South African trial shows amazing results with the diet supplementation of hydrolyzed collagen

The Beneficial role of Hydrolyzed Collagen in Equine Osteoarthritis, as well as other Benefits for horses with Collagen, supplemented diets

What is Osteoarthritis and why is it important to treat and prevent osteoarthritis in horses?

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease marked by progressive destruction of normal articular cartilage and subchondral bone. This development is typically characterized by lameness, functional disability and chronic pain in a horse. When the cells that produce collagen needed for strong cartilage growth (chondrocytes) don’t function optimally, not enough cartilage is built to combat the destruction of cartilage lost in normal wear and tear. So much more when there is an injury, aging or pre-existing conditions. Articular cartilage is found at the ends of bones, acting as shock absorbers and providing a smooth gliding surface for bone in order to protect the bone itself.

When supplementing the diet with Collagen, chondrocytes are stimulated to produce more collagen and articular cartilage.

More than 60% of lameness in horses is based on osteoarthritis. Consequently, lameness is the most economically important medical condition affecting horses and the major cause of reduced athletic function and retirement in equine performers.

The goals of optimal osteoarthritis treatment is to improve quality of life by preventing osteoarthritis, minimizing pain and discomfort, and in addition slow down the progression of joint degradation. Collagen helps prevent osteoarthritis, slow down degradation, and helps build new joint cartilage. Pain medication might be risky as most often it has adverse effects including damage to e.g. liver, kidneys and gut. Pain medication does not treat osteoarthritis but masks pain so that the horse can perform; unfortunately whilst osteoarthritis progresses further. This becomes a vicious cycle.

There is a strong need for alternative treatment addressing not only the symptoms but underlying pathological conditions and the progression of the disease. Whether your horse is in peak condition and performing at high levels of his sport – racing, show jumping, dressage, or a fun horse; it is suggested that the addition of collagen in his diet would be a wise decision and a great tactic for supporting healthy, resilient tissues throughout his body.





Why did we decide to do a South African trial?

An international trial, looking at the effect of adding a dose-related amount of collagen hydrolysate to horses’ feed found a considerable improvement in the degree of lameness, mobility and “willingness to run/move” and significant improvements were found.

We decided to conduct a trial in South Africa to confirm these international results and to involve South African stables, owners, breeders and trainers. Furthermore, we wanted to see what other benefits Collagen has on horses’ health.

The South African horse trial is an “ongoing trial” and will be continually evaluated throughout the use of collagen supplied by us.
We fed horses with Collagen for 3 months at a dosage of 50 grams per day. The response from the trainers and stable owners were astonishing. Here’s what they had to say…..

Results of the South African trial

Different stables were involved. Horses involved were of many types and competitors.

Sunman, a beautiful Appaloosa, was put on trial because of swollen fetlock joints and tendonitis. Sunman is 17 years of age and approximately 16h high. Sunman is generally a happy, healthy, strong horse as well as a very successful showjumper. The showjumping, however, caused a lot of wear and tear on his body and legs even to the point that his legs broke down with severe frontal lameness. With the use of 50g collagen supplement per day for three months, there was a marked improvement, to the extent that he is jumping again.,

“He (Sunman) isn’t 100% sound. Takes him a while to warm up.”

The second horse on the trial, Senen, is a sensitive 9-year-old home-bred Hanovarian x Holsteine, 15-3h high and reasonably healthy. He is quite an accomplished dressage competitor. However, he developed a cyst in his left coffin bone which was surgically removed but which left a 50 cent cavity. This hole was often the cause of infection but added collagen to the diet brought this problem under control.

Femin is a young 4-year-old mare of excellent breeding. She does not have a particular health issue and is considered very healthy. Femin has been put on Collagen because her owner has sufficient trust in Collagen to keep Fem stronger and healthier for longer. Thus, having her around for longer and in tip-top shape for as long as possible.

A radical improvement was seen in Sunman’s tendonitis after introducing collagen to his diet.


Due to his light pigmentation and South Africa’s harsh sun conditions, Sunman also suffered from an eye problem that soon cleared up after supplementing his diet with collagen.

Furthermore, Sunman had a huge problem with sores and discomfort in his sheath and penis area, with bloody sores on his penis. This too cleared up nicely within 3 months.


Sunman’s overall health improved. The signs of lameness turned out to be a result of tendonitis, which was quickly resolved by collagen. Muscle strength and recovery also improved. Digestive health also improved. Wound repairing was excellent. Furthermore, his mental health improved in so far as Sunman seemed to be happier, calmer and more relaxed.

The next horse on the trial was Midgard Zaratoga, a Namibian Warmblood, age 7 and 16 h high. He is a bit quirky but loves his showjumping job. Although Zaratoga was in good health, collagen did cause more mobility and freedom in his movement after three months of 50g collagen supplement per day; improving his overall performance.

lso, “Locarno So Nice”, a Namibian Warm blood, age 10 and 16.3 hands high was fed the 50g collagen per day for three months. Locarno, is a bit suspicious but very talented in show jumping. Although Locarno was in good health, his coat improved markedly after the first month. In month 2, he showed a positive change in muscle strength and recovery.

Both Zaratoga and Locarno, showed improvements in coats that become shinier and had positive tail growth. Both Zaratoga and Locarno’s general health improved during this trial; making them more fit to jump up into the open grades.



Some of the Additional Benefits
of supplementing your horse’s diet
with collagen may include:


  • Boost collagen production,
    for growth, repair and maintenance of collagen protein in the body for a strong resilient horse (~30% of the protein in the body is collagen – dry weight basis.)
  • Improve immunity
    Collagen protein is rich in amino acids that support a healthy immune system.
  • Strengthens bone and prevent bone loss; reducing the possibility of bone fractures
  • Foals are known to have positive growth and bone development with collagen supplementation.
  • Promotes muscle strength and recovery,
    especially in athletes and elderly horses. This was evident in the trial ran in this article. It is said that one month of muscle loss takes up to six months to recover. Collagen shortens this period drastically.
  • Greatly aids in digestive health
    Collagen supplements can prevent ulcer recurrence and promote stomach health as proven in trials at Louisiana State University’s Equine Health Studies Program. Horses are prone to stomach ulcers and have a compound stomach. Up to 90% of performance horses suffer from gastric ulcers. Hydrolyzed Collagen-fed horses had fewer and less severe ulcers throughout the trial and significantly fewer ulcers were seen after 56 days of feeding.

(80% of young foals removed from mares are susceptive to getting ulcers).

  • Reduces the risk of heart disease
    As with people, collagen strengthens organs such as the heart. It also improves the health of arteries.
  • Promotes healthy skin, coat, hair and hoof health
    Collagen helps counter act conditions such as chronic laminitis, cracked hooves, or dry, brittle feet incapable of holding shoes. Coat health was evident in our trial.
  • Promotes wound healing and repair
    This was most evident in our trial.
  • Strengthens Mares, Foals and Youngstock
    Many studies have been done all yielding similar results. Collagen has a positive influence on the growth and bone development of foals. Foals are generally larger than a control group, their joint cartilage is thicker and pastern joint width is superior. In addition, hair and hooves also show better growth. Collagen has also been associated with female fertility.
  • Alleviates anxiety
    Due to the amino acid glycine which is abundant in collagen, horses may be calmer. Also something evident in our trial.
  • Can help boost metabolism, increase muscle mass and energy output,
    Due to specific amino acids in Collagen


A horse with a diet supplemented with collagen tends to have a better quality of life for longer.