Glucosamine for Horses Explained

You may have already heard of Glucosamine. It is a popular ingredient that can regularly be found in both horse joint supplements as well as human supplements. It is quite possibly one of the best ingredients used to help treat joint issues in horses. Most research has shown its effects to be very promising. Let’s take a closer look at what Glucosamine for horses, how it works and why you should use this ingredient as supplementation to your horse’s diet.

What is Glucosamine?

Glucosamine is a popular ingredient used in joint supplements for horses and these days you will be hard pushed to find it not appearing in most of these types of formulas. It is a powerful, fast-acting sugar compound that is already made naturally in the horse’s body. It can most commonly be found in many of the horse’s molecules in addition to their joint cartilage. There is also a small amount present in the horses’ bloodstream however you will find deficiencies of this sort are very rare indeed.

So how is Glucosamine made? Glucosamine that is produced for use in horse joint supplements is most commonly made from natural sources. Chitin is the main source and is processed from the hard covering of shellfish such as shrimp and lobster. You will find that it is usually harvested before being used in supplements.

This isn’t to say that there aren’t other ways of producing Glucosamine. It can very successfully be processed in a laboratory environment too. This type of processing is happening more and more these days to cater to vegetarians and those with fish allergies. When processing in a laboratory environment you can expect this to be made up from fungus (Aspergillus Niger) and by fermented corn.

What Does Glucosamine Do for Horses?

Glucosamine can be a very helpful ingredient to horses. In particular, those that suffer from joint-related issues. Joint supplements that contain Glucosamine are designed to help your horse move much more easily and seek to reduce the impacts of arthritis, joint pain and lameness.

Your horse must be able to move smoothly and feel comfortable with everyday movement. A fair amount of research has been carried out on Glucosamine for horses. It has been highly praised for its soothing effects and fast-acting reduction of arthritic pain. It has many lubricating properties that essentially act as a shock absorber to effectively cushion the joints during exercise and everyday movement.

Older horses can also massively benefit from supplements containing Glucosamine. Especially since they tend to feel the effects of ongoing injuries with age. They are also prone to osteoarthritis in their later years, leaving owners with no choice, but to administer either joint supplements or joint injections.

Glucosamine overall can be very beneficial to reducing inflammation and helping to manage the pain associated with joint-related issues. It can also be particularly helpful for horse’s that do a lot of hard groundwork (such as on the roads) or taking part in show jumping and cross country where the terrain can often be challenging for the joints.

Dosages of Glucosamine

Glucosamine can be purchased in various forms. One of the most common types used for horses is a powder form. This preferred as it can very easily be mixed into feeds without fuss. For most supplements, you should expect to feed 1-2 scoops a day, but this will vary from brand to brand so you must always read the packaging carefully so not to overdose.

Glucosamine can also be bought in other forms such as liquid, syringe and tablet form, but you will find most owners will choose a powder supplement with liquid being a close second. Syringes can be harder to use, but the key benefit with this method is there will be no wastage.

In terms of Glucosamine content, this will also vary widely from brand to brand. Many manufacturers choose to use Glucosamine combined with other ingredients such as Chondroitin, MSM and Hyaluronic acid. This is said to be a powerful formula that many believe is the ideal combination.

Others believe that pure Glucosamine is the way to go. There are brands on the market that use 99% pure Glucosamine and very little else in their formula. Feedback and research have shown that supplements with a higher level of Glucosamine are far more effective than those that have a much lower content or do not contain Glucosamine at all.

In general, Glucosamine works very well for most horse’s. However, each horse must be treated as individuals as with human health and what works well for one may not work well for another and vice versa.

Why Should You Use Glucosamine on Horses?

No owner really likes the idea of using glucosamine to supplement their horse. It is, however, often necessary for proper joint function and to improve performance. Many horse’s old and young suffer from joint-related issues that can often be painful and unmanageable if ignored. As a responsible owner, it is down to you to ensure your horse is as comfortable as possible and receives the right type of care they need.

Glucosamine is known to really take the edge off when it comes to joint pain. It also helps cushion your horse’s joints that helps with impact on the often hard ground. This can be a particularly helpful ingredient for competition horses or those in hard, fast work. The impact to horse’s joints when they land after a jump can be an enormous amount of pressure. Joint issues are therefore a regular occurrence. Some types of horse’s Glucosamine could help are:

Glucosamine can help horses with existing joint issues, however, can also be very helpful to try and prevent further joint problems. Lots of owners choose to supplement their horses with glucosamine from an early age. This is in the hope this will prevent serious issues later on down the line. Older horses can benefit massively from this ingredient too. It can massively help them to move more freely, reduce pain and live a happy healthy life.


In conclusion, Glucosamine is a very popular ingredient used to help effectively treat joint issues in horses. It can be used as a stand-alone ingredient as well as combined with other ingredients such as MSM, Hyaluronic Acid and Chondroitin.

Although much research has already been carried out it is fair to say that much more scientific research is still needed to truly understand the full effectiveness of this ingredient but it has ultimately proven to be safe for use in horses and can be a great treatment for horses with joint issues.

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