While Herbs for Horses’ motto is “For the good of the horse,” they could also borrow a famous line from C.S. Lewis who said, “Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.”

The company, owned by Ralph Robinson, makes a range of herbal, nutraceutical and nutritional products to improve horses’ health and optimize their performance and comfort throughout their lives.

Robinson selects only top-quality human-grade ingredients, carefully sourced from ISO certified and audited companies. What’s more, he funds third-party research that proves his products work. Neither practice is mandated in the equine supplement industry. Robinson has taken it upon himself to provide this peace of mind to horse owners, and proudly stands behind his products.

Dr. Wendy Pearson, a professor of equine physiology in the department of animal biosciences at the University of Guelph, has been contracted to conduct efficacy studies on numerous Herbs for Horses products over the past 20 years.

Herbs for Horses

Hyalcare Plus provides superior care and management of arthritic cartilage in equine athletes, and is competition safe.

“Herbs for Horses is really committed to putting science behind their products,” she said. “They have actively funded research into their products every year since 1997. That’s more than 20 years of research innovation in equine herbals.”

Dr. Pearson explained that she designs each study to answer a company’s question about a product, in order to find out if it can really do what they claim. She noted that the company must sign a contract that says the results can be published, regardless of whether the findings support the product’s efficacy. “As a researcher,” she said, “I am committed to the question – that’s all.”

She is currently conducting studies on Hyalcare Plus and Ulcer Therapy Plus – reformulations of original products, already shown to be effective in protecting cartilage tissue and healing ulcers. Since Robinson is committed to improving his products, he’s tweaked the formulas and come up with new questions to test – at his own insistence and expense. The latest Hyalcare study is investigating the efficacy of preserving cartilage tissue when arthritis is present in the joints (see photos below). Dr. Pearson is also preparing to conduct an exciting study on feeding Probio Plus to preserve intestinal microflora in order to counteract the effect of antibiotics on the equine hindgut.

Herbs for Horses

The Hyalcare Plus study takes cartilage samples from the knee joint and places them in a number of wells with ‘nutrient soup’ to keep the cells alive. Some wells will have an extract of Hyalcare and others will not. A chemical is added to all the wells that cause the cells to ‘behave’ arthritic, producing compounds that are associated with pain and cartilage breakdown. The amount of these compounds made by the samples both in the presence and absence of Hyalcare is measured. The prediction is that they make less of these compounds when the Hyalcare is added. Results will be available later this year.

For the sake of not only transparency, but education, study reports are published at horseherbs.com as the results become available (like this one on ulcers). There’s also a blog covering a wide array of equine health topics, not to mention detailed ingredient lists for each of their products. And, if you’ve got questions, Robinson and his team are just a click away.