Feeding a Joint Supplement can make a huge difference to a horse but what are the essential ingredients in a modern high spec Joint Supplement.
A horse’s joints are subject to considerable wear and tear, having to bear the entire weight of the horse and rider, often under exacting conditions. Horses today are required to perform athletic movements on a variety of terrains, whether you compete over jumps, cross country, in dressage arenas or simply hack around roads and fields.
A horse’s leg is made up of bones, tendons and ligaments, which need to move together smoothly to enable the horse to move with confidence and without pain. Cartilage acts as a cushion between bones, absorbing impact and providing the ‘spring’ necessary to facilitate the next movement. Every gait and discipline subjects these delicate structures to tremendous force: consider the load on a horse’s front legs when he or she lands after clearing a fence. For a moment the horse must bear its entire weight, and that of the rider, along with the downward forces of impact with the ground, before the hind hooves make contact
With horses nowadays continuing to lead full and useful lives well into their twenties and even beyond, it makes good sense to ensure that their diet contains all the necessary nutrients to support the joints throughout every stage of life. Every horse owner knows only too well the consequences of a tendon or ligament injury, resulting in months of box rest, with possible negative consequences for the remainder of the horse’s life in some cases.
In considering a joint supplement for your horse, it’s important to look at the specific nutrients that will provide the greatest benefits, supporting the leg structures, increasing flexibility and promoting strong and healthy tissue. Scientists have identified a number of ingredients which have been clinically proven to improve a horse’s way of going, whilst aiding healing and preventing the risk of future injury.
Glucosamine is well-documented as an important supplement for promoting good joint health in humans, and it has proven to be equally effective in the equine world. Glucosamine Hydrochloride, also known as Glucosamine HCL, is a superior form of the supplement, which promotes healing at a cellular level, targeting ligaments, cartilage, tendons and synovial fluid, making it one of the most important aspects of any effective joint supplement.
Hyaluronic Acid also known as HA is a key ingredient for lubricating the horse’s joints, reducing and preventing inflammation and helping to cushion the joints from impact. It may even help to repair damaged tissue surrounding the horse’s joints, making it a priority for all high spec equine joint supplements.
Chondroitin Sulphate binds together with elastin and collagen in the joints, promoting the formation of healthy cartilage. It forms the basis of any effective joint supplementation regime and is particularly recommended for older horses, who need this ingredient in their diet if they are to maintain good joint function throughout their lives.
MSM, or methylsulphonyl-methane, is known to enhance the effects of glucosamine. It contains high levels of sulphur, which is an important mineral that promotes healthy ligaments, muscles and soft tissues.
Finally, Omega 3 is an essential compound which is known to contribute to the horse’s overall health, promoting good joint health, maintaining bone density, increasing the elasticity of delicate tissues and reducing inflammation.