Best Ingredients for Horse Joint Supplements

At some point or another, it is likely your horse may need some assistance with their joint care. Joint problems aren’t reserved for just older horses as some may believe. The best joint supplements can be used all stages of a horse life. In this Pilot Equine post, we will take a look at the Best Ingredients for Horse Joint Supplements

It is also common for younger horses to also experience issues with their joints. Competition horses and those in fast heavy work can often find their joints deteriorate at a faster rate. This can lead to painful arthritis and inflammation. 

You will often hear owners complaining about how joint supplements don’t work well for their horse. One of the key causes of this failure is the ingredients. What may work for some horse’s well often don’t work for others and vice versa. There are so many combinations of ingredients used in supplements these days. It is important to understand exactly what you are buying and feeding your horse.

Having a good knowledge of what ingredients are included in horse joint supplements is vital. It can be the difference between a product that really works well and one that does not. You will often find the same ingredients come up time and time again in supplements. Here we are going to take a closer look at what those ingredients are and how they might be able to help your horse’s joints. 

Glucosamine Supplements for Horses

Without a doubt, Glucosamine is one of the most popular ingredients used in horse joint supplements. There is so much research that can be found on this ingredient and the powerful benefits it has for horses with joint issues, in particular, those with Osteoarthritis.

Glucosamine is an amino sugar that is often found in a wide variety of horse joint supplements. Its key aim is to reduce arthritic pain. It could also help to decrease the frequency of joint injections your horse needs. It has amazing lubricating properties that act as a shock absorber. In turn, this effectively cushions the joints during exercise and day to day movement.

Many believe Glucosamine will help to delay the deterioration rate of cartilage, whilst still effectively managing the pain most associated with arthritis, which can be very troublesome for horses. It is a fast-acting supplement that can relieve pain sometimes as quickly as 10-15 days.

Glucosamine works particularly well with a variety of ingredients, in particular Chondroitin. It’s true to say that Chondroitin isn’t a pain reliever in its own right, however, it is known to be very effective when working closely together Glucosamine. Together, Glucosamine and Chondroitin are very effective pain relievers and are designed to take the edge off.

MSM for Horses

MSM is often referred to by its scientific name, Methylsulfonylmethane, but you will likely see this listed on product labels as MSM. This is a highly popular ingredient for horse joint supplements that many owners say works very well with dealing with problems in their horse’s joints. You will most often see MSM combined with other highly regarded ingredients such as Glucosamine, Chondroitin and Hyaluronic Acid.

It helps to completely support the strong connective tissue that lies around your horse’s joints and can be particularly useful after rigorous exercise. For horse’s that carry out hard and fast work such as racing or eventing, MSM can really help to speed up the muscle recovery time.

It can also be a very successful solution for treating osteoarthritis and chronic arthritis that can regularly be seen in older horses. It assists to manage pain and is a great aid for healing injuries such as lacerations and wounds.

MSM works in a way that reduces the blood markers for inflammation and oxidation. Additional benefits of this sought after ingredient can include healthy skin, coat and hooves and is often found in products that promote these types of health benefits.

Chondroitin sulphate

Chondroitin sulphate is a great ingredient that can be found in a wide variety of horse joint supplements. It is not strictly a pain reliever on its own and supplements that contain this ingredient alone are not usually very effective in helping the joints. That being said, it is known to be highly effective if combined with other pain-relieving ingredients. As a typical example, one of the key ingredients Chondroitin works best with is Glucosamine. When these two are combined you can be sure of a powerful formula that does generally speaking work very well for most horses.

In scientific terms, combining these two amazing ingredients is classed as a ‘Glycosaminogly’ which slows down the breakdown of cartilage significantly. These two ingredients mixed together are an extremely effective pain reliever and are designed to really take the edge off.

If your horse suffers from severe arthritic symptoms, Chondroitin can be a great solution, particularly for older horse’s as they age. It helps to delay the deterioration rate of cartilage, whilst still managing the pain associated with arthritis. 

Hyaluronic Acid for Horses

Hyaluronic Acid is a rather common ingredient that can be seen routinely used in horse joint supplements. It is used quite regularly alongside Glucosamine which is said to provide a maximum effect. Similarly to Glucosamine, it can help to lubricate your horse’s joints, thus making them much more watery and hydrated. It then seeks to trap fluid within the cartilage, providing increased flexibility.

Lubrication is vitally important for proper joint function in horses. By allowing the joint to stay well-greased it will help with the impact of exercise. It is proven to be very effective in reducing heat, pain and joint swelling. You will find that this ingredient can also be particularly helpful for horses with injuries, such as lacerations and abrasions thanks to its wound healing properties.

Hyaluronic Acid can be purchased as a stand-alone ingredient for horses as either an oral tablet or gel form. It is commonly used for horses with injuries such as lacerations and abrasions thanks to its wonderful healing properties for wounds in particular. However, more often than not you will find Hyaluronic Acid used as a combination with both Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate.


You may not associate vitamins as being a key ingredient for horse joint supplements. We always just assume that our horse is receiving all the vitamins and minerals they need to form their regular feed. This is often not the case. Receiving extra vitamins can be an enormous help in dealing with joint issues.

