Are you considering putting your horse on a dietary supplement to improve his quality of life, health, or temperament? Supplements can cater to your horse’s general well-being, or maybe even target in a specific behavioral or health problem. They are generally given in the form of powder or pellets mixed into your horse’s daily grain or feed, although some brands actually come in easy-to-feed treats. That being said, most supplements should be given with a veterinarian’s approval. Let’s take a look at ten popular types of equine dietary supplements.
Multi-purpose – If you’re looking to maintain your horse’s current healthy state, a multi-purpose or multi-vitamin supplement may be the way to go. The supplements usually provide your horse with coat, hoof, and joint support; a good all-rounder. Multi-purpose supplements contain numerous minerals and vitamins such as A, C, D, and E. They harbor essential omega fatty acids, which can make your horse’s coat shine and improve its overall quality. Most also contain glucosamine, a compound naturally found the body that can improve your horse’s joint flexibility and relieve minor stiffness.
Hoof – Horses with dry, brittle,or cracked hooves, or even those who posses a history of continuous hoof problems may greatly benefit from a hoof supplement. When choosing a dietary hoof supplement, be prepared to stick with it for the long haul, as it generally takes several months for a horse’s hoof condition to significantly improve. Most of these supplements contain an ingredient called biotin, which has been shown to increase the rate that keratin is produced, which is the substance that forms the hoof wall. An amino acid known as methionine is crucial in the production of keratin, and is also a typical ingredient found in hoof supplements.
Skin & Coat – Omega fatty acids are absolutely essential for a horse to have a sleek, shiny coat that can easily deter skin diseases, such as hives or rain rot. These fatty acids stimulate oil production within your horse’s coat and even improve skin circulation. A source of these omega three fatty acids, flax seeds are often a key ingredient in skin and coat supplements.
Joint – Joint supplements are common dietary additions for older horses with joint problems, or one that’s often stiff before or after work. Prolonged strain or stress on the joint can cause inflammation and essentially the loss of joint cartilage and fluid. A horse’s body naturally produces glucosamine, hyaluronic acid, and condroitin to support his own joints. Similarly, joint supplements contain the aforementioned ingredients to either reduce joint stiffness, swelling, and inflammation or prevent it. Other effective ingredients include MSM, yucca, Devil’s claw, and bromelian.
Calming – Do you own or ride a horse that spooks frequently, even when there’s nothing to spook at? Is he always anxious; ready to take off any moment? A calming supplement may aid him to relax and focus. Vitamin B1 is a common ingredient, as most horses with severe anxiety or irritability are believed to have a vitamin B1 deficiency. Magnesium is also often included for similar reasons. Soothing herbs such as chamomile and valerian are natural ways to relax your horse’s nervous and muscular system.
Smartpak Equine LLC. “Equine Supplemments.” Smartpak.