Horse Supplement Ingredients: Do You Know What is in the Horse Supplements You’re Feeding Your Horse?

Horse Supplement Ingredients

The depth and variety of available horse supplements has grown leaps and bounds in recent years. On the one hand, this is a very good thing – giving horse owners more supplement options and price ranges. However, the flipside of this boom in horse supplements makes it very challenging for horse owners to differentiate between supplement companies and their products.

It is critically important that you know what the ingredients are in the horse supplements you’re feeding your horses. And that you understand why and how these ingredients benefit your horse’s health and well-being.

The good news is that thanks to organizations like the National Animal Supplement Council (NASC), animal supplement companies are held by a strict standard of regulations and compliance. When you’re researching horse supplements, please make sure you’re only considering NASC-approved companies and supplements.

In this blog, I highlight key horse supplement ingredients and explain why they’re used to help improve and benefit joint, hoof, digestive, skin, coat, and immune system health. Please always feel free to ask me any questions you have about Grand Meadows horse supplements. I want you to know what I know about horse health and horse supplements.

The Facts on Horse Supplement Ingredients

The crowded horse supplement market can make for a very confusing research and purchasing experience. Ultimately, your horse’s well-being relies on the horse supplement choices you make.

And this is exactly why it’s important to have a basic understanding of the science behind the ingredients in joint, hoof, digestive, coat, skin, and immune system supplements.

Horse Joint Supplements

The normal wear-and-tear of being a horse puts huge demands on your horse’s joints. Combine the everyday impacts of trotting, walking, and jumping with those of circles, lateral moves, slide stops, and pivots and your horse is at high risk for developing joint-related problems.

To help slow joint degeneration, imbalances, and recover from joint injuries, the following ingredients are typically added to horse joint supplements:

  • 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.

You may also see the following ingredients listed: Vitamin C, Zinc, Manganese, Lysine, Methioninee, Vitamin B-3, Niacin, Copper, Proline, Bioflavonoids, Devil’s Claw, or Omega 3 & 6.

Hoof Joint Supplements

The wall of the horse hoof is a dermal tissue and requires nutrients that come from a balanced diet. Horse hoof supplements help strengthen the horse hoof and protect hooves from cracks, quarter-cracks, and soreness and tenderness.

Horse hoof supplements typically include the following key ingredients:

  • Biotin
    This B-Vitamin is essential to the growth of strong and healthy horse hooves. Biotin improves the strength of the periople, hoof wall, sole, frog and white line, stimulates keratin production in the hoof’s laminae and coronary band, minimizes weak walls and cracks, and protects the hoof wall exterior from moisture damage.
  • Copper
    Copper is required for bone, cartilage, and elastin formation and the metabolization of iron. In addition, copper improves pigmentation and the structure of the hoof.
  • Lysine
    This amino acid is closely linked to Methionine and is required for efficient protein synthesis, a process essential to the growth and development of your horse. Lysine is usually deficient in most horse diets, making it important to supplement, particularly in young horses.
  • MSM & Methionine
    These sulfur bearing nutrients increase the delivery of hoof building nutrients and support the connective tissues inside the hoof wall. MSM and Methionine expand the blood vessels vital to circulating nutrient rich blood into the small capillaries inside the hoof.
  • Vitamin B-6
    This vitamin aids in protein metabolism and the RNA/DNA synthesis necessary for cellular reproduction.

Horse Skin and Coat Supplements

Your horse’s skin and coat do so much more than help your horse look good. Think of the skin and coat as your horse’s first defense against bacteria, infections, and the elements. The health of your horse’s skin and coat is directly connected to nutrition.

The following ingredients are typically included in horse skin and coat supplements:

  • Omega 3 & 6 Fatty Acids
    Omega 3 & 6 fatty acids prevent moisture loss in skin cells that lead to dry and flaky skin. Omega 3 helps control skin inflammation and gives coats a bright, glossy appearance.
  • Biotin
    Biotin is an essential requirement for the health of dermal and connective tissues.
  • Heat Stabilized Flax Meal
    A digestible source of flax meal, high in Omega 3 that will support the structure and function of skin cells. Normal flax meal has a very short shelf life and can quickly turn rancid, particularly in the summer. Grand Meadows use a special heat stabilized flax meal that has a two-year shelf life.
  • Diamond VTM Yeast
    Is a true, fully-fermented prebiotic yeast culture that supplies a potent combination of nutrients to support effective digestive function and to enhance nutrient absorption in both the small and large intestine. Remove phospholipids, a vital requirement for helping support healthy skin and a deeper improved coat color.
  • Lecithin 
    Lecithin contains phospholipids, a vital requirement for helping support healthy skin and a deeper improved coat color.

Horse Digestion and Immune System Support Supplements

Keeping your horse’s digestion and immune system healthy requires a very fine balance between feeding and managing the stressors of travel and training. The modern approach to feeding can cause your horse’s digestive and immune systems to fall out of balance very quickly. Every horse, regardless of age and activity level can benefit from digestive and immune system supplements.

Horse digestion and immune system supplements support your horse in these ways:

  • Stomach
    Two key ingredients Toxynil PlusTM and Zeolites help protect against the absorption of harmful toxins and to absorb excess stomach acids. Glutamine helps support the health and function of the delicate upper mucosal layer of the stomach.
  • Small Intestine
    MultizymeTM is a comprehensive enzyme blend that supports the enzymatic breakdown of nutrients. Glutamine is essential to the maintenance and growth of the intestinal villi through which nutrients pass into the blood stream. Diamond V Yeast supports the small intestine by breaking down feed supplements, so they are more easily absorbed.
  • Hindgut/Large Intestine
    Aspergillus oryzae and Diamond V Yeast are two powerful tools in supporting bacterial digestion. These two key ingredients work together to support the health of good gut flora that are essential to immune system health and the production of volatile fatty acids which are responsible for 30% of your horse’s energy.

Look for digestion and immune system support supplements that contain specialized ingredients tailored to supporting energy, endurance, immune system support, correcting electrolyte imbalances, and enhancing the absorption of nutrients.

How To Choose the Right Horse Supplements

The best way to choose the right horse supplements is to become an informed consumer. Read all available company and product literature. Read blogs and watch videos about how to supplement your horse safely and correctly. And above all else – ask questions!

Remember, if a company ignores your questions about their horse supplement ingredients – this is not the company for you. And make sure you’re only buying supplements manufactured in an FDA-approved facility and that the manufacturer is a member of the NASC.

You can never be too careful with your horse’s health. Contact us with any questions you have about horse supplement ingredients.

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...