Take a look at some of the most common supplements for horses and how they can benefit your equine companions.
Even if you’re feeding your horse a high quality forage-based diet, it is likely he could benefit from the addition of supplements to help optimize his nutrition, or to assist with an issue unrelated to diet. If supplementing has been on your mind but you’re not sure where to start, here are a few common supplements that tend to benefit most horses at some point in their lives:
The key to helping your horse move comfortably throughout his life is in helping him maintain healthy joints and soft tissue. Daily joint supplements can be started early in life and may help stack the odds in your horse’s favor as he ages. Common ingredients include glucosamine, chondroitin and hyaluronic acid to help lubricate and benefit the joints and maintain the health of soft tissue, and methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) and herbs such as boswellia, turmeric and yucca to help with age-related discomfort.
Horses become tense or anxious for a variety of reasons, ranging from external factors to personality. Daily calming supplements help many horses feel more settled and contain ingredients such as magnesium and thiamine (vitamin B1) to help support the nervous system, chamomile, valerian and l-tryptophan to help relieve restlessness, and inositol to help support a calm demeanor.
Support your horse’s complex digestive system with supplements containing ingredients such as probiotics to promote the production of good intestinal gut flora, prebiotics to feed these good bacteria, yeast cultures to assist the activity of good bacteria in the hindgut, and herbs such as ginger root, marshmallow root, aloe vera and slippery elm bark to coat and protect the stomach lining.
Healthy and sound hooves are vitally important to your horse’s comfort and movement. Hoof health supplements contain ingredients including biotin to support hoof quality and strength, methionine and lysine to support the formation of keratin and collagen; and minerals such as zinc, copper and calcium, plus Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids to help support weak and cracking hooves.
Skin and coat
Environmental forces such as cold weather or sun exposure can affect your horse’s skin and coat, as can a nutritional deficiency. Supplements for skin and coat generally address a nutritional need and contain Omega-3 fatty acids like flaxseed oil or fish oil, vitamins such as vitamins A and E and biotin, and trace minerals such as silicon, zinc and copper.
Finally, be sure to look for the NASC Quality Seal when buying equine supplements. This tells you the product comes from a responsible supplier that has passed a comprehensive facility audit and maintains ongoing compliance with NASC’s rigorous quality standards. Visit nasc.cc/members for a complete list of NASC member companies that have earned the Quality Seal.