New research from the University of Surrey and the University of Nottingham suggests there is reason to believe that dressage and eventing horses may benefit from a daily dosage of nutritional supplements to prevent and treat a variety of ailments. Joint and mobility health are among the top concerns for nutrients, but overall stamina and fitness can also be aided through the use of antioxidants and vitamins.
Joint and Mobility Health
Many horse owners are beginning to test different supplemental doses to help prevent and treat the inevitable muscle and joint damage that comes with eventing and dressage. One of the most important physical features of a horse is it’s legs, and preserving those features can prove worthwhile in giving the horse the best life possible. Some common supplements include:
Glucosamine – A dose of glucosamine provides the natural building blocks for tissue, to assure the cartilage surrounding joints is healthy and mobile. It acts as a strong foundation for repair and growth of joints.
Chondroitin – This supplement preserves cartilage as long as possible by helping slow the enzymes that reduce the elasticity of joint cartilage in horses. This is more common for race horses, but eventing and dressage horses can also reap the benefits of using chondroitin.
MSM – This organic state of sulphur helps combat irritation consistent in an aging horse. MSM also possesses benefits that aid the mobility system as a whole and not just one specific joint.
Stamina and Fitness
A horse’s stamina is based heavily on diet, and there is actually little research showing that stamina and energy may be affected positively from supplement use. Many owners attribute a horse’s stamina and energy levels to different training programs and the overall age of the horse. Although there isn’t an individual supplement that will affect stamina and fitness, horses may benefit from natural antioxidants to increase muscle repair and strengthen the horse’s immune system.
It is important to note that the supplemental doses supplied to horses are always at the discretion of the trainer and owner. Nutritional use in horses in fairly new, and this research is considered to be in the early stages of formulation. The results of further research will not only help horse owners understand the different ailments that horse’s experience, but also how to prevent and treat them.