Joints and Soundness
There are countless different commercially available products all claiming to have amazing abilities to resolve your horses' problems. So it is worth looking at each component individually to assess their usefulness. Of the oral products marketed there are really only four (Glucosamine, Chondroitin, MSM, & HA) that can be completely justified for use in maintenance of healthy joints.
It is a mistake to assume that a product which contains more component compounds is better. Although many commercial products do contain additional compounds this is usually to the detriment of Glucosamine and Chondroitin levels. Glucosamine, chondroitin, and MSM are virtually completely absent from a horse's 'normal' diet, thus making them an important addition to an already balanced diet.
Glucosamine (HCL) is an amino sugar used as a building block to form tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and synovial fluid (joint lubrication). It gives cartilage its strength, structure and shock absorbing qualities.
Glucosamine is a natural substance whose effectiveness has been demonstrated in countless scientific studies. It has been said to be superior to conventional choices as it does not merely mask issues but instead works on a cellular level to target the origin and actual cause of the problem.
Chondroitin is a natural source of essential amino acids that the body needs for cartilage synthesis and inhibiting the enzymes that destroy cartilage molecules, thereby promoting cellular nourishment. This facilitates the creation of watery spaces within cartilage, giving it back its elacticity. By restoring fluid to the cartilage, Chondroitin supports the repairing action of Glucosamine, working at a cellular level to alleviate the actual cause of joint discomfort and stiffness.
MSM is a natural form of bio available sulphur essential for the health and elasticity of tendons, ligaments, and muscles. The sulphur found within MSM is needed for the proper repair and maintenance of collagen, such as that found within the connective tissue of healthy joints. It also helps to maintain the natural anti-inflammatory actions of the metabolism.
HA (Hyaluronic Acid)
Ha is a glycosaminoglycan (GAG), which is a substance that attaches to collagen and elastin to form cartilage. HA not only helps keep the cartilage that cushions joints strong and flexible, but also helps increase supplies of joint-lubricating synovial fluid.
Each of these compounds is a synergist, which means that when administered together they help each others effects, providing a more powerful joint supplement.
What levels should joint components be fed at in order to be effective?
In order for your joint supplement to be fully effective it is vital that you feed your horse with the correct help. The body of scientific literature indicates that most effective treatment is given by a product that provides adequately high levels of the active compounds per kg of body weight.
To put it into context, the optimum daily level rate for a 60-80kg human would be:
- 2000mg Glucosamine
- 2000mg MSM
- 1000mg Chondroitin
A horse, being obviously much heavier, should be administered a daily level of at least the following:
- 10,000mg/10g Glucosamine
- 10,000mg/10g MSM
- 4000mg/4g Chondroitin
- (based on a 300-600kg horse)
Levels that are substantially lower than this will give reduced benefits, and minimal levels are likely to be completely ineffective especially in horses that are competing or working hard.
Why should your horse take joint supplements?
- The most common cause of problems in horses according to vets and equine specialists, is joint discomfort.
- Any form of exercise, especially over a prolonged period, causes micro-damage to muscle and bone.
- For the horse, a heavy work load or competition is essentially traumatic and physiologically unnatural, causing joint damage.
- Specialisation in a particular discipline causes the same muscles & joints to be used repeatedly, causing damage beyond natural repair (similar to repetitive strain syndrome in humans).
- Advancing age, as well as exercise, can lead to a breakdown in the natural regeneration process, where damage starts to out weigh repair, resulting in joint discomfort, stiffness, and other joint problems. By feeding a joint supplement you are helping to rebalance this process allowing your horse to stay more comfortable for longer and helping to maintain healthy joints long term.
For your horse to be able to perform to his full potential it is vital that his joints are given the best possible care. The most effective way to do this is by feeding a joint supplement that boosts the natural joint repairing substances in the body.
Riaflex products are the equine specialists solution to long term joint health - we make no extravagant claims nor do we market anything that Kate does not have complete confidence in as a therapist. Your horse's health and working career is paramount which is why Riaflex products have been formulated with this as their utmost priority.
How long does it take for my joint supplement to work
This varies from horse to horse and is also dependent on the exact condition your horse has. In most horses, if fed at the correct levels, the effect of Riaflex products is noticed after about four to six weeks of administration. You will notice your horse becoming happier and a little easier in doing what he has always done, the hard working youngster and competition horse becoming less likely to damage or degrade his weight bearing joints and the horse who has had arthroscopic surgery is likely to recover in a better fashion.
Why are Riaflex products any different?
Riaflex products are formulated by an equine therapist, ensuring that only components that are of significant benefit are included. This guarantees that you are not paying extra cost for unnecessary ingredients. You can also be safe in the knowledge that our products are provided with higher levels of active ingredients ensuring maximum impact and the best possible care for your horses' joints.
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