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Understand Glucosamine For Horses [Complete Guide]

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You saddle up your horse and set off on your favourite hack.

But, something’s a little different. He doesn’t seem as lively or forward as usual. When you reach the spot where you usually set off at a canter or gallop, he’s suddenly reluctant to pick up the pace.

This is one of the many ways that you might start to notice your horse’s worsening joint problems. But, how can you help him? 

You might have heard of glucosamine for horses, but don’t know what it is or where to start looking. With so many products available on the market, and so many poor quality products with low efficacy, it can be overwhelming when deciding which supplement to choose.

We’re here to help. In this blog, we’ll provide an in-depth explanation of chondroitin and glucosamine for horses. You’ll learn what these substances are, why they’re effective, and which equine joint supplements are the best option for your equine buddy.

Let’s get started.

What is Glucosamine Chondroitin

glucosamine chondroitin

While they might sound like complicated medicines, glucosamine and chondroitin are produced naturally in the body.

Glucosamine and chondroitin are essential components of cartilage, which is the tissue that supports and cushions the joints.

By manufacturing glucosamine and chondroitin, scientists have been able to create effective supplements for both humans and animals – including horses.

Glucosamine Definition

Glucosamine is a naturally occurring compound that is found in an animal’s cartilage, the tough substance that cushions the joints. Glucosamine can be manufactured in a lab or come from natural sources like the exoskeleton of shellfish (we personally prefer products that are all-natural when possible).

Glucosamine is used by people to treat inflammation, breakdown, and loss of cartilage via osteoarthritis. But, it’s also a highly effective treatment for horses.

Damage to cartilage and cartilage breakdown is an occupational hazard for any horse, whether he’s an eventer or a schoolmaster.

By preventing cartilage degradation and promoting cartilage regeneration, glucosamine helps to maintain stride length, joint mobility, and your horse’s overall performance.

There are a few different forms of glucosamine, including:

  1. Glucosamine Sulfate
  2. Glucosamine Hydrochloride

Each type of glucosamine is slightly different. You might be wondering why two types of glucosamine are used in top equine joint supplements. 

Here’s why:

  • Glucosamine Hydrochloride is highly bioavailable, which means it is easily absorbed into the body.
  • Glucosamine Sulfate, as well as supporting cartilage repair, also supports the production of collagen for joint health.

So, by using both types of glucosamine together, equine joint supplements are far more effective and ensure all the benefits of glucosamine are made available in the product.

Chondroitin Definition

Chondroitin is a vital part of cartilage and a powerful joint supplement, for both people and horses. Chondroitin plays an important role in preventing cartilage breakdown and stimulating cartilage repair.

Chondroitin for horses can be sourced from animals, such as fish, pigs, and birds, or made in labs.

Why Should Horses Use Glucosamine Chondroitin?

horse mobility

Throughout your horse’s life, its bones, joints, and muscles withstand ongoing wear, tear, and stress. The degree to which this happens depends on many factors, including:

  • Occupation
  • Age
  • Lifestyle
  • Overall health
  • Breed

To ensure that your horse lives a long and happy life, and maintains peak performance when they’re competing, their diet should include a top-quality joint supplement containing glucosamine and chondroitin.

A joint supplement that contains chondroitin and glucosamine for horses is a gamechanger, both for sport horses in their prime and aging horses suffering from arthritis. 

There is an increasing body of scientific research demonstrating the power of glucosamine chondroitin as a joint supplement for horses. Glucosamine works best with Chondroitin, together, these active ingredients help to keep cartilage healthy and even repair existing damage.

Impact on Joint Health

Horse owners and riders can tell when their horse is experiencing joint problems when they notice the following symptoms:

  1. Stiffness at the start of work
  2. Less fluidity or forwardness in gaits and transitions
  3. Heat or swelling in the joints

This is where chondroitin and glucosamine for horses work wonders for joint health. Glucosamine and chondroitin work together to slow the breakdown of cartilage and support its production.

When treating joint problems, reducing inflammation eases the pain and risk of joint degradation

Equine joint supplements containing glucosamine and chondroitin actively reduce swelling and inflammation, so your horse can continue to enjoy work and play pain-free.

Impact on Injury and Hip Disease

Regardless of their age and stage in life, all horses are at risk of injury.

