Horses - Diet and Nutrition/Senior Horse care


Hi there, I recently adopted a horse who is 26 and still in relatively good shape. He was rolling the other day and staggered a bit getting up, and had some difficulty getting up onto his feet. He is a little stiff in his legs, and I know its probably arthritis.

Here lies the problem,

He dislikes alfalfa, and I do not grain him, nor will I. He is pasture boarded and has been his whole life, so he is out 24/7 with 2 other horses who are pasture boarded and close to 15 during the day at turnout.

He started getting wise to me using a syringe, and I am currently waiting on some treats with glucosamine in them to see if it helps. But I wonder if the active ingredients have been baked out. Is there a way to inject food with glucosamine so He can get the supplement easily?

Is there another easy way I can get him his supplements daily? If so what are they? I was thinking of chopping up a pear or an apple with some carrots and sprinkling a supplement on there.

Hello Courtney,

Thank you for your question.  The glucosamine in the treats you've ordered are likely as bioavailable as that found in a straight supplement.  I understand that you don't want to feed grain, but can appreciate how difficult it becomes getting supplements into horses without it.  My favorite trick is to hide additives in soaked beet pulp.  Beet pulp is not grain, its a high quality forage so it won't infringe on your desire to go grain-free but will provide a way of completely masking supplements.  Of course you can try the carrots, apples, etc but you might find the whole process a lot more work than soaking shredded beet pulp for 5 minutes before mixing in additives.

Just a quick suggestion though...there are mixed feelings about the effectiveness of glucosamine in rebuilding cartilage, especially in older horses.  Sometimes the damage has been done and the glucosamine does little more than prevent rapid deterioration.  I would recommend a natural anti-inflammatory to help mitigate the pain your horse is experiencing from his old joints.  I like grapeseed extract in these cases.  It works quite effectively without the nasty side effects that come with feeding NSAIDs.  You can buy it for use in horses and I prefer the one made by Basic Equine Nutrition, a Canadian company.  It is a concentrated product with a very low feeding rate and it is really palatable.  You could add it to your daily feeding of glucosamine.


Horses - Diet and Nutrition

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Corlena Patterson


I can help with any of your horse nutrition questions and concerns. I have been involved with horses for closing on 40 years, with a B.Sc in Animal Science and currently working on an M.Sc in Equine Science with the University of Edinburgh. I have owned my own feed store, consulted professionally as an equine nutritionist, and lectured in the fields of equine and dairy nutrition at the University level for 5 years. I have developed and currently market 'Ration-X', a ration formulation program for horses...designed for the everyday horse owner. I am happy to help in any way I can.


Experienced in developing and implementing feed programs for horses of all disciplines, creating custom horse supplements and managing inter-disciplinary equine facilities. Specialize in equine nutrition consulting.

The American Society of Equine Appraisers

'Stable Management' Handbook, Equine Canada.

M.Sc (Equine Science-current), B.Sc(Agr) Animal Science, Equine Sports Massage Therapy Certification, Farrier Certification, Equine Consultant Certification, Certified Equine Appraiser, Certified in Emergency Equine Rescue.

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