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Winter Joint Care

Written By Kate Hore RNutr(Animal) R.Anim.Technol (Cert). Head Nutritionist at NAF

With the festivities behind us we, and our horses, can get back to the day to day of enjoying our riding, and looking forward to longer days with better weather ahead. However, that is not always easy when we are still very much in the grips of winter. Icy, or very wet and boggy, conditions can mean longer time spent stabled for our horses, limiting their natural exercise; while the cold, damp weather seemingly heads straight to their joints at this time of year. This is particularly true for our senior horses, where joint stress is recognized as being prevalent in more than 50% of horses over fifteen years old, rising to around 80-90% in older animals.

‘Inflammaging’ is a term we see discussed in mammals, including ourselves and horses, and describes that wear and tear phenomenon that many of us are all too familiar with. Common in horses, inflammaging is a natural process, and daily joint care is recommended in all teenage horses and beyond.

However, we are not about to write off our golden oldies– many of whom have so much more to offer. The experience that horse brings can be worth its weight in gold. Whether that is teaching a child to ride, giving confidence to a nervous rider, or the value of a true schoolmaster for helping the competitive rider to step up to the next level. Therefore keeping them fit and flexible is of paramount importance.

Feeding a daily joint supplement, designed for the needs of ageing joints, can nourish the joint, so maintaining soundness and allowing them to continue enjoying a full life. NAF Five Star Superflex Senior is a unique formulation providing our highest specification of the key joint support nutrients, working in synergy with naturally sourced Omega 3 fatty acids, to support the body’s own response to inflammaging.

Case Study – Valegro

Alongside his rider, Charlotte Dujardin, Valegro won three Olympic Gold medals as well as numerous European and World titles. Now enjoying a still active retirement at Carl Hester’s yard, twenty-one-year-old Valegro exercises regularly to keep him fit, flexible and focused.

Carl says “Feeding for joint health is crucial for ensuring that we provide the right support for our horses and the Five Star Superflex range allows us to do just that. Valegro gave us so much throughout his competitive career and Superflex Senior is the supplement of choice for helping him to maintain an active lifestyle as he gets older. It provides the right nutrition at the right levels, giving him flexibility for life.”

Tips for Senior Joint Care in Horses

  • Allow additional time for warm up and cool down at the end of the session
  • Vary the type of work and surfaces ridden on, if possible
  • Avoid riding on extremes, such as very deep going, or hard frosted surfaces
  • Turn them out as much as possible, with appropriate rugs and shelter
  • Feed NAF Five Star Superflex Senior daily

For more information on the best products to use for your horses, contact NAF via our FREE Nutritional Advice Line on 0800 373 106 or email