View Full Version : How many of you have your horses on Joint supplements

Apr. 27, 2010, 09:10 AM
So my question is what do you do for your horses, how old are they, do they have problems AND What do you use?

I am debating about putting my 7 yr old who is doing the 3'6" this year on a joint supplement.

I know there are two worlds of thought

1. If you do it now before there are problems you will have to do it for ever because his body will stop doing it itself

2. Do it now BEFORE there are problems

Now my horse has NO problems to speak of. If he goes lame it's because he plays way to rough not because he's sore.

Apr. 27, 2010, 09:13 AM
I've had my mare on Cosequin since she was four and a half, she's coming seven this year. I figured do it now before there are problems just to give the joints a boost for health and longevity. Does it make a difference? Don't know, but at least it makes me feel better :)

Apr. 27, 2010, 09:40 AM
Retired Childrens, A/O hunter now 21 has been on joint supplements (GL mix) since he was 6. This was waaaay back when there was only a handful to choose from. Preventative. He was (show) retired sound at 15, still ridden 4+ times a week and jump occasionally. He is just now showing some soreness. He is 15.2
-my opinion is yes

Apr. 27, 2010, 09:52 AM
Have tried most of what's out there. Some work better then others. One problem is the orals tend not to be digested well or there just is not enough in them to do much. Joint injections work well and quickly and are more expensive-but it all goes where it's needed. But that really should be done only after a good vet work up to be sure that is what's going on.

I had the best luck with the oral Hyalauronic acid in gels like Legend and Hyalauronex, they had to eat them but the gel made it easier to get it into them. The IV Legend (also HA) which helps with lubrication within the joint and the IM Adequan which is fairly similar.

Most of the OTC products coming in powder or pellets did little or nothing and it was difficult to tell how much ended up in them...and, if you fed the max recommended or loading dose, it got pricey. There were a couple of Glucosamine/Chondroitin powders that were right up there pricewise but seemed to make a difference-about the same as the monthly Legend or Adequan shot-but only pricewise, the shots worked better. Much less of an actual effect with the orals by comaprison.

I used this stuff after the vet identified joint issues like OCD in a teenaged Hunter and navicular changes in 2 middle aged geldings. Although the navicular is not really a joint mobility issue, it seemd to make them more comfortable, probably because the joints around the hoof and places where small bones come together inside the hoof were a little better lubicated/cushioned.

You might go over to Horse Care and just type in "joint supplements" or "Lubrisyn" in that search box. There have been several very long running threads discussing various products posters have tried and the results...just be prepared for everything from ulcers to barefoot to be suggested as well.

Apr. 27, 2010, 09:57 AM
My dressage-c/t horse is on legends now and then and also oral supplements. I love joint armour from kentucky performance products. Great stuff!! The vets at UGA recommend cortiflex w/ HA or cosequin. I put my daughters 13 year old pony on it after he started having some hock arthritis and it did okay but the joint armour helped him the best. I also use MSM on both. The best way to go is adequin or legends, I tend to like legends better. Our pony got his first legends shot last week also. I also like to use omega powder, good for coat skin and joints as told by the vets.

Apr. 27, 2010, 12:51 PM
I know there are two worlds of thought

1. If you do it now before there are problems you will have to do it for ever because his body will stop doing it itself

2. Do it now BEFORE there are problems

Just wanted to add a third:
3. Don't bother, because there's no evidence the things do anything anyway.

Lots of posters will chime in with accounts of how this or that oral potion changed their horse's life. But the truth is that there is virtually no science that shows that oral joint supplements actually improve joint health.

That said, I haven't seen any support for your argument 1. So if you want to go ahead and supplement, I don't think you need to be put off by a fear that you'll be somehow dooming your horse to a life of dependence.

If you want to do something preventive for your horse--or do some sort of treatment down the line when he needs it--I'd recommend choosing more proven therapies. Adequan and Legend both have solid evidence behind them. And joint injections, when appropriate, absolutely do what they are supposed to do.

Apr. 27, 2010, 12:56 PM
Thanks for the suggestion findeight and to everyone else for chiming in!

