All About Horse Supplements [Comparative Guide]

You wouldn’t eat a protein shake every morning if all you ever did was sit in front of a TV, would you? like humans, horses require different vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients to thrive. Things like activity level, age, and medical history all influence your horse’s unique needs. It’s a no-brainer then that some horse supplements will be better for your horse than others.

If you have a performance horse, a horse with arthritis, or a senior horse, you’ll want to be sure you’re supplementing their diet with all the right stuff.  Even your health-food-munching hippie horse deserves some natural supplements now and again.

But how do you choose the right horse supplements?

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We’ve got you covered. In this post, we’ll identify the best supplements for horses based on their lifestyles, including a discussion of performance horse supplements, arthritic horse supplements, natural horse supplements, and senior horse supplements.

Let’s get to it!

Performance Horse Supplements

Performance horse supplements contain ingredients that help active horses maintain their health and recover as they work, train, and compete.

Due to their high levels of activity and history of making repetitive motions, workhorses experience more wear and tear on their joints.

Over time, this causes inflammation and even deterioration of cartilage. Joint inflammation (synovitis) is one of the most common injuries in horses, especially active horses such as racehorses, hunters, trekkers, and eventers.

Performance horses are also more susceptible to tendon injuries than domestic horses. One common injury suffered is bowed tendons. Bowed tendons occur when there is swelling in superficial or deep digital flexor tendons. This injury can be incredibly painful and leave your horse on bed rest for weeks. No Bueno!

So what can you do to ensure your performance horse stays healthy?

Benefits of Supplements for Performance Horses

Horse supplements are one way you can help your active horse avoid injuries. Supplements provide numerous benefits to your performance horse, including:

  • Preventing muscle soreness and pain
  • Reducing inflammation and injuries
  • Promoting faster recovery

In particular, ingredients like glucosamine and chondroitin are vital when searching for powerful horse supplements.

Glucosamine helps to repair cartilage, keeping your horse’s joints healthy and strong. Chondroitin prevents cartilage from breaking down in the first place. For performance horses, look for a dosage of 6,000 to 10,000mg of glucosamine.

Ingredients like hyaluronic acid are also key for active horses. Hyaluronic acid helps with the production of synovial fluid, which lubricates your horse’s joints. Proper lubrication of joints allows your horse’s body to absorb and dissipate shock. Every time your horse runs, jumps, or canters, synovial fluid is working its magic!

To sum it all up, active horses especially benefit from the following key active ingredients:

  • Glucosamine: repairs cartilage
  • Chondroitin: prevents cartilage breakdown
  • Hyaluronic acid: aids in joint lubrication

Top 3 Performance Horse Supplements

1. Integricare TRI-ACTA H.A. for Equine

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TRI-ACTA Equine H.A. is the maximum strength version of our sister product, TRI-ACTA, and the gold standard supplement for active horses. TRI-ACTA H.A. contains each of the active ingredients discussed above. This supplement also includes MSM, which reduces pain and inflammation.

At a low cost-to-serving ratio, TRI-ACTA H.A. packs a punch. This supplement has the highest, all-active ingredient formula on the market.

Additionally, TRI-ACTA H.A. is filler-free, meaning every time you feed your horse a scoop of the good stuff, you can rest assured that each ingredient is helping them live their best life.

Price $129.99 to $364.99
* Prices as of 14 July 2021

2. Absorbine Flex + Max Joint Health

flex max

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Absorbine Flex + Max Joint Health takes second place for a performance horse supplement.

In addition to the key ingredients of glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM, and sodium hyaluronate (the salt form of hyaluronic acid), this product includes flaxseed. Flaxseeds contain omega 3 fatty acids, which can help support normal inflammatory responses.

Because of the addition of ingredients like alfalfa meal and rice bran, this product doesn’t have quite as many active ingredients per serving, knocking it down from first to second in our rankings.

Price $49.39 to $89.99
* Prices as of 14 June 2021

3. Cosequin ASU Plus

Cosequin ASU plus

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Cosequin ASU Plus is another great supplement option for active horses. This formula is a bit unique, as it contains green tea extract, which serves as an antioxidant.

Cosequin ASU Plus comes in powdered form, just like TRI-ACTA H.A., making it easy to add to your horse’s regular feed.

The downside? The addition of green tea means this supplement contains caffeine, which is a prohibited substance by US Equestrian and AQHA. If you don’t want anyone to call your horse a cheater, another supplement might be a better option.

Price $144.99
* Price as of 14 June 2021

Horse Arthritis Supplements

Did you know that arthritis isn’t just something humans suffer from? Unfortunately, our equine friends are also susceptible to the joint degeneration and pain that arthritis causes. Up to 60% of lameness in horses is caused by osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis affects horses of all breeds, ages, and activity levels, despite the common assumption that arthritis is an injury for the old.