As all horse owners know, you can do all you can to prevent injury, but sometimes things happen that are out of our control. We can build secure fencing and wrap boots around our horse’s legs, only for them to trip in the yard or be kicked by another horse.

In cases of injury and hip disease in horses, the affected area often becomes inflamed, swollen, and extremely painful.

An equine joint supplement containing glucosamine and chondroitin can help with recovery from injury by reducing inflammation and promoting cartilage production. This means that a horse owner whose beloved pet is recovering from an injury can use a supplement alongside, or to gradually replace, pain relief medication.

Impact on Arthritis

Arthritis is very common in horses, especially if they’ve had careers in high-impact sports such as eventing, racing, and hunting.

Arthritis occurs when the cartilage that protects the joints tears and deteriorates, causing inflammation and pain.

Chondroitin and glucosamine for horses actively minimize arthritis symptoms by stimulating cartilage production and slowing the breakdown of cartilage in the joints. 

This improves joint comfort and reduces the pain and stiffness associated with arthritis, so your horse can continue to enjoy light work well into his later years.

Impact on Overall Health

A horse’s joints play an essential role in his overall health. Horses rely on their athleticism, agility, and mobility for many everyday and sporting tasks that affect their overall health and wellbeing. These tasks include:

  • Grazing in the paddock
  • Grooming themselves and their friends
  • Rolling to maintain their coat and protect it from insects
  • Playing with their friends
  • Flee from perceived threats
  • Competing with their rider

The longer a horse can do these things, the longer he can enjoy a healthy life. As soon as a horse begins to experience cartilage breakdown and joint problems, he loses the ability to do the things horses love to do and need to do to be healthy.

Horse owners maintain their horse’s overall health by ensuring they exercise regularly, eat a healthy diet, maintain a healthy weight, and receive plenty of love, affection, and stimulation from their human and four-legged friends.

By introducing a glucosamine and chondroitin joint supplement to their horse’s diet, horse owners are taking an active step to extend their horse’s quality of life and overall health. This is because their horse’s joints are supported and protected from further breakdown.

Glucosamine For Horses: Does It Work?

horse cartilage repair

Benefit 1: Supports Cartilage Repair

Consider how much a horse relies upon his four strong legs. They help him to move around. But, as a herd animal, moving around is fundamental to the survival, health, and wellbeing of any horse – both wild and domesticated.
Now consider how much a horse would struggle if they have even the slightest joint problem. As soon as the cartilage protecting their joints starts to wear down or tear, they lose the ability to do the following things properly:

  • Play with their paddock mates
  • Flee from perceived threats
  • Carry a rider without pain
  • Perform in competitions

This can have a devastating impact on a horse’s health, wellbeing, and survival.

Cartilage breakdown is almost inevitable for any horse, particularly if they have an active lifestyle and compete in high-stakes events.

That’s why it’s essential for horse owners to find a high-quality joint supplement that contains chondroitin and glucosamine for horses. These active ingredients are proven to help minimize cartilage damage and even trigger the cartilage repair process.

This is because glucosamine and chondroitin are the essential components of animal cartilage. By supplementing your horse’s diet with potent, active forms of both ingredients that are readily absorbed into the body, your horse has the best chance of performing at peak levels for longer – and enjoying it, too!

Glucosamine and chondroitin can be introduced into your horse’s diet in two ways:

  • As a preventative measure
  • As a treatment for a current injury

In both cases, these ingredients work together to reduce inflammation and support cartilage repair.

Benefit 2: Eases Arthritis Symptoms

Arthritis is particularly common in horses who’ve had a highly active, competitive lifestyle, such as:

  • Racehorses
  • Eventers
  • Hunters
  • Endurance
  • Trekkers
  • Livestock

Arthritis occurs when your horse’s cartilage experiences wear and tear. Over time, and due to certain stressors, compression and stress wear down the cartilage, leading to immense pain, stiffness, swelling, and decreased mobility.

Surveys estimate that up to 60% of lameness is related to osteoarthritis

Equine arthritis can be a painful, long-term struggle for both a horse and its owner. Seeing your equine friend experience stiffness, pain, and discomfort when moving can be heartbreaking. Of course, you want to be able to make the pain go away as quickly as possible.

Many horse owners struggle to adapt to their horse’s lifestyles because of their arthritis.
Once your horse can no longer do the things he used to enjoy, such as gallops on the beach, clearing fences, and lifting his rear legs for the farrier, adaptations have to be made to ensure your horse gets what he needs without further aggravating his arthritic symptoms.

