I have 3 young horses (3 yo Irish Sport, 5 yo TB and 7 yo Appendix) that I use for hunter / jumper showing. Although there are no indications of joint problems now, I am concerned about the long term impact of jumping on their joints. Is it advisable to provide a joint supplement as a prophylactic measure in these young horses or wait to see if problems develop in the future before adding a joint supplement? – BS
I commend you for thinking ahead to the long-term welfare of what sounds like three incredible young horses! While no research has proven that oral joint supplements can prevent osteoarthritis, studies have shown that glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, hyaluronic acid and other common joint supplement ingredients may stimulate cartilage synthesis and inhibit cartilage breakdown.
One way to look at oral joint supplements is as an “insurance policy” for your horses’ lasting soundness. Arthritis develops because of wear and tear of joints over years of relatively moderate work. Of course, trauma, poor conformation and other issues can increase the rate at which the tissues in your horses’ joints break down. As a concerned horse owner, why not “stack the deck” in your horses’ favor by providing the building blocks of healthy joint tissue so that when they need these ingredients to repair cartilage, synovial fluid and other joint components, they are already on board.