Joint supplements—who are they really for?

Picture this: you just bought a new horse and the shopping list for your favorite new four-legged friend is already a mile long. It includes everything from blankets and brushes to salt licks and stall plates. But there is something more important that you may not have thought to add to the list: a joint supplement.

Why does my horse need a joint supplement? 

You may be thinking, but you don’t even know my horse. How do you know he needs a joint supplement? In return, we’ve got a question for you: do any of the following phrases describe your horse? Young horse, horse in light work, horse in heavy work, performance horse, horse in recovery, or old/senior horse? If so, your horse may be at risk for osteoarthritis, because arthritic changes have been found in all these types of horses.
That’s right, osteoarthritis can happen in any horse! Healthy joints are key to a your horse’s success (and happiness)! A 1999 study in the Equine Veterinary Journal found arthritic changes in a herd of wild mustangs, which led the researchers to conclude that osteoarthritis (also known as Degenerative Joint Disease [DJD] or simply “arthritis”) is a natural part of the aging process for horses, even if they don’t spend their lives in heavy work. These same researchers further suggested that that the stresses of training may accelerate the osteoarthritic process. Since all horses are at risk for developing arthritis, providing proactive support is a smart choice for riders who have horses of any age and workload.

When is the best time to start my horse on a joint supplement?

Now! Joint supplements contain ingredients such as glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, and hyaluronic acid and are used to help keep joints healthy and avoid future problems. This means that the best time to start a joint supplement is actually before your horse starts to show signs of joint pain and discomfort.

My old horse is already showing signs of discomfort. Can he still benefit from a joint supplement?

Without a doubt, joint supplements are also a smart choice for senior horses because they can help ensure your horse has a steady supply of the ingredients he needs to cope with the added stress his aging joints are under. In addition, some joint supplements are specifically designed to help support a normal inflammatory response and manage joint discomfort because they contain ingredients such as MSM, devil’s claw, and yucca.

There are so many joint supplements out there. How can I tell which one is right for my horse?

Shopping for a joint supplement might feel overwhelming, but we’ve got three ways to make the process easier:
  1. Browse our top picks. There’s a reason why so many customers are raving about these products.
  2. Try our SmartFlex Finder. With just a few clicks, you can get a customized SmartFlex joint supplement recommendation for your horse.
  3. Get a FREE supplement consultation. Our hand-picked Horse Health Experts are real riders with college degrees who receive hours of equine health training each month. Sign up for a free consultation, give them a call 1-888-752-5171, or shoot them an email
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