These adaptations can be tedious, expensive, and disheartening for any eager horse owner who wants to enjoy life with their equine buddy.

But, by introducing a supplement containing chondroitin and glucosamine for horses, horse owners can finally start to see an improvement in equine arthritis symptoms.

Glucosamine and chondroitin have been shown to successfully:

  1. Reduce inflammation
  2. Promote cartilage repair
  3. Reduce cartilage deterioration
  4. Improve mobility
  5. Ease joint pain

Therefore, by providing your horse with a supplement containing the highest quality of active glucosamine and chondroitin, you can give him the best chance of maintaining a happy, healthy life.

Benefit 3: Improves Bone Function and Mobility

Some of the most common and pervasive horse health problems affect bone function and mobility.

These musculoskeletal conditions include:

  • Locked stifle joints
  • Desmitis
  • Bone fractures or cracks
  • Back injuries

These conditions can be caused by a huge number of things, from nutritional deficiencies to trauma. Symptoms can increase slowly over time, or your horse might experience a significant injury while competing.

When a horse starts to suffer from a musculoskeletal condition, the most significant problem is inflammation. When his joints are healthy, they can withstand the weight of your horse’s body.

But, when there is inflammation around the joint, it becomes extremely painful for your horse to perform certain movements.
Horse owners and riders will notice musculoskeletal problems very quickly, if not immediately. You might notice:

  1. Decrease in sporting performance
  2. Awkwardness between transitions
  3. Avoidance of certain movements
  4. General lack of joy and free movement in the paddock
  5. Swelling and heat in affected areas

By increasing the viscosity of the synovial fluid and enhancing the protective response of joint tissue, supplements containing chondroitin and glucosamine for horses are proven to improve mobility and treat the symptoms of musculoskeletal conditions.

Glucosamine and chondroitin work together synergistically to prevent further cartilage breakdown. 

Even if your horse has been suffering from a bone or mobility condition for a while, a high-quality, veterinarian-approved supplement will stop symptoms from worsening and can help improve your horse’s condition.

By introducing a powerful supplement into his diet, your horse could experience a dramatic improvement and start to enjoy a more active and fun-filled life again.

The Top 4 Glucosamine Chondroitin Products on the Market

To help you choose the best possible equine joint supplement for your horse, we’ve evaluated the top 4 products containing chondroitin and glucosamine for horses.

We’ve considered the following important factors in our evaluation:

Quality Factor Why It’s Important
Active ingredients Poor-quality equine supplements contain fillers that diminish the potency and effectiveness of the product
Backed by science Reputable products have integrity and are backed by comprehensive scientific research
Naturally-sourced High-quality products should contain ethically sourced, natural ingredients
Potency and dosage The quality and quantity of the ingredients means that you can do more with less, providing more value for money
Approval and compliance You can trust a product that has been approved by industry authorities such as Health Canada, FEI, EC, AGCO, and IFHA

Please remember that, with all changes to your horse’s diet and supplement intake, you should always check first with your veterinarian.

1. Integricare TRI-ACTA

Integricare is a leading supplier of premium health supplements for horses, cats, and dogs. We believe in taking a proactive approach to joint health and create supplements that contain the highest quality and potency of ingredients.

TRI-ACTA Regular Strength (shown above) contains the most powerful, science-backed ingredients to mitigate the early signs of joint degeneration and mobility issues in young horses.

With pharmaceutical-grade glucosamine, chondroitin, and MSM young horses can maintain healthy joint function and beautiful, long strides.

TRI-ACTA is available in two sizes:

Size Doses
1kg (2.2lbs) 50 days
3kg (6.6lbs) 150 days

By starting your horse on TRI-ACTA as a preventative measure, your horse will benefit from:

  • Joint mobility and flexibility
  • Protected joint tissues
  • Decreased stiffness
  • Improved mobility

All of Integricare’s products are ethically sourced, with 100% active ingredients and absolutely zero filler.

Price: $89.99 – $259.99

For a limited time, first-time buyers can receive 10% off online with promo code CAN10!

*Prices as of April 2021

2. Grand Meadows Grand Flex Senior

grand flex senior

California-based Grand Meadows was founded in 1983, with a mission to provide horse owners with affordable and quality horse supplements that are backed by science.

