SmartPak Ask a Pro Q3: Joint Support

We asked our featured Health Team member and SmartPak Medical Director Lydia Gray, DVM, MA, why it’s important to support your horse’s joints no matter his age, workload, or breed and to discuss the significance of new research on cutting-edge ingredients for equine joint health.

The choices for equine joint supplements are seemingly endless. Often horse owners are left questioning if their horse needs one, asking which is right for their horse, and the correct dosages of those supplements.

These products are designed to lubricate joints and maintain healthy tendons and ligaments.

There is no guaranteed method for ensuring your horse’s joints remain healthy throughout his life, but joint supplements are one way to help keep his joints comfortable and potentially extend his performance longevity, Dr. Gray says. To better understand the role that joint supplements play, Dr. Gray explains the tissues within your horse’s joints.

There are no guaranteed methods for ensuring your horse’s joints remain healthy, but joint supplements are one way to help.

“Healthy articular cartilage has a smooth, slippery surface that allows joints freedom of movement and provides cushioning for better shock absorption,” she explained. “Once this smooth surface is damaged or disrupted and articular cartilage is compromised, it results in stiffness and discomfort.”

Studies have shown that three of the most common ingredients for joint health—glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, and hyaluronic acid—help support cartilage growth and inhibit cartilage breakdown. This supports healthy joints and soft tissue before an issue arises.

In addition to glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, and hyaluronic acid, SmartStride Ultra™ is formulated with revolutionary ingredients based on findings from leading research in joint health conducted by top industry experts. SmartStride Ultra also includes hydrolyzed collagen, silica, turmeric, boron, and resveratrol. These ingredients help maintain resilient tendons and ligaments as well as bone and joint tissue, while also promoting a healthy inflammatory response, and are a potent blend of antioxidants, trace minerals, and building blocks.

SmartStride™ Ultra Pellets represent the next generation of joint support for horses.

“Think about joint supplements as an insurance policy for your horse’s long-term soundness,” Dr. Gray said. “You can stack the deck in your horse’s favor by providing him with the building blocks of healthy joint tissue from an early age. That way, he’ll be able to use these ingredients to rebuild cartilage and replace synovial fluid when needed.”

A recent study conducted at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, found that SmartStride Ultra may improve comfort and extend performance longevity in mature horses. Lead researcher Jessica Leatherwood, PhD, an assistant professor of equine science at the university, was designed to determine the effects of the SmartStride Ultra supplement on gait mechanics, specifically stride length and range of motion. The study showed horses supplemented with SmartStride Ultra had a statistically significant increase in range of motion in the hock at the walk and a tendency toward an increased range of motion at the trot.

“We were eager to conduct this study and thrilled to partner with Texas A&M and Dr. Leatherwood’s team,” Gray said. “This research enables us to confidently back SmartStride Ultra with science and statistics to help horse owners make informed decisions about how to best support their horses’ joint health.”

Keep following along in the SmartPak Ask a Pro series as we cover a wide range of equine health care and supplement topics here