Even pastoral horses who have never run a race in their life can succumb to arthritis. 

Arthritis is caused by the deterioration of cartilage, often in weight-bearing joints. More specifically, the loss of the cartilage means there is less available to cushion joints from impact. Additionally, the breakdown of cartilage leads to the loss of synovial fluid, which helps to lubricate joints.

Over time, losing cartilage leads to pain and even lameness in horses.

Benefits of Supplements for Arthritic Horses

Fortunately, arthritic horses can benefit from horse supplementation. Feeding your horse a supplement can help:

  • Relieve pain
  • Improve joint mobility
  • Repair cartilage

In particular, ingredients like glucosamine, chondroitin, hyaluronic acid and MSM benefit horses with arthritis. MSM not only provides pain relief but can also help prevent further cartilage degradation. Similarly, hyaluronic acid replenishes synovial fluid, which helps reduce resistance in your horse’s joints.

When choosing a supplement for a horse with arthritis, you’ll want to pay close attention to the ratio of active to inactive ingredients. The more active ingredients, the better. We have a handy resource to help you learn how to read a supplement label.  

If you have a horse suffering from arthritis, there’s no need for them to be in constant pain. Joint supplements, in combination with rest, can help alleviate the worst of symptoms.

Top 3 Horse Arthritis Supplements

1. Integricare TRI-ACTA H.A. for Equine 

tri acta ha

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Integricare Equine TRI-ACTA H.A. provides awesome support for horses, helping both maintain and repair their cartilage and synovial joints.

Specifically, this formula is made at maximum strength, with glucosamine at 10,164 mg. Glucosamine sulfate helps your horse’s body produce more collagen, which is one of the main components of cartilage. The more cartilage your horse can build, the better equipped it is to manage arthritis. Glucosamine hydrochloride, on another hand, has the advantage in terms of bioavailability.

Additionally, this supplement contains MSM, which can help manage pain for horses already suffering from arthritis.

Talk about a bang for your buck!

Price $119.99 to $349.99
* Prices as of June 2021

2. Ramard Total Joint Care Performance

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Like Tri-Acta, Ramard includes the active ingredients glucosamine, chondroitin, hyaluronic acid, and MSM.

This product is made entirely of active ingredients (no fillers!) and is all-natural.

Ramard falls to place number two due to its significantly lower levels of glucosamine and MSM. Given MSM’s role in reducing pain and inflammation, the key to managing arthritis, you won’t want to skimp on this ingredient.

Similarly, glucosamine hydrochloride is vital to repairing damaged cartilage. Since arthritis attacks your horse’s cartilage, having more of this ingredient goes a long way.

Price $64.89 – $325.99
* Prices as of 14 June 2021

3. Cosequin Optimized with MSM

cosequin optimized

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Cosequin makes another entrance! Like its sister-product mentioned above, Cosequin Optimized with MSM contains key active ingredients such as glucosamine, MSM, and chondroitin.

This formula has 5,000mg of MSM, which helps ensure your horse has max pain relief and inflammation reduction. This is especially great for arthritic horses, who are far more likely to experience these symptoms daily.

Because this product doesn’t include hyaluronic acid, a key ingredient to helping with joint lubrication, it takes third place.

Price $48.15 to $109.99
* Prices as of 14 June 2021

Natural Horse Supplements

Natural horse supplements often use plants, such as herbs, to maintain superior horse health. There are a few herbs that frequently appear in natural supplements:

  • Devil’s Claw
  • Yucca
  • Boswellia
  • Rosehips

Natural supplements can include a mix of such herbs or are sometimes made entirely from one type of plant. Many natural supplements come in powdered or pellet form, just like those with active ingredients.

Some people even DIY natural supplements, feeding horses things like molasses, rosehip tea, garlic, or kelp. Taking a DIY approach can be a fun way to make your horse’s meals more interesting. Always remember to check in with your vet before adding anything new to your horse’s diet.

These components are often less researched and clinically trialled. Glucosamine and Chondroitin have a long history of research and clinical trials that show their efficacy in supporting joint function in horses.

Benefits of Natural Horse Supplements

Some natural horse supplements are often less potent than natural horse supplements with active ingredients. This is because natural supplements are slow-acting and accumulate in your horse’s body over time.

As a result, natural supplements can be a good option for horses with sensitive stomachs, or who don’t need quite the same level of support as senior horses, arthritic horses, or performance horses.

Below is a chart outlining some of the herbs commonly used in natural horse supplements, including their place of origin and the benefits they can provide to your horse.