Their Grand Flex Senior supplement is an “aggressive” form of support for both aging horses and dogs. It contains natural ingredients such as devil’s claw and yucca, alongside glucosamine, chondroitin, collagen, and HA.

Although these extra natural ingredients are great, they ultimately become fillers as the overall quantity of Glucosamine is only 7,500mg. 

For comparison, Integricare’s high-strength supplement TRI-ACTA H.A. contains over 10,000mg of Glucosamine – a substantial difference.

Price: $77.96 – $384.25
*Prices as of April 2021

3. Integricare TRI-ACTA H.A.


Integricare’s high-strength formula, TRI-ACTA H.A. was formulated for:

  • Aging horses
  • Arthritic horses
  • Eventers
  • Horses with a heavy workload

Developed after the success of the regular-strength TRI-ACTA formula, this powerful product provides the additional therapeutic benefits of hyaluronic acid (HA).

TRI-ACTA H.A. contains the highest, all-active key ingredient formula on the market.

With two types of glucosamine for maximum cartilage regeneration and bioavailability, your horse receives a supplement with unmatched quality, efficacy, and value.

It’s important to remember that the product contains only active ingredients – no fillers or pseudo-science-backed natural ingredients. With a daily dose of just 22g, horse owners can ensure that their horse receives their supplement easily each day.

With 3kg containers available, and such a small serving size, horse owners can have peace of mind that their investment will last.

If you need any more reason to use Integricare H.A, check out the rave reviews.

Price: $119.99 – $349.99
*Prices as of April 2021

4.YuMOVE PLUS For Horses

YuMOVE is based in the UK, with ties to New Zealand (which is where it sources those green-lipped mussels).

YuMOVE’s main target audience is dogs and dog owners, with their core mission to help aging dogs live a longer, more active, and more fulfilling life.

But their supplements are also suitable for horses, including their formula for aging and arthritic horses – YuMOVE PLUS.

Its formula is double the strength of their standard products, designed for older and stiffer horses and horses who undertake high levels of work.

YuMOVE PLUS contains the following ingredients:

  • Green Lipped Mussel (4000mg)
  • Glucosamine HCl (7500mg)
  • Hyaluronic Acid (125mg)
  • MSM (7500mg)
  • Natural Vitamin C (500mg)
  • Natural Vitamin E (20mg)

Although green-lipped mussels contain high levels of omega 3, it’s not a pharmaceutical-grade ingredient.

When compared to other supplements that contain high concentrations of active ingredients, this product might not deliver the same results as the more potent options on the market.

Horse owners might like to try this product before they opt for stronger products.

Price: $143.80 (converted from GBP)
*Prices as of April 2021

How To Get Started With Glucosamine Chondroitin For Your Horse

Before you start to introduce a supplement to your horse’s diet, you should always consult with your veterinarian. Tell them about your horse’s symptoms, and ask them what supplement is best before you make a purchase.

Once you’ve received your chosen equine joint supplement, you need to work out how you’re going to give it to your horse. If the supplement tastes strong, your horse might not eat it with his hard feed.

Horses have a very sensitive sense of smell and, as we know, they are creatures of habit. Any slight change to their favorite meal might upset them – and they’ll refuse the supplement they need.

An effective option to mask the smell and taste of the supplement is to mix it with the following tasty treats in your horse’s hard feed:

  1. Apple pieces
  2. Carrot pieces
  3. Apple sauce
  4. Molasses and oats
  5. Flax oil (if your horse likes oil)

You can also soak the feed with water. This will help the powder supplement stick to the hard feed, so you’re not left with powder residue at the bottom of the feed bucket that your horse will miss out on.

Once you’ve started successfully administering the supplement, it’s time to wait and watch for signs of improvement.

Get Started With Integricare Today

You should now have a solid understanding of chondroitin and glucosamine for horses. If you’re looking to prevent or minimize your horse’s symptoms of arthritis, joint problems, or injuries, these ingredients are absolutely essential for a supplement to be effective.

At Integricare, we pride ourselves on providing the equine community with pharmaceutical-grade supplements containing two types of glucosamine, chondroitin, hyaluronic acid, and MSM.

Our products are certified by Health Canada and recommended by veterinarians. Plus, our long-standing customers swear by them for keeping their horses fit, active, and happy.

So, what are you waiting for? Get in touch with our team today to find out more about our products, or purchase TRI-ACTA or TRI-ACTA H.A. from our online store.