It’s heartbreaking when your horse has suffered an injury, or their joints start deteriorating because of age. While you can’t always heal your horse, you can make their life much more comfortable with the best horse joint supplements.
Moonshine suffers from osteoarthritis, and her joints are stiff, painful, and swollen. I can see improvement since I started giving her a combination of MSM, hyaluronic acid, omega-3 fatty acids, CBD oil, hydrolyzed collagen, and resveratrol. She isn’t as lame, and the swelling and inflammation has decreased.
If you need to support your equine bestie with joint-related health issues, here’s a guide to the best horse joint supplements.
Disclaimer: Kindly note this guide shouldn’t be treated as medical advice. It’s an overview of horse-friendly joint supplements, and you should always consult with your vet, another equine health specialist, or an equine nutritionist to find the best medical solution for your horse and their specific needs.
Bottom Line Up Front: What Are the Best Joint Supplements for Horses?
The best horse joint supplement works for your horse’s age, nutritional needs, level of work, and symptoms, whether they have osteoarthritis, another kind of joint disease, or an injury. The supplement should contain no or few filler ingredients, be highly bioavailable, have a NASC seal, or be backed by scientific research.
|Best for||Product||Key Features|
|Best Overall Horse Joint Supplement||Nutramax Cosequin ASU Plus Hyaluronic Acid and Green Tea Extract||
|Best Budget Horse Joint Supplement||Joint Support MSM||
|Best Joint Supplement for a Senior Horse||SmartFlex Senior Pellets||
|Best Joint Supplement with CBD Oil for Horses||SmartHolistic CBD + Joint Support Pellets||
|Best Overall Health Supplement||Med-Vet Pharmaceuticals (MVP) Exceed 6-Way 6-Way||
A Guide on the Joint Supplements for Horses
Before I look at the best horse joint supplement products, here’s a quick overview of the supplements that help support horses and their joints.
Note: The dosages given below are guidelines. In a joint supplement product, the quantities of each ingredient may be lower since it’s mixed with other ingredients.
|Joint Supplement||What it is||How it helps|
(Glucosamine sulfate or glucosamine hydrochloride)
|Glucosamine is a fundamental building block of connective tissues.
It’s recommended to use shellfish sources or manufactured pure glucosamine.
The recommended dosage for horses is 6,000 mg to 10,000 mg daily, with the higher dose needed for working horses and during the loading period (the first week or two of starting joint treatment).
|Chondroitin Sulfate||Chondroitin sulfate is a sugar molecule chain found in bone, cartilage, and connective tissue.
It’s usually obtained from bovine sources but can be synthesized in a lab (in which case, it’s typically paired with glucosamine).
An effective dose for your horse of chondroitin sulfate is 1,250 mg and 5,000 mg daily.
|Hyaluronic Acid (HA)||Hyaluronic acid is found in the joint, cartilage, and other connective tissues.
It can be an oral, gel, injectable, or powdered supplement.
The recommended dosage of HA for horses is 100 mg daily.
|Avocado and Soy Unsaponifiables (ASU)||ASU is a vegetable extract comprising fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin E, triterpene alcohols, plant fats, and sterols. It’s obtained by mixing ⅔ soybean oil with ⅓ avocado oil.
It’s a chondroprotective (it helps protect cartilage).
Since ASU is slow-acting, an effective dosage for horses is 1,200 mg daily.
|Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM)||MSM is an organosulfur compound found in animals, humans, some green plants, grains, and alfalfa hay.
A dosage of 20,000 mg daily may effectively treat a horse with hock arthritis. But MSM is rarely found in high doses in other joint supplements.
Daily supplementation of 2 mg per 220 lbs (100 kg) or 10 mg is enough, except 20 mg a day for the loading period or until improvement is visible.
|Hydrolyzed Collagen||Collagen is a building block in bones, cartilage, and other connective tissues.
Hydrolyzed collagen is a purified protein in smaller units to improve digestion and absorption.
|Resveratrol||Resveratrol is a stilbenoid polyphenol and fat-soluble plant compound.
It’s found in wine, pines, blueberries, and Japanese knotweed.
In a study, a horse with mild lameness benefitted from an initial dose of 2,000 mg of powdered resveratrol for 10 days, followed by 1,000 mg daily for 18 days.
|Omega-3 Fatty Acids||Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) are two types of omega-3 fatty acids.
They are found in plants like flaxseed and marine oil.
The dosage could range from around 6 mg to 38 mg daily.
How to Choose the Best Horse Joint Supplements: My Selection Criteria
It’s difficult to know what’s best with so many joint supplement products on the market. Knowing what the best supplements are helps eliminate a few clear no-nos.