PlantNative HabitatBenefitsOther Facts
Devil’s ClawSouth Africa
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Pain relief
  • Reduce joint and muscular problems
If competing, keep in mind that some authorities prohibit the use of Devil’s Claw in competitions.
YuccaSouthwest U.S. and Mexico
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Reduces joint pain and tension
  • Improves hoof strength
  • Promotes skin, coat, mane, and tail health
Safe for long-term use, with no known side effects.
BoswelliaOman, Yemen, and Somalia
  • Supports healthy joint tissues
  • Alleviates joint pain
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Aids with digestion
Few side effects even with long-term administration.

Top 3 Herbal Horse Supplements

1. Ani-Motion Natural Botanical Blend

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Ani-Motion is a natural horse supplement that uses herbs to support joint health. This supplement provides relief for stiffness and discomfort in both performance horses and older horses.

Featuring ingredients like devil’s claw, yucca, chamomile, turmeric, and rose hips, this supplement helps decrease recovery time from injuries and increases longevity in horses. Additionally, these ingredients provide vitamin C, which can help fight off infections.

And to top it all off? Ani-Motion doesn’t have any additives or fillers.

Price $89.95 to $229.95
* Prices as of 14 June 2021

2. Uckele Devil’s Claw Plus

UckeleSource

Uckele Devil’s Claw Plus supplement is another great option for supporting your horse’s joint health. This supplement includes devil’s claw extract and boswellia extract to help support healthy joints.

This combination of ingredients is especially beneficial for active horses. Uckele recommends you feed your horse this supplement after intense exercise to help alleviate muscle discomfort.

Keep in mind, however, that some authorities have banned the use of Devil’s Claw for performance horses.

Uckele Devil’s Claw Plus is an affordable option, with a 28-day supply costing just $18.95.

Price $18.95 to $208.95
* Prices as of 14 June 2021

3. Desert Pure Yucca

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If you’re looking for a supplement primarily used for pain relief, Desert Pure Yucca is the one.

Yucca is the only ingredient in this product. This plant can help your horse if it’s dealing with stiffness or pain and has the added side effect of making your horse’s mane and tail shine.

This is a great option if you’re looking for something simple and no-nonsense to supplement your horse’s daily meals.

Price $15.99 to $35.99
* Prices as of 14 June 2021

Senior Horse Supplements

Horses can live well into their 30s if they receive proper care. Generally, any horse 15 years old or older is considered a senior horse. That means that your beloved horse may have a solid 15 years of elderhood before passing. With age often comes aches.

You don’t want them to be in pain during that time, do you?

Older horses, especially ones who have competed or led especially active lifestyles, may experience more inflammation than younger horses. Senior horse supplements assist with alleviating some of the pain brought on by stiffness, which occurs as horses age. 

Benefits of Senior Horse Supplements

Choosing the best senior horse joint supplement can help your leisure horse maintain its vitality so you can continue to love and nurture them for as long as possible.

Similar to arthritic horses, senior horses benefit from supplements that include active ingredients like MSM and hyaluronic acid. MSM will help your horse avoid the pain and inflammation that’s common in their muscles and joints. Hyaluronic acid will keep their joints lubricated.

Because older horses may have comorbid conditions, such as arthritis, higher doses of active ingredients like glucosamine can be especially helpful.

Top 3 Senior Horse Supplements

1. Integricare Equine TRI-ACTA

Tri Acta Equine

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Equine TRI-ACTA is at it again. You saw the maximum strength version of this supplement appear earlier when we discussed performance horse supplements and arthritis horse supplements. It makes yet another appearance.

Why, you ask?

TRI-ACTA contains two types of glucosamine to support the health of your horse’s joints. Glucosamine hydrochloride is readily absorbed, meaning that your senior horse can more easily process glucosamine in this form. Glucosamine sulfate promotes collagen production, which is incredibly important for joint health.

Like the other supplements mentioned in this section, TRI-ACTA also includes MSM to reduce pain and inflammation and hyaluronic acid to help lubricate your horse’s old joints.

Prices $89.99 to $259.99
* Prices as of June 2021

2. Grand Meadows Grand Flex Senior

Grand Meadows

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Here at Integricare, we can’t talk about the key four supplement ingredients enough, and Grand Meadows Grand Flex Senior delivers.

Specifically formulated for senior horses, this supplement contains glucosamine, hyaluronic acid, chondroitin, and MSM. And they don’t skimp on the MSM, at 10,000 mg per serving. Perfect for helping your senior horse avoid unnecessary pain!

In addition to these active ingredients, this horse supplement for seniors also contains devil’s claw, yucca, and boswellia. This can be a great option if you’re looking to combine the benefits of active ingredients with natural supplements.

