Best Ingredients for Horse Joint Supplements

Horse Jumping Bending Joints

Best Ingredients for Horse Joint Supplements

Are you thinking of buying your horse joint supplements? Or do you already give your horse supplements to help their troublesome joints? Have you ever thought about what ingredients go into those supplements? It’s something definitely worth exploring.

We often hear endless chatter about products on the market that work well, but more so, products that don’t work so well and are deemed ‘rubbish’. This could have a lot to do with the ingredients in the formula and how compatible those ingredients are with your horse’s system.

There are a whole host of ingredients that can be used in joint supplements and some seem to work much better than others. We’ve taken a look into some of the very best ingredients for you (you’re welcome) that are used in today’s modern joint supplements, to make life easier for you in deciding what may work best for your horse. All of these ingredients have been proven to effectively support your horse’s joints and help with mobility issues.

Horse Joints

Let’s take a scan at some of those ingredients most commonly used that you need to look out for when purchasing horse joint supplements.


Glucosamine HCL

Glucosamine is undoubtedly one of the best single ingredient in any joint supplement. Much research has taken place on the subject of how this ingredient can help joint pain in horses and the outcome has been phenomenal. Most joint supplements on the market will include a varying degree of glucosamine in the formula, however, the best results have occurred from higher levels of this substance. It isn’t uncommon to find 99%-100% pure Glucosamine in horse joint supplements, since it is highly effective.

This fast-acting, powerful ingredient has a soothing effect that aims to reduce arthritic symptoms and relieve pain. It has lubricating properties that act as a shock absorber, cushioning your horse’s joints during exercise. It also helps to build cartilage around the tough connective tissue that protects the joints. From older horses with arthritis to competition horses doing fast, intensive work, Glucosamine looks to be an all-around winner when it comes to effectiveness.

Hyaluronic Acid

Hyaluronic Acid is another very common ingredient that you will see used routinely in horse joint supplements. It is used quite frequently alongside Glucosamine for a maximum effect. Similar to Glucosamine, it helps to lubricate your horse’s joints, making them much more watery. It then seeks to trap fluid within the cartilage, providing increased flexibility.

Lubrication is so important for proper joint function in horses and keeping the joint well-greased, helps with the impact exercise can bring. It is proven to be very effective in reducing pain, heat and joint swelling. It can also be particularly helpful for horses with injuries, such as lacerations and abrasions thanks to its wound healing properties.


Methylsulfonylmethane, otherwise known as MSM, is a popular horse joint supplement ingredient that is usually combined with other highly regarded ingredients such as Glucosamine and Hyaluronic Acid. It helps to fully support the strong connective tissue around your horse’s joints, particularly after rigorous exercise. This can be a great solution for horse’s that carry out hard, fast work such as eventing or racing as it helps to speed up the muscle recovery time.


It can also be a very successful solution for treating chronic arthritis, particularly in older horses. It helps to manage pain and is a viable aid for healing an injury such as wounds and lacerations.

Chondroitin sulphate

Chondroitin sulphate is not strictly a pain reliever in its own right and a supplement with this ingredient alone would not be very effective in helping the joints. However, it is known to be very effective when working closely together with other ingredients. One of the key ingredients Chondroitin works best with is Glucosamine. These two together are an absolute powerhouse and work hand in hand together to create a powerful formula.

Combining these two ingredients is technically classed as a ‘Glycosaminogly’ which helps to slow down the breakdown of cartilage. Together these two ingredients are a very effective pain reliever and really are designed to take the edge off. Chondroitin is great for use with horses who suffer from arthritic symptoms, which are particularly common as a horse ages. It helps to delay the cartilage deterioration rate, whilst still managing the pain associated with arthritis, which can be particularly troublesome for horses.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is one of the most common supplements used in human health and is praised for its impressive benefits. The antioxidant properties help to neutralize harmful free radicals throughout your horse’s body. It is responsible for the formation and maintenance of collagen, which is absolutely vital for healthy skin, hair and most importantly, joints. Your horse’s body is often under a lot of pressure, which takes a massive toll on the joints.

Vitamin C is an absorbic acid and is responsible for the development, growth and repair of joint tissue. This vitamin is involved with many aspects of the body aside from joints such as the maintenance of healthy bones and teeth, immune system support and wound healing. This is a great all round ingredient that targets your horse’s whole body.

Amino Acids

Amino acids are regularly used in natural horse supplements and are proving to be a popular choice of ingredient to use in helping horses’ joints. There is a mixture of amino acids that are usually used in horse supplements to provide the desired effects and these would include:

  • Arginine – Helping with Kidney Function, Immune System Support and Wound Healing
  • Glycine – Building on Muscle Strength, increases Muscle Mass and is a key Energy Source
  • Glutamine – Maintaining Cell Volume and Hydration, promotes Energy and boosts the Immune System.
  • Isoleucine – Helps regulate Blood Sugar Levels and Muscle Recovery after Exercise.
  • Leucine – Encourages the Production of Energy, Boosts Muscle Metabolism and helps Muscle Contraction.
  • L-lysine – Converts Fat to Energy for Bone Health, Healthy Coat, and Weight Management
  • Ornithine – For Strength and Endurance, reduces Fatigue and promotes Muscle Cell Contraction,
  • Valine – Promotes Repair, decreases Stress Levels and supports Cognitive Immune and Nervous System Function.