There are a variety of vitamins that can often be seen in horse joint supplements. It is fair to say that vitamins alone may not completely eliminate joint issues and the symptoms associated with that. They can, however, be a great help when combined with other types of powerful ingredients.

Vitamin C is one type of vitamin you will see in most of these types of horse supplements. This can be a wonderful add on ingredient and can give you peace of mind that your horse is receiving some extra nutrition their bodies need. Vitamin C can help to neutralize harmful free radicals throughout your horse’s body thanks to its antioxidant properties. When referring to joint care in particular this vitamin is responsible for the formation and maintenance of collagen which is essential for healthy joints, tissue and skin. It can be a very useful supplement for sports performance horses whose bodies can be found under a lot of pressure frequently.

Vitamin D is often known as the ‘Sunshine Vitamin’ can also be seen in some horse joint supplements. This can be highly beneficial since deficiencies can be seen regularly in both horses and humans.

Amino Acids for Horse Joint Supplements

Amino acids are used frequently in natural horse supplements. They are proving to be an extremely popular addition to many supplements that help horse’s joints. There are a whole host of amino acids that are regularly used in horse supplements to provide the maximum effect 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 to be the building blocks of protein. The body absorbs these acids from the supplement and turns them directly into proteins, making it responsible for healing a cellular level. 

Common Herbs in Joint Supplements

Many still associate natural remedies to be complete rubbish, but this is simply not true. Herbs can have some great healing properties and can be highly beneficial for horses suffering from joint issues. It is fair to say that Herbs alone may not be the overall solution to the problem. However, the addition of these combined with other powerful ingredients such as Glucosamine can work wonders. Some herbs you would find most commonly in horse joint supplements are:

Yucca Root – This is one of the richest sources of steroidal saponins. It can heavily reduce inflammation and pain in horses as effectively as lots of conventional medicines.

Alfalfa – this is high in calcium and can prevent OCD and other bone-related problems in horses that are still developing. Calcium is most important for developing bone.

Devil’s Claw – This herb is becoming most popular for use in horse joint supplements. It is a native plant of the Southern African countries. The roots of the plant are often fed to horses with muscle tightness, due to the soothing nature of the active components Harpagosides.

Nettle Leaf – This is stinging nettle that is useful for addressing arthritis and rheumatism as well as sweet itch and laminitis.

Turmeric Root – this is suitable for horses suffering from stiff joints as well as itchy skin conditions. It also offers support to the digestive system.

Celery Seed – this is commonly fed to horses that require additional joint support. The seeds are a warming tonic, ideal for horses that are run down or tired.

Black Cohosh Root – this is a member of the buttercup family. The roots of the herb are commonly used medicinally to treat arthritic symptoms.

Ginger Root – this herb has natural anti-inflammatory properties that are said to really assist with joint pain issues.

Cayenne Pepper – this can aid sore muscles, sprains and joint pain or the reaction of horses to selenium shot in the chest.

Zinc for Horses

Minerals are a very important addition to your horse’s diet. Just because you are providing them with good quality feed does not mean they are receiving all the minerals they need. Zinc is one of those key minerals that your horse does need. It is required for over 70 different enzymes to be able to function properly within the horse’s body. It can also help to successfully develop and form collagen.

This ingredient can be a fantastic addition to any horse joint supplement. It tends to play a very important role in maintaining cartilage. There are many other types of minerals in addition to zinc that can be found in joint supplements such as Copper and Manganese which have a very similar function.

It is true to say that almost all home mixed diets that have not been supplemented will not contain anywhere near enough of these ingredients. It is clear to see why it is so vital to add these ingredients into your horse’s feeds manually. They can be absolutely essential for routine joint care.

Resveratrol for Horses

Unfortunately, there has only been a very small amount of research carried out 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 high amounts of Sodium Hyaluronic acid which is said to be a great solution for reducing the lameness severity in horses and relieving inflammation of the joints. It has powerful antioxidant properties that also help promote a healthy metabolic function and cardiovascular health. Resveratrol can be purchased as a standalone supplement in powder form, but can also be combined with other ingredients such as Hyaluronic Acid.

Best Ingredients for Horse Joint Supplements Conclusion

It is always a wise idea to read the ingredients lists thoroughly for any joint supplements you may be purchasing for your horse. A good combination of some of the ingredients mentioned above is always a very good start. Try to stick to supplements that contain key ingredients, but limit the amount of other unnecessary ingredients that do not directly relate to helping with joint care issues.

You will find that with most supplements it is a case of trial and error. What works very well for one horse may not work well for another. Try not to get too disheartened if your initial attempts do not work as planned. There are some great combinations you can try. In the end, you will be sure to find one specific formula that is likely to work well for your horse once you find it.

Freedom by Pilot Equine

Choosing a joint supplement is hard. Freedom by Pilot Equine is the premier horse joint supplement. With absolutely no junk, bulk or fillers, Freedom is the perfect Joint Supplement for your horse.

Read more about Freedom here.