Many horse owners struggle with
weak, brittle hooves that chip, crack
and lose shoes. If hoof quality is due
to a dietary deficiency, a supplement
may help make a noticeable improvement. Since the hoof category of
supplements is one of the largest in
the horse world, ingredients vary
Some of the most common are
biotin, lysine, methionine, threonine,
zinc, copper, cobalt, MSM, and omega
3 and 6 fatty acids. It takes nearly a
year after the supplement is started
for the foot to grow out completely,
so be patient when waiting for results.
If you have a senior horse, or one
that is prone to colicking or other
gastrointestinal disturbances, a diges-tive-support supplement might be
right for him.
These typically include prebiotics
(live, beneficial bacteria that live in the
gut), probiotics (yeast or oligosaccharides), and digestive enzymes.
Horses under stress (a heavy work or
competition schedule) may be more
susceptible to disease or damage from
Look for ingredients such as vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, antioxidants, grapeseed extract, bioflavonoids and herbs.
Skin and Coat
Fatty acids from oils and other high-fat sources help promote skin health
and a shiny coat.
Coat supplements can contain flaxseed, rice bran and fish oil as sources
of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids.
If your horse is in heavy exercise,
particularly if you live in a hot and/or
humid climate, he may benefit from
One of the most popular categories of supplements to feed is joint health.
To take protective measures against osteoarthritis, which can occur even in
younger performance horses, or to help an older horse that has some creaky days, a
joint supplement may be worthwhile. Try it for 30 days to see if you notice a positive
change; if so, you may want to continue feeding it.
There are a wide range of brands and types of joint supplements available.
Active ingredients can include glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, hyaluronic acid,
methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), avocado/soybean unsaponifiables (ASU), yucca,
devil’s claw, vitamin C, ester C, collagen and silica.
Gastric ulcers are extremely common among horses that are stabled, heavily
exercised and/or trailered frequently. Once ulcers appear, the only FDA-ap-proved treatment for horses is GastroGard (omeprazole paste), which must be
prescribed by your vet.
Of course, prevention is the best medicine. In addition to management changes
such as increased grazing or hay feedings, many supplements are intended to help
prevent ulcers. Antacids, soluble fiber, L-glutamine, collagen, aloe, sea buckthorn
and licorice are some of the ingredients fed to horses prone to ulcers.
Horses with metabolic diseases (insulin resistance, Cushing’s, equine metabolic
syndrome) require very careful dietary control, and sometimes prescribed medication. Talk to your vet about the best way to feed your metabolic horse to keep
him healthy, and ask what type of supplements he might benefit from.
Ingredients in metabolic supplements are designed to help regulate blood
sugar, boost the immune system, and strengthen tissues. These can include chromium, magnesium, vitamin E and herbs. C U S T O