If you think your horse is lacking in a key vitamin then horse supplements might be able to help. At best they can completely turn their health around, but at the very least they should be able to top them up if they are deficient. Of course, they are not essential and if you feed your horse well and have access to green pastures and great grazing, then they won’t be needed at all.
But it’s not always that easy and there may also be issues with behavior, as well as joints. So, take a look at this info on horse supplements to make sure you get the best available for your equine friend.
Horse supplements contain basic vitamins and minerals for the most part. These tend to come from natural sources, as the manufacturers know how demanding horse owners are and that they won’t just give their horse any old supplement. Whether they are sourcing B vitamins from green algae or essential minerals from grains, the sources are usually good.
Reputation plays a big role here as the ones that provide the best service and the best product tend to quickly get a good reputation within the equine community. They then do everything they can to hold onto this. So, do your research and make sure you are buying from a company that has done all of the hard work already and has won the respect of many previous customers.
This information is not as easy to find as it would be for sports supplements designed for humans, but it is still out there if you look for equine message boards, Facebook groups and other such locations.
Calming Supplements for Horses
The calming supplements for horses currently on the market contain a number of natural ingredients. These can be given on their own or combined with similar ingredients. They include:
Calcium: Although many trainers swear by this to affect the horse’s mood, there is no actual proof that it does that. There are studies out there, but nothing specific and nothing concrete. Still, the experience is often enough for many horse owners to trust this one.
This is an amino acid and one that is also said to calm humans. There is an old wive’s tale that the high levels of tryptophan in turkey is what sends people to sleep after Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, when it fact it’s the indulgence that does it. Still, it seems to work better for our equine friends and can be found in many calming supplements for horses.
There are no studies that show these are effective calming supplements for horses. However, you will find them in many supplement blends and there have been positive results from studies performed on other animals.
Another ingredient that has a positive effect on humans with regards to mood and one that may also do the same to horses. That’s why it is often included in calming supplements for horses.
As with chamomile, this plant has proved to be effective at calming humans and may also provide similar benefits for horses.
Magnesium for Horses
It seems like all of the biggest calming supplements for horses contain magnesium. There are several reasons for this, including he fact that it is abundant, cheap, available from natural sources, and effective.
Supplementing with magnesium can produce positive effects for humans and it has also shown promise when tested on lab mice. There are not as many studies out there with regards to magnesium for horses, but many owners swear by it and it is included in calming supplements for this very reason.
You should know, however, that regular supplementation may cause a few unwanted side effects. It is said that magnesium supplementation can change the levels of calcium in the body, which may lead to orthopedic issues further down the line. For animals that are on their legs all day and may have been bred to run or jump, it just might not be worth the risk.
Joint Supplements for Horses
Joint issues in horses can be catastrophic. It can cause them great pain at all times and it could also make it difficult to run, jump, and to generally do what horses do best.
As with calming supplements for horses, joint supplements often come as blends, containing a selection of ingredients and extracts. The goal of these is to reduce inflammation and soreness, while assisting with mobility.
They often contain glucosamine, which is widely used for joint issues in humans and in horses; omega fatty acids, which may be able to strengthen the joints; MSM, which is used by the body to form connective tissue; and Hyaluronic Acid (HA) which is present throughout the body and acts as a lubricant for the joints.
Proteins, vitamins and amino acids may also be added as well as whatever proprietary blend is currently trending.
Vitamins for Horses
Your horse can get a lot of the vitamins and minerals they need from feeding on fresh grass and hay. However, like we discussed in our Horse Diet guide, horses feeding primarily on hay may be deficient, so it can be essential to supplement with the vitamins/minerals they are not getting.
Salt is a key one, which is why salt blocks are often provided for horses in pastures and stables. B vitamins are also often given to horses, and many vitamins for horses also combine an assortment of amino acids and trace minerals such as iron.
Many owners prefer to give them these vitamins as natural as possible and one of the best ways to do that is to give your horse a Spirulina supplement. This is an algae that naturally contains a wealth of B vitamins, as well as other vitamins and minerals.
Other Equine Supplements
There are horse supplements out there for all kinds of issues, both to prevent them and to help manage them. There are supplements to be taken everyday to get essential vitamins and there are supplements to aid with performance. Take away the fancy labels and the horse supplement industry is not unlike the human one.
Sure, there are fewer protein powders, but there is a lot of choice and a lot of competition. And just like the human supplements, providing the diet is okay then none of these equine supplements are actually necessary.