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Soundness Exam

You’ve browsed our Supplement & Horse Care Guides, talked to your vet and Googled ‘glucosamine.’ But how much do you really know about joint supplements?

Put your joint savvy to the test and find out if you could be smarter about your horse’s joint health!

1. Approximately ________% of lameness problems in horses are related to osteoarthritis.

a) 10
b) 40
c) 60
d) 95

2. True or False: Collagen and Silica are included in joint supplements to support soft tissue health.

a) True
b) False

3. Which of the following is NOT an herb used to fight inflammation?

a) Boswellia
b) Yucca
c) Fenugreek
d) Devil’s Claw

4. Which joint in the horse is most frequently affected by degenerative joint disease (DJD)?

a) Hock
b) Hip
c) Fetlock
d) Elbow

5. True or False: Traditional treatments for arthritis – including non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like bute, and injected corticosteroids – have no negative side effects.

a) True
b) False

6. True or False: Young and/or healthy horses don’t need joint supplements.

a) True
b) False

7. Which of the following is NOT a common joint supplement ingredient?

a) Glucosamine
b) Biotin
c) Hyaluronic Acid
d) Chondroitin Sulfate

8. True or False: There is no research showing that oral joint supplements are beneficial.

a) True
b) False

9. True or False: Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate do the same thing, so there is no reason to feed both.

a) True
b) False

10. Which of these signs can be due to degenerative joint disease in the horse?

a) Short Stride
b) Stiffness
c) Uneven gait
d) All of the above

11. True or False: If you have your horse’s joints injected, there’s no point in feeding a joint supplement.

a) True
b) False

12. Which of these terms can be another name for arthritis in the horse?

a) Ringbone
b) Bone Spavin
c) Navicular
d) All of the above

How did you measure up?
Check out the answers, then find out how you can use your knowledge to help your horse!

1. (c)

Approximately 60% of lameness problems in horses are related to osteoarthritis. Also known as Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD), osteoarthritis is progressive and permanent deterioration of articular cartilage, the tissue that lines the ends of bones. Healthy articular cartilage provides a smooth, slippery surface that allows free movement and contributes to the shock absorbing properties of the joint. Compromised articular cartilage can result in symptoms ranging from decreased athletic performance to career-ending lameness.

2. (a) True

Collagen is the main structural protein found in connective tissues, like tendons and ligaments. Supplemental Collagen supports healthy joints and aids in recovery from exercise and injury. In addition to being vital to the formation of cartilage, Silica also supports healthy bones and maintains the strength of tendons and ligaments.

3. (c)

Fenugreek is an herb added to supplements to increase palatability and stimulate the appetite. Boswellia, Yucca and Devil’s Claw are all herbs used extensively to fight discomfort and inflammation.

4. (a)

The hock is most frequently affected by DJD in the horse, but osteoarthritis is also commonly seen in the knee, fetlock, coffin and pastern joints.

5. (b) False

Some NSAIDs can cause gastrointestinal ulceration and bleeding when used in high doses or for long periods of time. There is also some evidence that chronic use of certain injected corticosteroids may have negative effects on cartilage metabolism, resulting in further breakdown.

6. (b) False

Research in dogs shows that feeding joint supplements before joint inflammation starts leads to less reaction in the joints. While there haven’t been any conclusive studies in horses, starting a joint supplement now will help ensure your horse has the support he needs to keep up with the damage that comes from everyday wear and tear.

7. (b)

Biotin is a common hoof supplement ingredient, but is not usually seen in joint supplements. Glucosamine, Chondroitin Sulfate and Hyaluronic Acid (HA) are all common ingredients in joint supplements. While your horse does produce these nutrients naturally, when he’s stressed or working hard, his body may not be able to keep up with the demand required to fight off inflammation and rebuild damaged tissues. Over time, this can lead to osteoarthritis. Oral joint supplements add back the ingredients your horse’s joints need to stay healthy. Think of feeding these products like a regular oil change for your horse’s joints!