Price $46.15 to $313.90
* Prices as of 14 June 2021

3. YuMOVE Plus for Horses

Yumove

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This supplement contains 25% more MSM and high-strength glucosamine than its traditional formula. It also contains hyaluronic acid. Perhaps more interestingly, it also has omega 3s sourced from the green-lipped mussel.

These omega 3s benefit horses by soothing stiff joints and facilitating the body’s natural anti-inflammatory processes.

This supplement can also be used alongside most prescription medicines, which is great for older horses who may have several medical conditions all at once. Of course, always be sure to check in with your vet before adding a new supplement to your horse’s feeding routine.

Price $146.99 (converted from GBP)
* Prices as of 14 June 2021

Best Horse Supplements: Our Top Picks

Now that you’ve learned about the large variety of horse supplements, it’s time to narrow it down to the best of the best. Our top five list can be found below.

  1. Integricare TRI-ACTA H.A. for Equine
  2. Grand Meadows Grand Flex Senior
  3. Integricare TRI-ACTA for Equine
  4. Ramard Total Joint Care Performance
  5. Ani-Motion Natural Botanical Blend

1. Integricare TRI-ACTA H.A.

How many times can we mention the words glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM, or hyaluronic acid in one article? We do it for good reason! These are vital active ingredients for effective horse supplementation, and Integricare’s TRI-ACTA delivers.

Given the number of times TRI-ACTA H.A. showed up in our other lists, we’d be remiss if we didn’t include it on our top picks.

This horse supplement is perfect for performance horses and senior horses who can benefit from a higher concentration of active ingredients, especially glucosamine and chondroitin.

2. Grand Meadows Grand Flex Senior

This California-made product is great for senior horses. Grand Meadows has been in business since 1983. As such, this supplement is a tried-and-true option for your senior horse.

Not only does it include the same four active ingredients as many of the other products on the list of our top picks, but it also delivers a diverse mix of herbal supplements to assist with joint health.

However, this product does contain fillers:

  • Apple flavouring, and
  • Flaxseed meal

If you’re looking for something primarily with active ingredients, the next product on our list may better suit your needs.

3. Integricare Equine TRI-ACTA

Integricare’s TRI-ACTA is the perfect complete horse supplement for joint and muscle health. When added to your equine companion’s daily feed, this supplement helps to:

  • Support healthy joint function,
  • Prevent muscle injuries and arthritis
  • Keep your horse moving effortlessly, even as they grow older

As a preventative measure for younger horses, this horse supplement has slightly less glucosamine than its maximum-strength counterpart. It still has one of the highest concentrations of active ingredients on the market, at just $1.73 per serving.

4. Ramard Total Joint Care Performance

Cosequin ASU Plus is a great option for your arthritic horse. This supplement is made in the USA and includes key active ingredients to help your horse combat arthritis.

This supplement ranks #4 on our list due to the lower amount of glucosamine included in the supplement (6,000 mg).

Additionally, the price per scoop at $2.17 just doesn’t hold up given the smaller amount of active ingredients.

5. Ani-Motion Natural Botanical Blend

This option is by far the best natural horse supplement and a great option for those who are simply looking to add a little “oomph” to your horse’s daily meals. Ani-Motion Natural Botanical Blend is sourced from ingredients like devil’s claw and yucca.

Without any additives or fillers, this supplement can help reduce inflammation and improve your horse’s immune system.

This option made it last on our list simply due to the lack of active ingredients; however, if natural is what you’re going for, this is a great choice.

Dosage of Costs of Top Supplement Picks

RankSupplementsDaily DosageApprox. Daily Cost
1Integricare Equine TRI-ACTA H.A.1 scoop (22 g)$2.57
2Grand Meadows Grand Flex Senior1 scoop (42.54 g)$1.95
3Integricare Equine TRI-ACTA1 scoop (20 g)$1.73
4Ramard Total Joint Care Performance1 scoop (17 g)$2.17
5Ani-Motion Natural Botanical Blend4 scoops (14 g)$1.28

Note: The dosages and approximate daily costs listed above are based on one scoop per day, except for the Ani-Motion Natural Botanical Blend which recommends two to four scoops daily. This best captures the amounts used by horse owners day in and day out; however, when you first begin supplementing your horse’s diet, products may require a double dose for the first couple of weeks of use.

Conclusion

performance horse

We know you want your horse to live a long and fruitful life, whether that means frolicking in a pasture or racing on a track. Horse supplements help make that happen. 

The right supplement for your horse will change depending on your horse’s needs. Your arthritic horse is going to need something a little different than your performance horse.

And now, you know exactly how to choose the right horse supplement for your best pal!

If you have any specific questions about choosing a supplement for your horse, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re always happy to assist.

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