There’s no two ways about it, event horses put a lot of pressure on their joints when training and competing – just watching a horse jump a relatively modest fence and looking at the joints involved proves this. Many eventer’s feed a supplement to help support their horse’s joints, to help keep them healthy before a problem presents itself. Others feed joint supplements to help support horses with existing issues. But how do you know what to buy? Here, David Willey, Managing Director of Equimins gives us some handy hints about what to look for.
A look on any forum or Facebook page where eventers ask questions will reveal at least one, if not more, questions about joint supplements. And it’s easy to see why. There are a LOT of joint supplements out there! Not all contain the same ingredients, there’s a huge difference in specification and a massive difference in price with some costing pence per day to feed and some you may need to consider a loan for! As with all supplements, there are a lot of things to consider before you decide which to buy. We’re all about education at Equimins. Therefore, we wanted to provide you with some information about the kind of ingredients you’re likely to see in most joint supplements. This includes tips to make sure you get the right supplement for you and spend your money wisely (because we all know there’s enough to spend your money on with horses!). So, first, let’s look at some common ingredients and what they do…
Glucosamine. Many supplements contain glucosamine with a blend of other ingredients, but some contain glucosamine on its own. Glucosamine is naturally found in the body, in the fluid around the joints. It’s the building block of cartilage and when you consider that cartilage covers the ends of all bones and is designed to absorb shock and prevent friction, you can really appreciate the part that glucosamine plays.
Chondroitin. Also naturally found in the body, chondroitin is found in the cartilage around the joints. Unlike glucosamine, it isn’t used in the ‘building’ of cartilage, but it helps to attract water into it, to keep it nice and spongy, which is important for its shock absorbing properties. Chondroitin also contributes to the inhibition of enzymes that can degrade the joints…so it has an important part to play in the maintenance joints.
Methylsulfonylmethane or MSM. Again, this is a supplement that can be bought on its own or found aspart of a joint supplement blend. MSM is a bioavailable form of sulphur that can support the repair process of tissues around the body, including the joints.
Hyaluronic acid. This ingredient is present in the synovial fluid that helps to lubricate the joints.
Ascorbic acid or vitamin C. Vitamin C works with the free radicals in the body, to help rid the body of these as they can damage tissues.
Of course, there are many different herbs available that can also aid mobility and flexibility, and there are other ingredients included in supplements that support different aspects of the joints and their function. If you’re not sure what they do, it’s easy to find out by either speaking to the manufacturer or looking up the individual ingredients online.
Now, let’s say you’ve narrowed your short list of possible supplements down to a few…how do you know which to pick? Going for a trusted name can give additional confidence, but don’t pay over the odds for this…one shouldn’t mean the other! The amount you pay for a supplement should relate to the specification – by which I mean a) what ingredients are in it and b) what level these ingredients are included at. The latter is an important factor when comparing costs too, but we’ll get there in a minute! So, how do you compare? Simple…
- How much useful ‘stuff’ is in the supplement? Look at how many mg of important ingredients are included in the same amount across different tubs.
- How much do you need to feed per day? If one supplement has lower amounts per scoop than another, you may find you need to feed twice as much. We think this is madness as you’re paying for ‘filler’…and you’ll probably find you’re paying much more for it!
- Money back guarantees. Does your supplement have a money back guarantee? Our Flexijoint range does, because we’re very confident with our product and the way it works, and we find that this gives our customers confidence too. If they’re not happy and don’t feel it’s helped, we’ll refund their money – simple. If you can’t decide which supplement to pick, you have nothing to lose by trying the one with the money back guarantee first – just make sure you read the Ts and Cs and keep any relevant receipts, etc.
- Cost per day. We talk about this a lot at Equimins! Imagine you’ve narrowed it down to two supplements…say both are 1kg and both cost £30…the price is the same, right? NO…not necessarily! Look at the back and look at the suggested daily feeding amount for a horse of your horse’s size. For example, our Flexijoint powder has a suggested feeding amount of 20g per day (because the spec if so high) for a large horse (although many people feed less). Put this against a supplement that required 40g per day and it’s actually half the price!
To find out more about Equimins, the Flexijoint range of joint supplements with money back guarantee or any other product in the Equimins range, see www.equimins.com or call 01548 531770.