Natural Pain Relief Options for Horses

Table of Contents

Natural Pain Relief Options for Horses

Table of Contents

Your horse’s muscles endure a lot of strain, no matter the discipline. More so if they’re equine athletes. Those muscles can also get sore and tight whether you’re taking your horse over uneven ground, down hills, or up while trail riding.

Don’t worry, though. It’s normal. 

Like us humans, your horse’s muscles get tired and experience fatigue after a race or a workout. They become achy and stiff when pushed too hard. 

And because of the apparent language barrier, it’s challenging to know when horses are in pain or uncomfortable. 

Thankfully, scrutiny of your horse can signal they’re in pain. That said, there’s no reason why they should suffer through pain, especially when natural pain relief options for horses are abundant. 

Are you curious about what these are? Keep reading.

Signs of Pain in Horses

  • Lameness
  • Swelling
  • Head radiating from injured muscle
  • Stiffness
  • Rolling
  • Kicking at the abdomen
  • Flank watching
  • Blepharospasm (blinking or other eyelid movements) [1]

Top 10 Natural Anti-Inflammatory and Pain Relief Options for Horses


1. Boswellia

Also known as the Indian Frankincense, this herbal extract has been used for centuries in African and Asian folk medicine. Many believe it treats chronic inflammatory illnesses and other health conditions.

Clinical studies have also shown that Boswellia extract improves pain and physical function. [2] It maintains healthy joints and smooth movements, even in horses. 

Some joint health supplements for horses even contain this ingredient. It has also been proven to reduce the degradation of glycosaminoglycans, an essential nutrient in the horse’s joints. Hence, it aids in the maintenance of healthy joints. 

Another benefit of this remedy is it’s gentle on the horse’s stomach and intestines/gut.

2. Carnosine

Carnosine is a protein-building block naturally produced in the body. Studies suggest that it could be one of the therapeutic options to alleviate pain. [3] Its anti-inflammatory potential may also treat arthritis diseases. [4]

Additionally, this dipeptide comprising beta-alanine and histidine buffers pH decline in the muscles. As a result, it keeps them working. It also delays or prevents muscle fatigue and more excellent muscle activity. [5]

Therefore, supplementing horses with carnosine may alleviate their pain. We can’t recommend food sources of carnosine because they are often meats (beef, pork, chicken, or turkey). Horses’ digestive systems are also simply not set up to process meat.

A safer option is to use a liniment or a sports gel that contains Carnosine as its main active substance. One good example is ChemiPower’s CarnoGel, developed in cooperation with the Tartu University of Pharmacy scientists and the large equestrian community.

CarnoGel increases horse muscle performance, accelerates muscle recovery and promotes longer-term health and wellness.

3. Arnica

These herbaceous plants in the sunflower family are usually applied to the skin as an ointment, cream, tincture, salve, or liniment. However, it has also been used to heal wounds, reduce inflammation, and soothe muscle aches. [6]

Simply rub the herbal first aid kit (ointment or liniment) on the affected area. You can also make a DIY liniment with dried arnica flowers. It is so easy to do and economical.

4. Glucosamine

Another excellent natural pain relief option for new horse owners or anyone looking for ways to care for their horses is glucosamine. It has anti-inflammatory properties and cartilage-protecting effects. [7] 

It also has positive results when used in tandem with chondroitin in supplements.

5. Turmeric

This plant in the ginger family provides health benefits for years. It has been found to have beneficial effects on joints, immunity, the respiratory system, and in treating inflammatory conditions.

You can also administer this natural alternative solution to pain topically or orally.

6. White Willow


The bark of white willow contains a chemical (salicin) similar to aspirin. A drop or two of this herbal formula can decrease inflammation and relieve joint pain, muscle pain, and many other conditions.

Moreover, white willow’s pain-relieving properties are why people use it to treat wounds, bunions, calluses, warts, ulcers, and corns. 

But if you’re looking for natural aids to treat inflamed, itchy, and sore skin, try the Devil’s Claw. Such aid is particularly useful in managing inflammation and pain associated with muscular pain, neuralgia, back pain, and arthritis.

7. Acupressure

A tremendous holistic horse care plan should include acupressure as it heals the horse. It does not only heal one affected area but the whole (body and mind) and the quest for optimal health and wellness.

One should perform a brief acupressure before a workout to enhance the horse’s comfort level. It also helps stimulate circulation, enhance pain relief, and improve the horse’s flexibility by bringing nourishing chi (life-promoting energy) to the joints.

8. Massage

Hypothesized benefits of massage include improved blood flow, reduced tissue stiffness, and moderation of inflammation. Reducing inflammation then leads to pain relief.

Regular massage will increase circulation when combined with heat and cold poultices. It will also safely affect the nervous and musculoskeletal systems and their interdependent functioning.

9. Kinesiology tape

Using kinesiology therapeutic tape in the affected areas can reduce swelling and inflammation. It helps move the collected fluid (lymph and blood flow) out of the affected area. It then helps lift the skin, opens channels for blood movement, and decreases pressure on pain receptors.

10. Equine therapeutic ultrasound

A good treatment option to manage pain is therapeutic ultrasound. It uses low-frequency or longwave ultrasound therapy to promote joint, bone, tendinous, and muscular healing. 

A thermal mode in a continuous setting can increase tissue temperatures and is recommended to pre-stretch tight tissues. On the other hand, the nonthermal way in a pulsed environment is ideal for decreasing inflammation and promoting tissue healing.

If you suspect your horse still feels pain after considering the natural remedies we shared above, consult a veterinarian to determine the best recovery plan.

Wrapping Up


Treating pain in horses is essential. Untreated pain can compromise their mental state, quality of life, and physiology. 

Since medications have some side effects, you can rely on natural pain relief options to balance, ensuring horses are comfortable without experiencing the side effects of painkillers.

Worried that prescription drugs for pain may cause side effects for your horses? Why not try the safer approach, such as ChemiPower’s CarnoGel (sports gel)?

Try it today, and your horses will tell you the results!