Many horse owners these days elect to feed supplements in addition to traditional forages and grain. Covering a wide spectrum of equine health, they offer to affect your horse’s weight, coat condition, joints, feet, breathing and more. Some supplement enthusiasts use seeds or organic powders to achieve the desired result (such as garlic powder to repel flies) for a small cost whereas others can pay hundreds of dollars a month for chemically formulated joint supplements.
Veterinarians, horse owners, nutritionists and other equine practitioners have conflicting opinions on whether any joint supplement is actually effective. Many have a product they swear by, while others swear them off altogether feeling like the nutraceutical industry is a farce due to lack of empirical evidence and replicable, proven results of efficacy.
Whether you choose to feed them or not, it is always a good idea to consult your vet before making any major changes to your horse’s diet. Some horses can have allergies or dietary sensitivities which could make experimentation dangerous.
If you do decide to feed them, always make sure you read the label carefully and make sure you are not under or overdosing them (many pelleted feeds already have vitamins and minerals added, so don’t allow overlap). Be sure to feed the supplement according to the label and by weight, not by scoop. If you read the fine print, many supplements advice feeding X amount of grams per Y amount of body weight.
Always use common sense when making changes to your horse’s diet, and while some supplements could benefit your horse’s wellbeing, they could also be completely ineffective and a waste of money. Choose wisely!