Just like humans, horses’ immune systems need to be in tip-top condition in order for them to be fit and healthy and they can benefit from supplements being introduced into their diet. There is all manner of different supplements that are both natural and synthetic that can do anything from increase their mineral intake, strengthen their bones or even calm them down. We’ve put together a guide on the different types of horse supplements and what they do.
Vitamins & Minerals
Vitamin supplements are a great way of getting the more good stuff into a horses diet, particularly if they are a fussy eater or if they have a pre-existing dietary condition. They can also be employed in the run-up to a competition or if the horse will be exercised a lot, to ensure that they have the maximum energy needed to fulfil the task in front of them. Some common examples include turmeric, which is full of antioxidants that help prevent illness, molasses which can be used for energy and even mares milk replacement for foals that are weening.
It's well known in the equine world that horses suffer from joint problems, particularly if they jump a lot or have been a career horse. Even just natural ageing can cause arthritis and swelling around the joints, so using supplements early on can help prevent the negative consequences of these conditions. Cod liver oil encourages strong joints while glucosamine and chondroitin reduce inflammation by drawing toxins away from the joint.
Digestion and Behaviour
Supplements can be used to control a horse’s digestion and behaviour, just like over the counter medicines do for humans. Typical digestion supplements can include herbal remedies to balance the gut bacteria and anti-acid formulas to control acid reflux. There are also remedies available that the horse ingests, to calm them down or make them more focused, which can be particularly important in breeding season or in the run-up to a competition.