3 Best Joint Supplement for Horses Reviews & Buying Guide 2020
There are a million supplements on the market for horses claiming to help your horse perform and look great. The problem is that for the longest time we haven’t had any clear information on whether or not many of these supplements actually do anything or if it’s just another expensive item we can feed to our horses.
Fortunately, there’s some scientific studies available now that back up the claim for joint supplements and the good news is that they do work! Obviously, some supplements are going to be better for your horse than others and we’ll talk about why that is and what’s important to look for in the best joint supplement for horses.
What Age Should I Start Feeding a Joint Supplement?
While every horse can benefit from a joint supplement, there are three stages in your horse’s life where they are particularly important.
Early growing and training years - During the weanling, yearling and even two-year-old stage is when your horse is really growing and developing. This prime growing time is when they can really use the support from a joint supplement. Good joint health at this time in life will help ensure they are able to withstand the effects of training and set them up for their performance years.
Performance years - For some horses this is early in life while others may not really perform until they are in their adult years. For instance, many Quarter Horses are started young for futurities while many jumping horses don’t start really performing until they are six, seven or a little older. Good joint health during their performance years will keep them happy during their senior years.
Senior years – Depending on how hard of a performance life a horse has will dictate whether or not they need joint support in their senior and retirement years. Some horses still perform in their senior years and can definitely use the support while other horses may be retired to pasture and may not really need a supplement unless they are having mobility issues.
What to Consider When Buying a Joint Supplement for Your Horses
Ingredients are going to be the key when purchasing the best horse joint supplement. Some supplements work better for some horses than others. It is often a trial and error process finding the right ingredients that work with for your horse. The best joint supplement for barrel horses may not be the best senior horse joint supplement.
Here are the key ingredients to look for:
Glucosamine - Glucosamine is the most studied ingredient and it comes in two forms. Glucosamine sulfate and glucosamine hydrochloride are both effective forms. Glucosamine is important in the basic building blocks of the horse’s connective tissues, which includes cartilage. This is an important ingredient to have for young horses. It also effective in relieving pain, so it can be great for hard performing horses or senior horses with arthritis as well. There is a loading period with this ingredient so you may feed a higher dose for a week or two and then lower the dosage once it is in the horse’s system.
Chondroitin – Most products that have glucosamine also have chondroitin, as they work better together. Chondroitin sulfate is another important aspect of cartilage, bone and connective tissues. It has been reported that this ingredient helps the movement of horses and they appear more “fluid.”
Hyaluronic Acid – Hyaluronic acid is important for the fluid in the joints. It is particularly good at controlling heat and swelling, as well as pain. It can be injected by a veterinarian in particular areas, but also be included in a powder form for feed through supplements. A small amount of this ingredient goes a long way in most horses.
Methylsulonylmethane (MSM) - Nearly everyone in the horse industry has heard of MSM. It is an effective anti-inflammatory, but the long-term effects have not been determined. One scientific study in horses with hock arthritis showed that a dose of at least 20,000 mg per day was required to be effective, but that is a very large dose and you won’t find it in most joint supplements. It is often added in lower amounts to joint supplements. You can also purchase pure MSM supplements that can be used to determine if it will have an effect on a particular horse.
Collagen – Collagen is hydrolyzed prior to being included in a joint supplement. Collagen is a protein that forms the structure of all connective tissues, cartilage and bone. It is purified and broken down so that the horse’s body can absorb it in a supplement. There are no equine studies on this particular ingredient, but it may improve joint function and pain.
Herbs – There is a long list of herbs that are typically included in joint supplements. These herbs are often anti-inflammatory, but there’s no guarantee that enough are included to have an effect. These herbs are often included because they help with pain. Popular herbs include Devil’s Claw, Yucca, and Boswellia.
Minerals – Manganese, copper and zinc are minerals that are typically included in supplements as well. Most horses receive more manganese in their diet than necessary; however, they are often deficient in copper and zinc. Copper is important to connective tissue formation, so it is important that young horses are not deficient. Both copper and zinc are also important to the horse’s overall antioxidant enzyme system.
Avocado and Soy Unsaponifiables – These ingredients are extracted and purified by a special procedure that prevents the body from digestion and absorption. They have been shown to protect against cartilage breakdown, so they are more important in sustaining horses versus helping a current need. They are also slow acting ingredients, so don’t expect to see results quickly.
Silica – This ingredient is found in sand most commonly but can also be found in plants. It is a trace mineral that gives plants structure. In the horse’s body, this ingredient is involved with the formation of articular cartilage and connective tissue. Research has found this to be an important supplement for young, growing horses.
Vitamin C – Horses make their own vitamin C, so it is actually important to not over supplement. Too much vitamin C has the reverse effect and can cause deficiency.