Apr. 27, 2010, 01:14 PM
Save your money on oral supplements and go directly into the joint when he needs it or start him on injectable. Whith the exception of Cosequin, there is NO scientific studies on the orals.

Apr. 27, 2010, 01:58 PM
I don't have any of my horses on daily joint supplements. They are all on Glanzen, and for several years I ordered the Glanzen with the joint supplement in it, but never noticed a difference. I also tried many different kinds of joint supplements after an old horse of mine injured himself (unrelated to his joints, but I thought perhaps a supplement could help him be a little more comfortable overall). I never noticed a difference with any of those either.

My riding horses:
1. 9yo 17h OTTB gelding doing the 1.40m jumpers - no problems
2. 13yo 15.3h Oldenburg mare doing the 1.30m/1.40m jumpers for the last 6 years - no problems
3. 9yo 15.1h DWB mare - no supplements at all - 1.10m jumpers - no problems
(I don't think my babies or my pony count for this "study" :lol:)

I have, however, been using Polyglycan before shows for many years. I definitely notice a difference with my mare (who shows at or near the top of her scope level), and I used it for the first time with my TB before his 1.40m debut and he felt incredible at the show after some sort of an accident a month ago (maybe a flip over in the paddock....whatever it was it had him all crooked and NQR), but then I had a bunch of bodywork done on him, had his hocks injected, and used my Back On Track sheet on him for the week before and week of the show. So who knows if the Polyglycan contributed on top of all of that!

I tend to be pretty conservative with joint injections (i.e. I held off on doing my mare's hocks until she was 13 and had been doing the 1.30m/1.40m jumps for several years, and I held off on my boy until I had two bodyworkers tell me that they thought he could benefit from hock injections), so I guess I feel like the Polyglycan (or Adequan or Legend or whatever route an individual prefers) is kind of my "middle of the road" approach. If I could find a joint supplement that I thought really did something I would absolutely add it to the horses' daily feed.

Apr. 27, 2010, 02:37 PM
I have my 7 year old on joint supplements. She is on Platinum Performance, Flex Force HA, Flex Force Glucosamine, and MSM. I have had her on the PP since I bought her at 4, and the HA, extra Glucosamine and MSM since she had some slight lameness issues at 6. I can see the difference between when she is on them and when she is not. I have used the PP CJ in the past with excellent results, but it was too expensive to continue long term.

Apr. 27, 2010, 02:58 PM
i notice a difference when my horse is not on his joint supplement, for what it's worth. he's definitely got more suspension and is all around more supple.

i know this because he wasn't getting his supplements for a period of time, and his gait lost some suspension and got a bit stabby up front. placebo effect, some might say....but that's not possible because i didn't even know he wasn't getting them - he just felt different. and i, thinking nothing had changed, was scratching my head trying to figure out why. turned out we had a groom who simply wasn't feeding supplements when he didn't feel like it. i didn't realize until the barn owners caught him and i did the math and realized my supply had lasted months longer than it should have. mystery solved. now he's back on and moving as well as ever. studies or not, i definitely see a difference.

i feed dynamite's free and easy with a boost of msm.

Apr. 27, 2010, 05:31 PM
I have my six-year-old TB mare on Cosequin Optimized. She had a chip removed from an ankle two years ago and I had two vets recommend Cosequin as a preventative to keep the joint healthy. One works almost exclusively on racehorses and sporthorses so he deals with a lot of joint issues and the other is my regular vet who is very conservative about recommending supplements and who also makes a lot of effort to keep up on the literature. So given two recommentations that I respect I decided to go for it and make the investment. Also, my vet did say it is not addictive in that a horse can go off of it at any time without ill effects.

My mare is 17.1 and big boned and I'm hoping she'll be my A/O hunter.

I'm probably going to put my 15-year-old on it too. He retired sound after nearly 50 starts and though he didn't begin jumping until he was twelve and usually doesn't do anything higher than 3', I think his joints have probably seen enough abuse that he might benefit, and I can't see going with injectables as a preventative.

