The number of joint supplements available can make choosing the right one a challenge. Luckily, with knowledge of how the key ingredients in joint supplements work, along with an understanding of your horse’s workload, finding the right support for your horse is as easy as 1, 2, 3.
- Know your ingredients
Every horse’s joints are under stress. Your horse’s body has the ability to repair and rebuild after moderate “wear and tear” from light activity, but research has shown that even wild mustangs can develop joint changes. When you add in the increased demands of riding and training, it’s easy to see how your horse’s joints may be experiencing more damage than his body can keep up with. Joint supplements can help support your horse by providing a steady supply of the ingredients he needs to cope with the demands of his workload.
If you’ve looked for a joint supplement before, you know that there are many ingredients available. Below, we’ll dig deeper into some of the common ingredients to get a better understanding of how they can help your horse.
- Glucosamine plays an important role in the protection of joints. Research suggests it supports the production of new cartilage and it has also been shown to inhibit the free radicals and enzymes that break down cartilage.
- Chondroitin sulfate stimulates the production of hyaluronic acid and proteoglycans. In addition, it inhibits the enzymes that break down cartilage.
- MSM is a bioavailable form of sulfur for building and repairing cartilage. It also helps support a normal inflammatory response.
- Hyaluronic Acid (HA) is an integral component of joint fluid and articular cartilage that provides both lubrication and shock absorption.
- Collagen and silica help maintain strong, resilient connective tissues, like tendons and ligaments.
- Herbs like devil’s claw, yucca, and boswellia are used to fight discomfort in joints and other tissues and support a normal inflammatory response.
- Consider your horse’s age and workload
Your horse’s age can play a key role in your selection of a joint supplement. If your horse is showing signs of stiffness and discomfort as he gets older, you may want to look for a senior-specific supplement to help keep him comfortable.
Similarly, your horse’s workload can help determine how much joint support he needs. More work equals more stress, which in turn requires more support. But how do you decide how hard your horse is working? The NRC (National Research Council) has defined four workload levels: light, moderate, heavy, and very heavy. When determining which category your horse falls into, you want to consider what type of work he does, how often he works, and how long he works. Keep in mind that what type of work your horse does is just as important as how often he works when it comes to defining his workload.
- Choose your joint supplement
Whether your horse is hitting the trails or keeping up with a rigorous show schedule, SmartPak has a joint supplement designed to meet his needs. The exclusive line of SmartFlex® formulas has a supplement designed for horses in every level of workload:
- Designed for horses in light work, SmartFlex I Maintenance Pellets provide cost-effective joint maintenance and help maintain healthy joint tissue.
- Great for horses in moderate work, SmartFlex II Support Pellets are perfect for helping manage day-to-day joint stress.
- Made for horses in heavy work, SmartFlex III Resilience Pellets contain comprehensive support for joint, tendon, and ligament health.
- For the equine athlete in very heavy work, SmartFlex IV Ultimate Pellets are designed to provide aggressive support for joint, tendon, and ligament health and help minimize the stiffness and discomfort caused by intense training and competition.
- Designed to meet the unique needs of senior horses, SmartFlex Senior Pellets support healthy joints and help manage the stiffness and discomfort that comes with aging.
- The ideal choice for horses in rehabilitation, SmartFlex Rehab Pellets support the normal healing process and promote soft tissue health.
No matter the age or work level of your beloved horse, there is a SmartFlex formula designed for their needs, giving them the best support possible. To learn more, visit www.SmartPak.com/SmartFlex today and get started.
From the feed room to the tack room, SmartPak offers innovative solutions to help riders take great care of their horses. SmartPak was founded in 1999 with the introduction of the patented SmartPak supplement feeding system. The revolutionary, daily dose SmartPaks are custom-made for your horse, individually labeled and sealed for freshness. With the success of this simple and convenient feeding system, SmartPak has continued to expand its offering of quality products, including its own line of more than 55 supplement formulas called SmartSupplements, and a wide variety of tack, equipment, and supplies. The company has grown rapidly each year and is now the largest retailer of equestrian products in the United States. SmartPak’s success has been powered by a passion for delivering an unbeatable customer experience, and the company has been recognized with a Bizrate Circle of Excellence award five years in a row, as well as receiving an “Elite” rating from STELLAService. A nine-time Inc. 500/5000 honoree, SmartPak is the only equine company ever named to the Inc. 500 list.