Choosing the right joint supplement is also tricky because you need to consider the following:
- The life stage of your horse
- The bioavailability of the supplement (how much of it is absorbed in your horse’s digestive tract and used by cells)
- What are your horse’s current joint issues
- The quality of the supplement’s efficacy and how well it’s backed by research
My selection criteria for the best joint supplements for our equine friends were strict. The joint supplements had to:
- Showcase evidence of scientific research or have a National Animal Supplement Council (NASC) quality seal (proving the supplement has been independently tested for efficacy and safety)
- Fit all budgets
- Include variety so you can find the supplements that are best for your horse and their ailments
- Be easy to feed with clear instructions and dosage recommendations
- Include as few fillers as possible
The 5+ Best Joint Supplements for Horses
Here are the best joint supplements for your horse:
1. Nutramax Cosequin ASU Plus Hyaluronic Acid and Green Tea Extract
The best overall joint supplement is the Nutramax Cosequin ASU Plus Hyaluronic Acid and Green Tea Extract because it is formulated by vets to help support your equine athlete’s joint health.
- Easy-to-read label with active and inactive ingredients, additional info, and usage directions
- Contains various joint supplements: glucosamine hydrochloride, MSM, chondroitin sulfate, ASU, hyaluronic acid, green tea extract, and Boswellia in high quantities for maximum efficacy
- Backed by science since it’s veterinarian formulated by the Nutramax Laboratories Veterinary Sciences
- Helped Moonshine with mobility, stiffness, and swelling
- It’s in a powder form, and while not tasty for picky eaters, you can disguise it in other treats.
- Contains caffeine (green tea extract), so you can’t use this product when you are competing or eventing as caffeine is a prohibited substance according to AQHA and US Equestrian Federation
- Expensive at ±$3.32 per day
What I Like About It
The Nutramax Cosequin ASU Plus supplement is high-quality, and you get what you pay for. I love that it has so many joint-friendly components to support a horse’s joint in the best ways.
2. Joint Support MSM
For a budget option, consider Joint Support MSM. Expect to pay around $24 for a one-pound tub, and it’ll last 45 days. For one serving of 10 g, your horse gets 10,000 mg of MSM, but it’s best to start with an initial dose of 20 g (20,000 mg) for a week.
Joint Support MSM will cost you roughly $0.13 per day.
- Has a NASC quality seal
- MSM is pure 99.9% bioavailable, so your horse can easily digest and absorb the supplement
- Tasteless, so when added with tasty feed, even picky eaters will lap this up
- Ideal for improving joint mobility and reducing inflammation
- Use the supplement as a preventative and treatment
- Only MSM, so if you want to add other joint support supplements, it can get costly
What I Like Sbout It
I love using the same joint supplement for Moonshine and my senior husky. So I can order two 10-pound buckets for a year’s supply and have some left for the new year. That’s a win.
3. SmartFlex Senior Pellets
For a senior horse with mobility and joint issues, use SmartFlex Senior Pellets. It helps maintain joint health and address age-related discomfort, stress, and inflammation.
- Has a NASC quality seal
- Can buy various sizes: 3.7 lb (for 28 days), 7.4 lb (for 56 days), 14.8 lb (for 112 days), and 29.6 lb (for 224 days)
- Includes various joint supplements: glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, hyaluronic acid, devil’s claw, and Boswellia
- No added sugar, so it may be safe for horses with laminitis, diabetes, and other metabolic issues
- In pellet form, so it’s easy to feed
- Contains vitamin C, so ensure your horse doesn’t get too much of this nutrient
What I Like About It
I like that the product has various joint health supplements and no added sugar. The pellet form is also a godsend since I can hand-feed one scoop of 60 g to Moonshine.
4. SmartHolistic CBD + Joint Support Pellets
That’s why you should consider SmartHolistic CBD + Joint Support Pellets for your horse.
- Contains CBD oil, glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM, turmeric, resveratrol, and hyaluronic acid, so it’s a mix of novel and traditional joint support supplements for optimal benefit
- Apple flavor, so all horses love the pellets
- Contains few filler ingredients
- Has less than 0.3% THC according to NASC guidelines
- Science-backed supplement
- Only comes in bags for a 28-day or 56-day supply, so you’ll need to regularly order more supplements (and even more so if you have a couple of horses)
What I Like About It
I love that the supplement is in pellet form and apple-flavored, so it’s a favorite for Moonshine. And Moonshine’s joint health has improved since using this novel health supplement.
5. Med-Vet Pharmaceuticals (MVP) Exceed 6-Way
For an overall health supplement that supports your horse’s joints, vascular and gastric systems, hooves, coat, and digestion, buy Med-Vet Pharmaceuticals (MVP) Exceed 6-Way. And at about $3.32 per day, it’s not too pricey.