Apr. 27, 2010, 05:46 PM
This is a topic ive had quite a few lengthy discussions on :) What ive found is there is really no proof that the oral onse worl (but we had great sucess w/ an older pony staying sound and comfortable on BL solution a few years back, but im pretty sure u cant show w/ them on it for drug rules etc) i have a 12 yo event horse who is on ZERO supp. vetted him a few moths back and has really great xrays. if your horse doesn't have any issues it may not be worht it, i think having a FIT horse that is up to the job being asked is the most imp.
that being said. i am contemplating doing something such as legends (or maybe a generic IM glucosamine) because my thinking is with the injection you actually know they are getting it, and from what ive heard people have had a lot of luck with it!

Apr. 27, 2010, 05:46 PM
Current horse, 7yo jumper doing 3'6" and hoping for higher gets nothing. We did do a course of Adequan, for really no reason at all (he does not and has never had any lameness). But we didn't even do the full 7 dose course, we did a 3 dose course (vet recommended this, not sure it's really as effective as the manufacturer's 7 dosage.) He's going to old school route, we don't even wrap at shows.

Now my old event mare got just about every joint supplement under the sun. We tried everything to make her comftorable. Joint injections, adequan monthly, chiro. But she was older and actually had significant arthritis or other problems in joints including: coffins, front fetlocks, hocks, and stifles. She was wrapped, liniment-ed, and poulticed up at every show. FWIW I could tell a difference in her. Used a supplement with Hyalauronic Acid in it that had noticeable effects, but was pricey. Corta-Flex was my cheap stand by that also seemed to help.
More than any supplement with her was proper maintenance. Careful warm-up, cool out, and a carefully planned training schedule. Since she actually had arthritis wrapping/liniment/poultice definitely helped her out at the shows.

One thing I really think is good for their legs and general health is nice long walk out times. Cool off under saddle, hose, and then walk out in hand.

Apr. 27, 2010, 07:00 PM
10 yr old OTTB who recently started some MSM and will start adequan in six months as we start to show more.

Apr. 27, 2010, 10:48 PM
For years I have used Vapco's Flex-It and had superb results. It is oral.
Works on bone and muscle.

Go Fish
Apr. 27, 2010, 11:54 PM
Just wanted to add a third:
3. Don't bother, because there's no evidence the things do anything anyway.

That's my choice...never used them, never will, don't believe in them.

Apr. 28, 2010, 01:11 AM
I do not do any oral supplements. My horse only gets hay and a scoop of Triple Crown Senior. When horse was 16, my vet did some flexions and she was positive in both hocks. I put her on a course of Legend and Adequan which I can do myself along with getting her hocks injected. She is a 1.10 meter jumper/equitation horse. My vet said the orals do not do work and it was better to address a specific problem. Most horses as they age with have some changes to their joints which require some maintenance if they have had a competive career. Supplements can be a real drain on the pocket book.

Apr. 28, 2010, 03:50 AM
I take them and notice a difference. I feed one of my horses Four flex HA and I feel it works well for him.

I know others have said there is no scientific evidence they work but with my own personal research it works.

Now, saying that, whenever I give one of my horses joint supplements he gets freaky... so they do something......

I do love Adiquan and Legend... but unless I am working my horses 'really' hard -- it's quite pricey.

Apr. 28, 2010, 12:44 PM
I put my 10 year old on ReitSport from SmartPak. So far so good. He didn't really have any big issues but thought I would do preventative. I did have his hock and stifles done last winter cause his flexion test showed that he was a little off.

Apr. 28, 2010, 04:38 PM
My horse is currently on Recovery EQ. He's been on at least just an MSM supplement since I got him as a 4 year old from the track. But to me, I believe the Recovery EQ works wonders. I definitely saw a difference between before and after putting him on it. It was recommended by my vet, and I personally think it DOES ACTUALLY work (and isnt just that "piece of mind" by giving a supp, not that I see how throwing away $45 a month would give me a piece of mind).

