Proud horse owners can attest to the joys and pleasantries of caring for and riding their beloved equine companion. Nothing quite beats the thrill of galloping across lush fields, or the satisfaction of a successful trail ride – regardless of whether you have a miniature horse or a sturdy draft breed.
But along with the joys, horse ownership also comes with its fair share of responsibilities, chief among them being the commitment to ensure your horse’s health and mobility. Some horses, particularly those of advancing age or with a history of injury, experience joint pain and discomfort that can diminish their quality of life. As such, implementing efficient and effective horse joint supplements into their diet becomes the key to helping them stay active and comfortable.
Causes of Joint Issues in Horses
In order to find an appropriate solution to a specific health issue, you’d need to understand the root cause of the problem. The way the skeletal system works, the bones and joints naturally experience some deterioration over time, due to a variety of factors, including:
Aging and Natural Degradation
As our four-legged companions age, their joints naturally become more susceptible to wear and tear – leading to increased stiffness and discomfort. The inner cushioning between bones, known as cartilage, is particularly vulnerable to age-related deterioration as it’s composed of essential proteins that, over time, can become depleted.
Once this happens, the bones become exposed to each other, leading to painful friction and irritation. When you begin treatment with horse supplements for joints, you focus on providing the necessary nutrients to the cartilage and help fight this natural process. As time passes, you should begin to observe a gradual improvement in your horse’s mobility.
Injuries and Trauma
Sometimes, an animal experiences outside trauma, leading to joint discomfort and inflammation. It can be anything from a stumble on the field to an unfortunate accident in the barn – any type of physical impact can cause significant injury to the horse’s joint and make movement uncomfortable.
Even if the site of the injury doesn’t appear to be swollen or inflamed, you should have it examined by a veterinary professional. They can assess the area and suggest a course of action to help keep your horse comfortable. Oftentimes, supplements are required long after the area has healed to promote healthy joint function and reduce any discomfort your horse may be feeling.
Overexertion and High-Impact Activities
Horses are inherently powerful and athletic creatures. But it’s important to note that, like humans, they too need time to rest and recover after strenuous physical activity. The more intense the movements, such as those involved in showjumping and barrel racing, the more pressure is put on your horse’s joints – leading to wear and tear of the connective tissues.
To protect your horse from injury, regular breaks between high-impact activities are essential – with at least a day of rest in between. This will give them time to regenerate and heal, thus allowing them to perform more efficiently and comfortably during subsequent events. Additionally, feeding your horse joint supplements will help replenish the proteins they’ve lost while participating in strenuous activities.
Obesity and Poor Nutrition
It’s no secret that horses require quality nutrition to stay healthy and active. Insufficient nutrients can put your horse at an increased risk of joint pain and discomfort. This is because the proteins required to keep the connective tissues intact simply aren’t present in their regular diet.
In the instance of obesity, the extra weight can be incredibly taxing on their joints, leading to inflammation and pain. To reduce the risk of joint issues due to poor nutrition or obesity, you should turn to a horse joint supplement program. This will provide your steed with the necessary components to keep their joints healthy and functioning correctly, while also helping them reach a more ideal body weight.
Key Ingredients in Horse Joint Supplements
So what should you look for when selecting a horse joint supplement? In general, the most effective products contain five main components:
This is basically an amino sugar that’s naturally present in the cartilage of your horse’s joints. It helps to keep the tissues lubricated, reducing the loss of fluid and providing cushioning for the bones. When taken as a supplement, it helps to replenish the store of glucosamine in the horse’s body, thereby reducing inflammation and restoring its ability to move comfortably.
Next up is a compound known as chondroitin sulfate – it works in tandem with glucosamine and provides additional lubrication to the cartilage. It’s also essential in producing and maintaining healthy connective tissues, allowing your horse to experience a reduction in joint pain. Most supplements contain a combination of these two nutrients, providing maximum relief.
A well-known component of joint health supplements, hyaluronic acid helps to prevent cartilage deterioration. It also promotes healthy joint fluid production, allowing the bones to move freely without any friction. It’s normally found in animal-based products, but can sometimes be sourced from plant sources as well.
This is an organic sulfur compound that helps to reduce inflammation, stiffness and pain. It’s also known to help promote the formation of healthy connective tissues in horses, which in turn helps to improve their overall mobility. Their regular diet may not contain enough of this nutrient, so introducing a supplement containing MSM is ideal.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Found in fish oil and other animal-based products, omega-3 fatty acids are essential for maintaining healthy joint function. They help to reduce inflammation and protect against the natural deterioration of the cartilage, giving your horse the ability to move more freely without experiencing discomfort. They can also help keep your horse’s coat shiny and healthy when taken regularly.