Do Joint Supplements Work for Performance Horses?

Richard G. Godbee, Ph.D., PAS, Dipl. ACAS-Nutrition

Maintaining soundness in the equine athlete is an ongoing task for those involved in the horse industry. Soundness depends on a horse’s muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones and joints functioning in concert. Joint function is related to motion, controlled by muscles and tendons in a way that is repeatable with low friction and, as such, during normal training and competition should be without inflammation or joint soreness. Combating the causes of lameness, inflammation and soreness with a preventative approach helps keep your horse at peak performance.

Studies Show How Supplement Combinations Can Maintain Healthy Joints

The use of oral glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate and sodium hyaluronate in different combinations as joint protectants has been researched intensively over the past two decades, as has these supplements' ability to reduce inflammation and soreness associated with everyday training and competition.

  • Dechant, et al. (2005) showed that a combination of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate worked better than either alone in reducing glycosaminoglycans in performance horses.
  • Harlan, Haut and Orth (2011) showed that the addition of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate reduced release of nitric oxide and glycosaminoglycans.
  • M.R. Rogers (2006) reported that oral intake of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate extended the time required between use in the distal intertarsal and tarso-metatarsal joints.

Glucosamine works as a supplement because cartilage readily absorbs this substance. Chondroitin sulfate can also be absorbed after oral administration. These supplements and others that can be absorbed, such as hyaluronic acid, can work in concert to provide targeted joint support and promote joint health at the cellular level.

Healthy Joints & Equinyl™ Supplement

Daily training and competition can cause joints to become sore or inflamed and for high level competitors, keeping joints healthy is critical for success. Vita Flex Pro has fine-tuned its joint supplements, tested them in a lab and the real world and fine-tuned them some more to help keep performance horse's competing at a top level.

Vita Flex Pro Victory Team members like Todd Minikus rely on products like Equinyl™ Combo with Hyaluronic Acid to maintain healthy joints in his performance horses. One key differentiator in some of the products in the Equinyl™ line is that they not only have traditional glucosamine but also contain 20% patent-pending time-release glucosamine, which continuously releases for over 24 hours to ensure that the synovial fluid in joints is available to lubricate joints all day. Additionally, inflammation is a byproduct of heavy training and competition. Vita Flex Pro’s patented ComfortX™ ingredients are designed to reduce inflammation caused by normal daily exercise and provide joint health support with flexibility and rapid recovery time.

Equinyl™ products and HylaMotion™ powder are parts of the full line of Vita Flex Pro® products designed with the performance horse in mind, to keep your high performance horses healthy and in top condition. To learn more, visit or call (800) 848-2359.

Equinyl, HylaMotion, and Vita Flex Pro are trademarks of Farnam Companies, Inc.

About Richard G. Godbee, Ph.D., PAS, Dipl. ACAS - Nutrition

Dr. Richard G. Godbee received a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture and a Master of Science in Ruminant Nutrition from the University of Georgia. He received his Ph.D. in Animal Nutrition/Nutritional Biochemistry with an emphasis in equine from Colorado State University. He has numerous publications in peer-reviewed journals and popular press on multiple species. He has presented papers and given invited talks throughout the United States, Japan, Ireland, England, Germany, Switzerland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Australia, Mexico and Canada.

Dr. Godbee is a Director of Product Development in Research and Development for Central Garden & Pet. He has served as a faculty or adjunct faculty member of several universities. He has also served on the graduate committees for Master and Ph.D. candidates at numerous universities.

Dr. Godbee's research interest has included the effect of nutrition on immunity and inflammation. He is Board Certified in Animal Nutrition by the American College of Animal Science and has achieved Professional Animal Scientist status in the American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists with a specialty in horses. He is also a member of the American Academy of Veterinary Nutrition. He owns and shows cutting horses at local and national events.

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