Apr. 28, 2010, 04:49 PM
My vet said the orals do not do work and it was better to address a specific problem. Most horses as they age with have some changes to their joints which require some maintenance if they have had a competive career. Supplements can be a real drain on the pocket book.

PonyPenny, a lot of vets say what your vet says, and a lot of people feel as you do. I would love to challenge that way of thinking with another factor to consider: vets don't make money on orals. ; ) They do make money on injections.

I have heard what you've said many times from many people- but don't want to just surrender to the idea that because my horse is an athlete, there will be damage, and there's nothing I can do to minimize it today, that I'll just have to try to manage it later.

I believe in balanced nutrition, I suppose, more than just joint support. I feed a balanced program that I'm a HUGE believer in.

I had a rough start with my horse. I got him in April 06, and the first two years I had him were just a parade of issues. I spent more time handwalking than riding and I'm not exaggerating. In May of 07, he was hopping off the left lead behind and what had started as a hitch on left hind had turned into lameness. It was stemming from his SI.

An esteemed vet once told me after 3 respected chiros had failed to help him, and the same vets first SI joint injection had helped briefly then he was off again 30 days later, that my horse would need a second injection and then would probably need injections to his SI joint every year. Said vet rolled their eyes at me when I was upset about that (he had JUST turned 7!) and said, condescendingly "lots of horses need injections for maintenance it's no big deal"

It's been three since I refused to accept that answer and started learning about joint supplements, myofascial bodywork, and took my horse out of the A barn to a place where I could have more control. I found a new trainer to work with a few days a week who has a great background in dressage.

Fast forward three years - now with a heavier training schedule and more jumping in our program, he's sounder than ever - hitch is totally gone - and he has never had another injection. We had a complete show season last year - Champion in our local B division and 5th of 33 in the first round of an A show Medal Final (haha lets not talk about the 2nd round). :lol:

While there are other factors at play as listed above, here are the supplements that have been present in the program along the way:

Horse was on Recovery EQ and Farriers Formula for his supps when he went off.

He had a 3 month layup at a rehab. Here, I tried Cosequin at the above vet's recommendation - vet cited the studies. He did improve, he was on this in rehab...in combination with rest and myofascial work every two months, we got him to where he only had a slight hitch not overt.

After rehab: I switched him to smartpak's smartvites and smartflex repair for 08, to try and save some $, and I saw no negative difference, so i consider Smartflex repair to be as good as Cosequin, FWIW. He was on that for a year. During that year, while working with my awesome trainer who helps me keep him engaged behind, and continuing myofascial work (an appointment roughly every two months), and feeding these supplements, we got the hitch to disappear.

The joint supps were a helpful factor, I believe, as he did well for that year and a half or so and was the soundest he's ever been, and for the longest consistent period of time we were able to stay in full work.

But then I went to the full Dynamite program last year, and he went from going well, to making me go :D :eek: :D - such extra suppleness/suspension. He also went from 16.2 to 16.2 ½ -and it's not an exaggeration, many had mentioned he seemed bigger, and i said no he's just massive, he's 16.2 even like always...but bam, there it was, half an inch. At 9 years old. And he'd just been shod.

It is my belief that the level of engagement and lateral work my trainer has always had us working towards was inviting his body to build more muscle/topline, (we've been with her for two years) but that it was the increased nutritional support of the dynamite program i switched to a year ago that ultimately gave his body the building blocks to create it.

And I think, if it can give him what he needs to build his body in such a manner, what is it giving him to repair it? How much must it be contributing to his body's wellness in general? I would imagine tons.


IMO, western medicine is too focused on cure$, and not enough on prevention. I'm a fan of challenging popular beliefs, though. today, he gets turned out, even though he used to jump out of far higher turnouts at our former more chaotic facility. today he goes on trails that would make my old trainers' eyes pop...even though I was told I'd have to choose between making him a show horse or making him a trail horse. And no, he doesn't need injections every six months either. *knock wood*

And, through my experiences, I am now a big believer that a comprehensive nutrition program (not a single joint supplement fed in isolation) that gives the horse's body what it needs will help horses to repair their own cells, help keep soft tissue strong, minimize concussion on joints, and help joints produce proper lubrication and maintain healthy cartilage. I believe that proper diet, in coordination with a well balanced exercise routine and regular bodywork can stave off a lot of the damage (no, not all) but can stave off a LOT of the damage that so many in our sport have come to accept as de rigeur.