- Has a NASC quality seal
- In pellet form, so easy to feed your horse
- Contains various joint-specific supplements: glucosamine sulfate, MSM, yucca schidigera extract, hydrolyzed gelatin/collagen, omega-3 fatty acid in the form of linolenic acid, vitamins A, C, and E, chondroitin sulfate, hyaluronic acid, manganese, copper, and zinc
- Most horses like the taste
- Contains quite a high load of vitamin C
What I Like About It
I love that it’s an all-in-one supplement for Moonshine, making it super cost-effective, while I know she is supported in many (health) ways.
Bonus: A Few More Joint Supplement Options
You can also consider:
- Mad Barn Natural Vitamin E
- Mad Barn 3:1 Zinc Copper
- Mad Barn MSM
- Mad Barn W-3 Oil
- AniMed Glucosamine 5000 Joint Support Powder
- Vita Flex Equinyl Combo Hyaluronic Acid
- Advanced Cetyl M Joint Action Formula
- Devil’s Claw Plus Granules
Horse Joint Supplement Tips
Keep these tips in mind when choosing and feeding joint supplements for your horse:
- When opting for a “pure” supplement (for example, only glucosamine or chondroitin), find out what is the most efficient form. For example, hyaluronic acid works best as an injectable, so you may need to chat with your vet to do the injections, while other supplements work best taken orally or applied topically (in the form of a cream or gel).
- You can’t cure your horse’s joint-related disease, so it’s best to start supplementation early to help prevent the onset of degenerative joint disease.
- Some supplements come in pellet form, so you can easily feed these as a treat or add it to your horse’s feed.
- When supplements are in powder form, you may need to be clever with getting a picky horse to eat it. You can sprinkle it over their feed or hide it in a horse treat muffin.
- Some supplements aren’t safe for lactating or pregnant mares or foals, so check the label or with your vet.
Other Great Horse Supplements To Consider
Other joint supplements you can include in your horse’s diet are:
- Cetylated fatty acids (cetyl myristoleate, CFAs, or CMO) can help protect cartilage and minimize pain. The minimum dose for horses is usually 1,400 mg daily.
- Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps connective tissues. However, be careful with supplementation since a horse naturally produces vitamin C.
A horse grazing on fresh pasture could ingest about 1,000 to 2,000 mg daily. Too much vitamin C may cause cartilage damage, so consult your vet before adding this supplement.
- Various herbs have anti-inflammatory effects that can help horses who suffer from joint-related health issues (and more).
Adding yucca, Boswellia (Indian frankincense), garlic, and devil’s claw to your horse’s feed.
- Manganese is a trace mineral essential for chondroitin sulfate and cartilage metabolism.
Supplement manganese with a low dose of 25 mg or less since horses eating average-quality hay, grain, and pasture will get more than just the minimum manganese requirement. And more isn’t better.
- Copper is essential in forming connective tissue, and copper and zinc are part of the body’s antioxidant enzyme systems.
Many horse diets may be deficient in copper and zinc, so use a dose of 150 mg of zinc and 50 mg of copper.
- Green-lipped mussels, high in omega-3 fatty acids, chondroitin sulfate, and glucosamine, are excellent joint health supplements.
You can add these for your horse: turmeric, cod liver oil, vitamins A and E, CBD oil, rose hip, capsaicin, and Cissus quadrangularis (veldt grape, adamant creeper, or treebine).
Answer: Joint supplements for horses help support your horse’s joints, treat inflammation and pain, decrease swelling, and improve mobility. Examples of horse joint supplements are glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, hyaluronic acid, MSM, hydrolyzed collagen, resveratrol, and herbs like turmeric, devil’s claw, and yucca.
Answer: Joint supplements help your horse with their joint issues, whether they have osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease, synovitis, capsulitis, or a joint injury. The supplements can help slow damage to the joint, manage pain, swelling, and inflammation, and more.
It’s essential to find the right joint supplements for your horse based on their age, level of work, and injury or disease (and symptoms).
Answer: It’s best to support your horse’s joints before they show signs of discomfort, pain, swelling, or lameness to help prevent joint degeneration. However, you can also introduce horse joint supplements when your horse has a joint-related injury or disease or when your vet or equine dietician recommends doing so.
Final Thoughts About Horse Joint Supplements
When we have and love horses, we want the best for them. That means supporting their overall health and addressing health concerns as they crop up. A horse with joint issues or an injury needs the best horse joint supplements to help them through this trying time.
You need to find the best combination of joint supplements for your steed, just like I have with Moonshine. I consulted with my vet and equine nutritionist to ensure the supplements were the best.