8. (b) False

In one study, horses who received an oral Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate compound for six weeks showed significant improvement in lameness score, flexion tests and stride length. A separate study showed that oral HA reduced post-operative joint swelling. A third study compared the practice of oral supplementation of HA against intravenous (IV) injection, and found that oral administration resulted in a significantly larger increase in circulating levels of HA throughout the body.

9. (b) False

Research suggests that a combination of Glucosamine, Chondroitin Sulfate and Vitamin C is more effective at slowing the progression of cartilage degradation than any one ingredient alone. For this reason, many joint supplements combine these key ingredients for a more powerful, synergistic approach to joint health.

10. (d)

A horse with joint disease may show a variety of signs depending on the joint affected, the severity of the arthritis, and the horse’s workload. Common complaints from owners include stiffness, shortness of stride, unevenness in gaits (especially trot), as well as reluctance to pick up, keep or change a lead in the canter or lope. In severe cases, horses may display outright lameness.

11. (b) False

One study showed that over the course of six years, competitive hunter/jumpers who received a daily oral Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate supplement experienced a dramatic drop in the overall number and frequency of intra-articular hock injections.

12. (d)

“Ringbone” can refer to arthritis in the pastern joint, “bone spavin” can refer to arthritis in the hock joint, and in some instances “navicular” can refer to arthritis of the navicular bone.

10 or more correct:
Joint Genius!
We hope your horse knows how lucky he is to have such a smart owner! And if you’re ever looking for a job, we know a place…

6-9 correct:
Genius in Training.

Great job! Keep it up and you’ll be a joint health expert in no time!

Less than 5 correct:
Just Warming Up.

Want to brush up on your joint know-how? Head to

Mother Nature’s Big Three…

• GLUCOSAMINE Research suggests that Glucosamine supports the production of new cartilage and inhibits cartilage breakdown.

• CHONDROITIN SULFATE Stimulates the production of Hyaluronic Acid and appears to work with Glucosamine to support cartilage by stimulating production and inhibiting breakdown.

• HYALURONIC ACID (HA) An integral component of joint cartilage and joint fluid, providing both lubrication and shock absorption. It also blocks inflammatory reactions.

…and where you can get them

Choosing the Right Joint
Supplement for Your Horse

The number of joint supplements available can make selecting the right one for your horse difficult. Consider his age and workload, then use this diagram to help you get started choosing a product that suits his needs. Not sure where to start? Try our SmartPak Supplement Wizard or call our Supplement Experts at 1-888-752-5171 to get a free customized supplement recommendation!


What to Look For: Glucosamine

Products to Try:

Grand Flex

As Low As: $35.55
(27 reviews)
SmartFlex® I Maintenance Pellets Original

As Low As: $24.95
(259 reviews)


What to Look For: Glucosamine with Chondroitin Sulfate

Products to Try:

SmartFlex® II Support Pellets Original

As Low As: $42.95
(281 reviews)
Cosequin® Equine Powder

As Low As: $38.10
(205 reviews)


What to Look For: Glucosamine, Chondroitin Sulfate and HA

Products to Try:

SmartFlex® III Ultra Pellets
(97 reviews)
This ships free!

As Low As: $79.95
(36 reviews)
This ships free!
Matrix 5+H/A

As Low As: $77.75
(38 reviews)


What to Look For: Glucosamine, Chondroitin Sulfate, Hyaluronic Acid, MSM, Vitamin C, Prebiotics, Probiotics, Herbs like Devil’s Claw, Yucca, Boswellia or Bromelain

Products to Try:

SmartFlex® Senior Pellets Original

As Low As: $38.95
(1436 reviews)
Grand Flex Senior

As Low As: $57.50
(11 reviews)
Senior Flex H/A Pellets

As Low As: $42.65
(47 reviews)
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2 comments on “Soundness Exam
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