Saturday, November 28, 2015

Benefits Of Equine Bone And Joint Support

By Marci Nielsen

Horses are magnificent. They seem to fly over the ground, they can carry heavy burdens, and they can leap over things higher than their head. However, they have relatively delicate legs and feet for their size and power. An equine bone and joint support supplement can mean the difference between pain and lameness and continued health and usefulness.

Supplements may consist of single nutrients or basic vitamin and mineral formulas created to make up for deficiencies in forage. Horses that once ranged over miles of mixed vegetation are confined to stalls or kept in fields. They are fed hay which is usually a mono-crop of grass like timothy or alfalfa. At most, it will be a mix of just a few grasses.

Pastures are routinely mowed and seeded to look great and be palatable, but pretty paddocks can't provide all the nutrition found in a mix of what we call weeds. Even mowing is a nutritional negative. Seeds contain valuable nutrients like vitamin E which are not found in grass stalks. This is why most feeds designed for horses are grains with added vitamins and minerals.

Horses put to work are under additional stress. This is where nutrients targeted to keeping bones strong and joints flexible come in. Some of the most familiar nutrients are glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM, and hyaluronic acid. All of these are natural substances that provide the building blocks for bone, cartilage, and joint fluid.

Equine athletes are in a class by themselves. Racing horses must train hard and compete harder. Jumpers also need constant training and are asked to perform in ways that require great effort and strength. Their legs and feet must lift their huge bodies over obstacles and withstand severe impact with the ground.

Then they land their entire weight on one foot, which must then push that weight off as the rest of the legs and body follow over the jump. The amount of impact, shock, and force involved in this action is almost inconceivable. It's amazing that the legs and hooves of horses can stand this once, let alone over and over.

This immense stress can, of course, cause pain and lameness. A lame horse cannot compete and may never do so again. Specialized formulas provide nutrients that have been proved to help a horse repair daily damage to soft and hard tissue. These vitamins, minerals, and nutritive substances can hasten recovery time and make bones and joints more resilient. Preventing injury is much easier than trying to fix it after it happens, so better nutrition makes a lot of sense.

Choosing a supplement with ingredients that nourish the bones, tendons, ligaments, and hooves of your horse is one way to keep it comfortable and extend its useful life. Whether you compete or just ride the trails, a happy and pain-free mount is key to enjoyment for you both.

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