which doesn’t even begin to answer how they are ensuring purity, composition and quality control.

“I know we don’t have FDA approval; it’s not because they were turned down, it’s because they haven’t applied. It’s a personal choice to do so.”

I can’t wait to tell my friends in pharmaceutical manufacturing that FDA approval is a personal choice! Going to save them so much money!

The FDA has sent this company multiple letters informing them they were not to be selling injectable drugs without proper approval. Ignorance is no excuse here.

“Just because it’s not FDA approved doesn’t make it any less valuable to us!”

Actually, that’s exactly what it means.

“I’m not sharing testimonials, just my personal experiences with the product.”

Ooops! That Doesn't Mean What You Think It Means - Sabeza HR : Sabeza HR

“B12 is an injectable that isn’t a drug.”

It requires a prescription from a licensed medical professional with a DEA number and has years of sound scientific evidence behind it, not to mention is manufactured and distributed by qualified and credentialed medical sources.

I’m sure we’ll get more in the comments, and I’m downright looking forward to continue to debunk myths and red herring arguments. We haven’t even touched on the sketchy legal records of the founders of SJP or their MLM/Pyramid distribution scheme, because I wanted to specifically debunk the lack of science before more people go sticking needles full of God knows what into their horses, but we can totally do a round 2.

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Things I Bought & Liked

Along with the new horse has come a number of new items, mostly small one off things that don’t necessarily need a full post review.

Etsy Blanket Tags

I didn’t like any of the plastic or metal tags I could find online to identify Iggy’s blankets. So I went a different route – keychain tags. I placed a custom order with ___ and within a few days I had adorable light blue and navy blanket tags (color coordinate or don’t bother thank u very much). I sprayed them down with a coat of ScotchGuard and off to the barn they went. It’s still early, but I’m impressed. They’re easy to spot versus some of the small tags and they’ve stayed readable and clean despite their light color and the mud swamp we now live in.

Stall Sign from PalletsbyCatherine

I don’t think there’s much to really review for a stall sign, but… here is it? Iggy was looking like the poor temporary kid with a piece of paper with his name on it on his stall. None of our stalls have true nameplates, but all the other horses had pretty painted ones, so I decided Iggs needed one too. I ordered his from this Etsy store and it came quickly and is so cute.

Schneiders Adjusta Fit V-Free Midweight Blanket Liner

IGGY APPROVES

A few weeks ago the temperatures did their Indiana thing and dropped something like 30 degrees overnight, meaning we had a few days with highs in the single digits to teens. AKA the days I question my sanity for living here. Iggy had a sheet and a medium, but no heavy and I had a moment of total panic realizing that nothing I had was going to be warm enough for my horse. In a blind fit of ‘take my money’, I ordered a 280g liner from Schneiders with two day shipping. It showed up the next day and has been used a half dozen or so times since.

They run a little big so I ordered a 74 and while it’s a smidge tight around his chest, any bigger would have been too big for him. It has holes for straps to be fed through that keep it in place and make it pretty universal in terms of what blanket you use it with. My biggest annoyance with it is that it has a closed front, but I also get that an open one would add bulk there. My annoyance is 100% my own laziness of having to unsnap crossties to put it on.

While it doesn’t feel indestructible, it also doesn’t feel cheap and so far it’s held up well. If it was something that I was going to use daily all winter, perhaps I’d have different feelings, but for something that should get < 20 wears per season, it’s perfect. It doesn’t seem to slip around at all, which I appreciate, and hasn’t caused any rubs or other issues. Each time I’ve pulled it off of him, he’s been toasty but not overheating underneath and I’ll totally admit I’ve wrapped myself up in it more than once. I have only used it with a 200g medium over it, but I’m sure it would work just as well with other weights. I think it’s a really good option if you live somewhere you may not need a liner full-time and you can’t beat Scheniders sales.

EquiFuse Gleam Moisturizer and Shine Serum

I have no great tail photo because #mud so instead please look at the length of my horse’s eyebrow whisker

I feel like I’m the last person to find out about this stuff, but wow. No matter how rats nest-y tails have gotten this year (uh mud dreadlocks are a thing), some of this and a Wet Brush have just about any tail in the barn looking lesson worthy. And it smells so good. I’ve converted about half the barn and already purchased the rest of the EquiFuse line and now I’m just counting down the days until it’s bath time.

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Mini Reviews and the No Saddle Club

I’m currently finishing out the remainder of my 24 hour strep throat quarantine from my living room couch, where the extent of my human contact has been listening to my neighbor’s Christmas party downstairs. One, which I am invited to, but you know, strep throat isn’t really a great hostess gift. Or so they tell me.

Instead, I decided, what better time to throw a hodgepodge of reviews and things I currently like at you? Strep throat is not on the list, FYI. 0/10, do not recommend.

Fur-Zoff Pet Hair Remover

The consequence of a Cyber Monday Amazon Prime ‘One Click Buy’, this weird little rock has become my favorite new obsession. Horse people = dog people, more or less and I am no exception. The downside to adorable Bluefin Tuna Dog (his formal name), is that he sheds like nothing I have ever seen before. Like the entire barn in April. Like my blonde hair when it sees a black cashmere sweater. Like a drunk fraternity boy losing his clothes en route to a pool at 1am.

His hair (the dog, not the fraternity boy), embeds itself in my furniture and makes itself at home. Forever. Or so I thought. Until I discovered the Fur-Zoff. You basically just… brush? with this thing and the hair all pulls out and balls up and you basically have a brand new looking couch. For $10.

Paper Pony Co. Pretty Pony Notepad

I love notepads and stationery, so when I saw this one from Paper Pony Co. it was a no brainer to add this to my office supplies. I wasn’t disappointed either. Not only did it come packaged adorably with this nice note, she even included a cute postcard and stickers.

The notepad itself is high quality and on nice, thick paper. It’s only 50 sheets, but it’s 4″x6″ and has 10 lines with extra room around the margins.

 

Heist Tights

Now reeealllly not related to horses. But if you’re like me, you have to go to work to pay for the horses. And between the months of December – March, that means tights come into play. Let the record show: I hate tights. HATE. I find them itchy, annoying, they roll or fall down, they snag… the WORST. But I discovered Heist Tights recently and um, all of my feelings changed. These are the best tights ever. They’re soft. They don’t roll (I swear!), they don’t fall down. They’re downright comfortable.

They come packaged adorably from the UK and their customer service is super happy to help make sure you have the right size. I’m not posting photos of myself wearing tights ’cause uh, no, but take my word here. I’m a 30 in breeches (44 Italian), about a 10 US in regular pants and their 12-14 fits me perfectly. I have the 50 and 80 denier in a low rise (think midrise breeches) and love both pairs. These are for sure a work winter staple.

I’m still waiting on a few Black Friday purchases and will happily review when they’re here.

We got our first snow this morning and I’m happily enjoying watching it out the window, baking bread and not going anywhere. It’s super pretty so I’m trying to bottle up this feeling when it’s still snowing in like, April or something and I want to cry/move/die.

I’ve already halfway thrown in the towel on effort, as reflected by my Wednesday ride this past week where I decided I was too cold (it was like 35 and omg am I becoming a midwesterner because I literally was like, oh that’s not even that cold, HELP WHO AM I) to put on a saddle. So bareback it was. Everyone else at the barn had the same idea, leading me to make the joke we were like the No Saddle Club.

I think I’m a lot funnier than I am, by the way.

All that to say, we got our best trot we’ve probably ever had for the longest amount of time, so I’m pretty sure I’m not getting my saddle back anytime soon at this rate.

 

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