The What, How, and Why of Horse Joint Supplements

Horse Joint Supplements – What? How? Why?

What horse joint supplements are and how and why they help your horse

Horse joint supplements naturally support your horse’s defense against normal joint wear-and-tear and degeneration that happens with activity, age, and breed.

Using all-natural ingredients, horse supplements are designed to fill in health gaps that cannot be provided by good horse care management, nutrition, and exercise best practices.

The challenge for many horse owners like you is in knowing which horse joint supplement is right for your horse. There are hundreds of supplements to choose from and it can be extremely difficult to make an informed decision.

This is why we wrote this blog – we want you to know the facts on horse joint supplement so you can make the right decision for your horse and their health. Please remember to browse the Horse Joint Health blog category for more articles about your horse and their joint health.  

The Importance of the NASC and Horse Supplements

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The NASC stands for the National Animal Supplement Council. Members of the NASC are global manufacturers of animal health supplements who work together to ensure high quality ingredients are used for horse, cat, dog, and other companion animal supplements.

The NASC was founded in 2002 and Grand Meadows was the only equine supplement manufacturer involved at its inception. Prior to the NASC, the horse supplement business was rife with poorly produced products, rampant drug claims, and little or no oversight.

All members of the NASC must adhere to strict guidelines to ensure quality assurance and labeling standards for all horse supplements. The NASC seal give animal owners assurances that the supplements they are buying are safe, tested, and effective.

Look for horse supplements with the NASC seal – this tells you the supplements are of the highest quality, the manufacturer is audited regularly, and the supplements are safe for your horse.

As a founding member of the NASC, Grand Meadows has been heavily involved in the development of the NASC standards and was the first equine supplement manufacturer to earn an NASC seal.

Always make sure you’re buying horse supplements manufactured in an FDA-approved facility and that the manufacture is a member of the NASC.

NASC Qualilty Seal

How the Ingredients in Horse Joint Supplements Help Your Horse

The ingredients in NASC-approved horse joint supplements are proven to slow joint degeneration, aid in recovery from joint injuries, and fix imbalances in the joints caused by daily wear and tear that occurs in any riding and training routine.

Make sure your horse joint supplement has these ingredients:

  • Glucosamine
    This is the most widely researched of joint support ingredients and is a fundamental building block for articular cartilage. Glucosamine helps prevent cartilage break down and supports the growth of new cartilage.  
  • Hyaluronic Acid
    Hyaluronic Acid (HA) is an integral component of joint cartilage and joint fluid that is distributed throughout connective tissues. HA is critical for joint lubrication and shock absorption, along with blocking inflammatory reactions.
  • Chondroitin Sulfate
    Chondroitin Sulfate works with glucosamine to help support healthy joints to promote the growth of new cartilage and to limit cartilage break down. This ingredient is key to your horse’s ability to produce HA and proteoglycans.
  • MSM
    MSM is a source of organic sulfur that supports healthy joint function and acts as an anti-inflammatory.
  • Collagen Type II
    Collagen is the primary structural protein in connective tissue found in tendons, ligaments, bone cartilage, and skin. Collagen Type II represents 95% of the collagen found in articular cartilage tissue. Type II collagen provides strength, lubrication, resiliency, and studies show it stimulates the growth of articular cartilage.

The following ingredients may also be included in an NASC-approved horse joint supplements: Vitamin C, Zinc, Manganese, Lysine, Methionine, Vitamin B-3, Niacin, Copper, Proline, Bioflavonoids, Devil’s Claw, or Omega 3 & 6.

Contact us with any questions you have about horse joint supplement ingredients. And be sure to watch this video about glucosamine and chondroitin in horse supplements.

Watch our Fireside Chat on Glucosamine and Chondroitin Supplements

Why Your Horse Can Benefit from Horse Joint Supplement

Horse joints are not built to last, and this is exactly why your horse can benefit from a horse joint supplement. Regardless of the jumping and training drills your horse does, the simple act of walking and trotting puts undue stress on your horse’s joints.

Horses are built for movement, but their size and strength places strain and pressure on their joints, causing them to degenerate and break down more quickly than many people realize.

By the time your horse shows signs of soreness, your horse has been uncomfortable for a while. Like other animals, horses are adept at hiding illness and injury.

Horse joint supplements help your horse by:

  • Keeping joints lubricated to support shock absorption and help block inflammatory reactions.
  • Helping prevent cartilage break down and aiding in the growth of new cartilage.
  • Helping support your horse’s ability to produce Hyaluronic Acid (HA) – a critical component of joint cartilage.
  • Providing strength, resiliency, and lubrication for tendons, ligaments, bone cartilage, and skin and encourages the growth of articular cartilage.

Joints are made of two or more bones that work together to support movement and transfer weight load during this movement. There are three types of joints:

  • Fibrous: this is a fixed joint such as the skull.
  • Cartilaginous: these joints are connected by cartilage and allow limited movement. For example, the vertebrae in your horse’s spine are cartilaginous joints.
  • Synovial: these joints are designed to absorb impact and support movement. Your horse has 18 synovial joints – each of which that are supported by ligaments, cartilage, and synovial fluid.

It is not uncommon for horse to experience stiffness, arthritis, or lameness in their synovial joints. Common injuries to synovial joints include bone chips, osteoarthritis, osteochondrosis, and joint degeneration.

Proven horse joint supplements can help slow the onset of these injuries and help your horse recover more easily from joint injury.

Remember that along with giving your horse a joint supplement, you should follow these keys to horse health and good horse management:

  • Regular exercise: make sure you’re not overworking your horse.
  • Weight management: extra weight puts pressure on your horse’s joints and contributes to joint deterioration.
  • Balanced nutrition: ensure your horse is getting adequate calories and nutritional support for their age, health status, and activity level.
  • Hoof care: pay attention to the wear pattern on your horse’s shoes – this can tell you a lot about how your horse is walking, standing, and any movement imbalances.
  • Limit hard surfaces: walking, jumping, galloping and standing on hard ground can cause joint injuries and joint concussion. Think of how your knees and back ache after standing on concrete or walking all day.

Always be aware of the signals your horse is giving you. Notice any changes in behavior such as a reluctance to walk, not wanting to jump or gallop, or favoring one leg or hoof.

When in doubt, contact your veterinarian for a full check-up and discussion of how best to care for your horse’s joints and overall health.

We want you to know what we know about horse joints and horse health. Watch these videos and read these blogs to learn more about horse joint health:

Contact us to ask your questions about horse joint supplements.

Nick Hartog

by Nick Hartog

In 1994, Nick Hartog became an owner and President of Grand Meadows Equine Supplements bringing his talents and extensive background in domestic and international equine sales and manufacturing. He has a reputation for plain speaking of the truth. In 1997, when the US horse supplement market was something akin to the Wild West with a complete lack of standards, Nick personally tested 32 different horse joint supplements to see if they matched the label. Unsurprisingly, to him at least, only 2 products matched the label claim. Read more...