Phenylalanine – This ingredient is an amino acid that helps preserve enzymes that block chronic pain. It is most commonly included in supplements for pain and arthritis in performance or senior horses.
Omega -3 Fatty Acids – These fatty acids are found in marine and plant oils. The most common method of getting these in a supplement is via flaxseed or linseed oil.
Top 3 Best Joint Supplement for Horses
#1) Nutramax Cosequin Equine Optimized with MSM- One of the Best Horse Joint Supplements
Cosequin has long been known in the horse industry as a joint supplement. This version of Cosequin also includes MSM. As we mentioned above, MSM is known for its anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects.
This is a cost-effective option to feed a well-known joint supplement with the added effects of MSM.
- Includes MSM
- Apple flavored powder that is added to daily feed
- 84-day supply at one scoop per day
#2) Nutramax Cosequin ASU Equine Powder- Best Joint Supplement for Older horses & Growing Horses also
The Nutramx Cosequin ASU version is veterinary strength and designed for a broad spectrum of horses. Not only does it include glucosamine and chondroitin, but it also includes the avocado and soybean unsaponifiables (ASU) for long term joint protection.
This version also includes twice as much MSM as the Cosequin Equine Optimized with MSM product.
This product is designed to not only treat horses older with arthritic changes, but also helps growing horses with the added benefits of the ASU.
- Includes 10,000 mg of MSM
- Includes 2100 mg of ASU
- Apple flavored powder
#3) Horse Health Joint Combo Hoof & Coat- Another Best Joint Supplements for Horses
For price conscious horse owners that want to get a bang for their buck, the Horse Health Products Joint Combo is a great option. This product includes ingredients to support the joints, feet and coat.
This product includes glucosamine HCL, chondroitin sulfate and MSM. It also includes biotin for the hooves and omega fatty acids for healthy skin and coat.
This product does require an initial loading dose of 3 scoops per day for 3-4 weeks. It is then fed at 2 scoops per day for maintenance.
- Includes additional important ingredients such as biotin, zinc, and omega 3 and 6 fatty acids.
- Apple flavored pellet
- Available in two sizes
_Frequently Asked Questions About Best Joint Supplements for Horses_
Here are a few of the commonly asked questions regarding joint supplements.
- How much joint supplement do I feed?
The amount you feed will depend on the weight of your horse. Most dosages are standardized for the typical 1100-pound horse, but not all horses weigh that much.
- Do horses like it?
Palatability is often an issue when it comes to supplements. The majority of the users of all three of these products have reported that their horses eat it. For powdered formulas, you may need to lightly wet it with water to get it to stick to the feed versus being left in the bottom of the feed tub. Pelleted formulas tend to mix with feed very well.
- What does the loading dose do?
The loading dose ensures your horse gets enough of the product in their system that it will start to work and then once the appropriate levels have been established, you can reduce to the maintenance dose. If you don’t do a loading dose, it could take significantly longer for the product to work. For the Cosequin products, it is recommended to feed 2 scoops per day for two to four weeks. For the Horse Health Products Joint Combo, it is recommended to feed three scoops per day for 3-4 weeks. This is because the Cosequin products have more active ingredients per ounce.
- How long will one container last?
The first container will last approximately one month or slightly longer. Once the horse has been “loaded” so to speak, one container will last 84 days for the Cosequin product and 64 days for the Horse Health Products Joint Combo supplement.
- What conditions does a joint supplement help?
There are a variety of conditions that a supplement can help. First and foremost, it can be used to prevent issues, so the horse has a less likely chance of developing joint problems. However, if you have acquired a horse with joint problems, then these products are commonly used for navicular disease, arthritis, stifle injuries, aging joints, old joint injuries and general stiffness and mobility issues due to aging.
- How soon will I notice a difference?
All horses are different, but many users have reported seeing improvement in their horses within two weeks on all products.
- What signs will I see that my horse is improving?
Common signs that a joint supplement is working includes improvement in mobility, improved fluidity in gaits, ability to run and play with other pasture mates and general improvement in attitude and disposition due to pain relief.
While most joint supplement products contain the same ingredients, it’s important to consider your budget and what you can afford as well as the amounts of active ingredient. At the same time, you will want to consider the age of the horse and its needs as well. It may be worth it to prevent issues on a cheaper product if your horse is young and not showing signs of joint problems.
On the other hand, if your horse is aging and shows signs of joint problems, it’s worth considering a more expensive product with higher amounts of active ingredients so that you can see results more quickly. Thank you for reading our reviews for best joint supplement for horses! You can also take a look for best horse fly spray and best horse saddle pad and also for best horse automatic waterer if you need.