At SmartPak, we’re on a mission to make the world a better place by using our smarts to power healthy horses and happy riders. Out of the tens of thousands of riders and horse owners that we’re proud to call SmartPerks members, our SmartPerks Hall of Fame Inductees have been supporting their horses for the longest amount of time. This honor celebrates their commitment to changing the world, four hooves at a time by taking great care of their horse. We’re thrilled to introduce you to our recent inductees, Kelly and Ace.


Ace is a 28 yo American QH gelding. He’s actually out of ranch bred bloodlines, but I spent most of the time doing Hunter/Jumper, Dressage and trail riding and actually even did a Reining clinic! I have also given lessons on him. So, he’s kind of been a “done it all” kind of a horse, showing, pleasure riding, and all those things. Now he is happily retired and the king of my herd.

When I was in my senior year at Iowa State, a friend of mine was going to graduate school there and she asked if I was interested in prepping some horses for training for her dad. I walked in the barn and this cute sorrel with big brown eyes stuck his head over and caught my eye.  I asked the owner if he was one of the horses for training and he said no, but he would be selling him the next year. Ace was 18 months old at that time. So as we were talking about payment for services, I asked if we could do a trade. I’d work the horses he wanted worked for the next couple of months and in return I would get the sorrel colt as payment.  The guy said yes, and I ended up finishing up the horses for him, graduating, and moving from Iowa State to the Chicago suburbs.  The guy trailered him over from Kelley, Iowa all the way to Chicago for me. He handed me the lead rope and papers, and when I tried to pay him for the gas  he said, “No, but if you ever sell him I’d like first rights to get him back”. And of course, I have kept Ace since then! So that was how he came into my life.

Ace is probably one of the kindest horses I have ever known. He’ll nicker at me whenever he sees me. That’s probably the biggest thing he does. He just catches your eye, he’s a sweet, sweet guy. He was super easy to train, too, very smart. He didn’t want to hurt anyone at any time. One time a friend of mine brought her daughter, who was 4, out to ride. The daughter was leading him out of the arena, and she tripped and ended up falling right in front of him.  He just stopped dead and sniffed her and made sure he was okay.  He then walked very carefully right behind her.

“…he taught me that effort and kindness are more important than bling and money.”

He has always been willing to try anything at least once. He was bred to chase cows, but I said “No, we’re going to do the English thing.” He just did everything I asked him to do and always put inhis best effort.  He was always very steady, brave, and kind. We showed the hunter/jumper circuit in Iowa against some nice imported horses and placed very well. Through that, he taught me that effort and kindness are more important than bling and money. Plus, I’m a pretty introverted, shy person and he brought a lot of friends and experiences that I probably would never have had. Ace was with me through a lot of changes like graduating college, getting married, having two kids, moving to a different state,  getting divorced, and remarrying, He just stays steadfast, and every person we’ve met just falls in love with him. He’s so sweet and kind and personable and loves people. He kind of just drew people to me. I’m not a very outgoing person so I think he even helped me expand my circle of friends.

I started feeding Ace SmartPaks when he was around seven when he was diagnosed with arthritis. So we’ve been with you guys for 19 or 20 years. I was devastated, but the joint supplement really helped keep him comfortable and allowed me to continue riding him.  It was easy to order as well. A few years ago, I added another horse and my dog too.

He’s given so much. I can’t imagine not ever having him.

We finally moved to an acreage last year and there was some confusion about getting the timing for delivery to a new address all squared away. When I called in, you guys worked hard to help get that straight.  The products are quality and work. I even tried taking him off the supplement for a month, and it was very clear within a few weeks that he wanted to go back on them, as he would get grumpy and not want to move around as much. As soon as his SmartPaks started getting added to his meals again he got increasingly comfortable again and was back to his normal self. Occasionally, I still see him buck and play and leap in the air, which is awesome! He’s taken care of me for so long and done everything I’ve asked him to do. He’s given so much. I can’t imagine not ever having him.

My horses are at home now though I’ve also rented pasture and I’ve boarded before, too. It’s nice that I don’t have to rely on making sure a store has anything in stock. It’s prepackaged, so I just dump it in buckets. My other horse is on gut support and it’s really easy for my husband on the days when he helps out with feeding. There’s never any question about which horse gets which one because their names are on it. I never have to worry about reordering! The box comes and I just take it out to the barn to put it in their drawer.

When the SmartPerks Hall of Fame box came I was thinking “Well I don’t remember ordering anything extra from SmartPak.”  When I opened it up, I read the card and I got a little bit teary-eyed. I started thinking about how long it had been for Ace and I and it was really exciting. I was thrilled! The gift card was especially exciting since we had just moved to our property and were still in the throes of trying to organize and set everything up like putting up fences and other practical needs. So, with the gift card, I was able to get dressage letters and jump blocks and blanket holders! Of course, I loved Ace’s personalized halter and cooler, too, but being able to get some things that I wouldn’t have been able to get for a while yet was really, really cool. And of course, my two other horses had to get personalized halters, too, so they can match!

I got to take a horse that was just halter broke all the way through the success we had and the wonderful memories, and now to still have him at his age to be happy and healthy is so cool. And SmartPak has helped with that!


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