Amino acids are considered the building blocks of protein. The body takes in the acids from the supplement and turns them into proteins, making it responsible for healing a cellular level.

Horse Joint Supplements
Popular Horse Joint Supplements

Green Lipped Mussel

Green Lipped Mussel is a very unique ingredient that is used more and more frequently in horse joint supplements.  Known scientifically as ‘Perna Canaliculus’, this ingredient is produced in New Zealand and is farmed on hanging ropes. For all you environmentally conscious out there, this method of production is said to be a very eco-friendly way of farming.

Made with Omega 3 fatty acids ETAs, EPAs and DHAs, it also contains naturally occurring Chondroitin Sulphate which we mentioned earlier. Omega 3 fatty acids are known for their vast health benefits such as maintaining heart and brain function, as well as aiding healthy skin and eyes. One of the key benefits, however, is good joint health.

Omega 3 fatty acids help aid the body’s own natural anti-inflammatory process and contribute towards easing stiffness after training sessions. They are known for their natural soothing and fast-acting properties, so you can see why they are such a popular choice for horse joint supplements.

Avocado Soy Unsaponifiables

Avocado Soy Unsaponifiables, otherwise referred to as ASU, is made from avocado and beans and is a naturally occurring ingredient of vegetable extracts. If you have been looking specifically for a natural joint care product then ASU may be the ingredient for you.

It can be often found in horse joint supplements containing both Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate and seems to be a great combination once combined. Research has found that ASU does not have much of an effect in reducing signs of pain or lameness in horses, however, it does reduce articular cartilage erosion and the production of inflammatory proteins. Combining ASU with other pain-relieving ingredients is usually the favourable option for providing an all-around joint care solution.


Very little research has gone into the effectiveness of Resveratrol for horses as a joint-care ingredient, however, it has been touted as having amazing anti-inflammatory effects by many horse owners around the world.

Resveratrol supplements contain Sodium Hyaluronic acid which is great at reducing lameness severity and relieving inflammation of the joints. Its antioxidant properties also promote healthy metabolic function and cardiovascular health. It can be purchased as a standalone supplement in powder form, but can also be combined with other ingredients such as Hyaluronic Acid.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is an essential nutrient for horses and helps to combat the effects of free radical production that can damage membranes as well as components of the cells. Horses with less access to lush grasses can quite often become Vitamin E deficient, so it is important they are supplemented for this loss. The signs of deficiency are often not easy to spot, but joint and muscle degeneration are high up on this list of symptoms.

Vitamin E aids your horse’s mobility and suppleness. This is particularly important for equine athletes who carry out intense work and need their joints to be free moving and flexible. It has shown to be very efficient for certain equines in addition to equine athletes such as pregnant mares, stallions and foals.

Zinc (Minerals)

Minerals are vitally important in your horse’s diet and Zinc is one of those key minerals your horse needs. Zinc is required for over 70 different enzymes to function properly within the body and helps to develop and form collagen.

This ingredient can be a great addition to any horse joint supplement and plays an important role in maintaining cartilage. There are other minerals as well as zinc that can be found in joint supplements such as Magnese and Copper which have a similar function.

It is fair to say that almost all home mixed, un-supplemented diets will not contain enough of these ingredients, particularly for athletic horses. You can see why it is so important to add these ingredients into your horse’s feeds manually and how they can be essential for every day joint care.

Devil’s Claw (Herbs)

Devil’s Claw may sound like an evil ingredient, but fear not, this is a 100% pure, natural herb that is widely used in many horse joint supplements. This herb is native to South Africa and is praised for its potent soothing properties. It has proven to be particularly useful for older horses with joint conditions such as arthritis.

You won’t often find horse joint supplements with this ingredient alone, but combining with other supplements such as, Glucosamine or Chondroitin sulphate can work wonders.

There are many herbs that can be found in horse joint supplements that all have a very similar function. Popular herbal ingredients aside from Devil’s Claw include, ‘Yucca’ and ‘Boswellia’.

Best Ingredients for Horse Joint Supplements Overview

Hopefully you have found the information above useful. There are many joint supplemental ingredients to choose from and the market is just getting bigger and bigger every day. New types of ingredients are hitting the market all the time as more research is carried out on this subject.

Finding a supplement with combined ingredients can be a great start. For instance Glucosamine (to help rebuild cartilage tissue), Hyaluronic acid (to help lubricate the joints), Chondroitin sulphate (to work with Glucosamine as a pain reliever) and Devil’s Claw (to provide soothing properties). This could potentially be a great combination!

As horse owners, it can be difficult to find out what works best for your horse and as with human health, what works for one may not necessarily be effective for another. It can quite often be a case of trial and error, but starting with the ingredients above can give you the best possible chance of finding the right combinations for your equine friend.

Always speak to your vet if you are unsure about any supplements or combinations of ingredients within those supplements. All horses are individuals and each case may be very different.

You may also like to read

Horse Joint Supplement: How to choose the right one

Best Horse Joint Supplements UK



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