I don't want to wait until my horse starts limping. I want to find a way to make it so he doesn't limp. Or at least stave it off for absolutely as long as possible.

Apr. 28, 2010, 05:06 PM
i'd also like to note that not all supplements are created equal. many supplements contain minerals that are not chelated, because the process of chelation is more expensive. so, just because something is listed in the ingredients does not mean your horse will benefit from it. chelation or the lack therof makes a HUGE difference in whether or not you are supplementing your horse - or your shavings when your horse pees them all out, unused. minerals in their natural or salt state cannot be absorbed, they have to be chelated with carrier proteins for the body to absorb them.

so, long story short, be sure your supp has minerals that are chelated if you want to ensure that your horse will actually get what you're paying for.

Apr. 28, 2010, 05:16 PM
Outstanding post KristieBee. Can you summarize exactly what your Full Dynamite is now? What did you change from 2008 to 2009 (which sounds like a fabulous year!) :)

Apr. 28, 2010, 05:36 PM
Outstanding post KristieBee. Can you summarize exactly what your Full Dynamite is now? What did you change from 2008 to 2009 (which sounds like a fabulous year!) :)

It was a fabulous year, thank you :) And a long time coming! We certainly paid our dues waiting two years to get in the show ring.

As for vites, in 08, he was on SmartVites for horses that have a grass hay diet, and SmartFlex ultra, and Smartcalm.

In 09, I switched him to Dynamite TNT. That replaced the SmartVites because it has a multi in it (as well as a lot of other stuff, it kind of combines all the best of the Dynamite horse supps in one) but for awhile I kept him on the SmartFlex and the SmartCalm as well (I was scared to let go, haha). When I saw his body start to change, I was a believer, and soon I switched him to Dynamite full stop. In the meantime I had also started taking the Dynamite vitamins for humans, and that played a big role in the decision to switch him over fully too. Because I felt *great.* :)

So he's still on the TNT, and I boost the joint support with Dynamite's Free and Easy and extra MSM instead of SmartFlex Repair, and replaced the SmartCalm with Dynamite's Easy Boy. I use half the amount of Easy Boy than I used to need of the SmartCalm for an even better effect.

Apr. 28, 2010, 05:37 PM
I don't have my horse on ANY supplements, at all. He's fit, super shiny and healthy, great feet, never lame, showing the "A" circuit at an "A" barn, 8 yo 16hh Holsteiner gelding, owned him since he was a just turned 5 yo.

I don't really have a reason to feed him joint supplements, and the lack of printing press in my basement advises me to try and fix something that's not broken.

Good quality hay, good quality grain, lots of TLC and a proper fitness program work wonders.

Apr. 29, 2010, 10:39 AM
My 16 y/o TB has been on Cosequin due to arthritis since he was 12. It was vet reccomended.

Give and Take
Apr. 30, 2010, 01:04 AM
I have 3 horses and something different works for each of them. My 9yr old westfalen 1.2m jumper does best on a mix of glucosamine sulfate, glucosaime hcl, and msm - no joint injections. I get the glucosamine from msm-msm.com.

My 11yr old tb 1.2m jumper is doing well on multi-flex from Multivet and msm. Horse journal did an joint supplement review and it was highly rated. My westfalen did not do so well on this, so I switched him back to the straight glucosamine. I've had the tb's hocks injected once but didn't notice a difference.

My 18yr old tb ex-jumper now lower level dressage horse does well on Recovery Eq, the kind without HA. He gets a half dose, otherwise he's too rowdy for the friend who uses him for dressage. He hasn't had a joint injection for about 5 years.

I don't believe there is one right supplement for each horse, so I recommend planning on doing 30day trials on a couple different supplements to find what works best.

Personally, I've seen the least impact with oral HA. Although, I've had good success with Legend IV.