Our athlete horses, the heroes of the tracks, require some special care on preparation for the competitions period. Nutrition, training, rest, and continuous monitoring with the veterinarian are some examples.
And today, let’s talk about the nutrition cares of athlete horses!
When a nutrition program is established, it is necessary to seek balance, which involves variables such as weight, age, type and intensity of physical effort, in addition to the availability of nutrients presents present in each food.
For an athlete horse to perform its work better and have a more efficient athletic performance, its food, its training methods, and adequate supplementation are essential pillars in the routine.
Let’s talk about diet? Follow the content produced by @vetnilequinosoficial.
Regardless of the type of sport, the basis of the diet is always the same. What changes is the amount of nutrients and the choice of supplements that we should include in the nutrition of athletic equines.
So, the animal’s diet must always be adapted according to the requirements, valuing a balanced diet, without causing deficiencies and excesses. In addition, it must always be guided and accompanied by a professional in the area!
Basically, the main nutritional components for horses are water, energy, minerals, proteins, ats and vitamins.
It is essential that water is always available to the animal, always fresh and clean.
It is very important that the horse does not become thirsty, because if it loses 15% of your water reserve, it can have serious consequences.
It is also worth remembering that cold water is not recommended, especially when the horse is warm.
The energy is the fundamental basis for a good sporting performance, so it is important to offer the right amount from a source that the horse will not have difficulties to take advantage of. It should be supplied mostly in the form of fat and oils and to a lesser extent in the form of starch and grains.
Depending on the intensity of the effort, high energy rations are recommended, with ether extract above 6%. The advantage is that they can be offered in smaller quantities, thus leaving more space for the roughage, which prevents the animal from having gastric or intestinal overload.
It is also important to pay attention on the amount of total fat in the diet, in order to avoid overloading the body, or animal reducing consumption.
The roughage should represent 1 to 1.5% of the horse’s weight in dry matter.
If the amount of energy in the diet is not enough for the animals to have good performance, it is recommended to use a feed or supplement with more energy.
It is worth remembering that for short-term exercises, a smaller amount of roughage can be beneficial. However, in long-term exercises, the amount of roughage should be greater.
Mineral salt tis necessary for equine nutrition, but there are some other minerals that can be supplemented in diet due to greater loss through exercise, such as Calcium, Chlorine, Magnesium, Potassium, Sodium.
The amount and supplementation with these minerals vary according to the animal and depend on the type of effort performed, but they should be always offered, and the animal must always have plenty of water.
The nutrition for an athlete horse should always have a minimum of proteins, so that there is no drop of performance.
The protein requirement varies for each individual depending on their body composition and level of diary activity, so the guidance of trained professional is essential.
The supplementation within equine nutrition must be calculated according to the requirements of each animal and there are some factors that interfere in this decision:
Animals in stables tend to have a restriction in the supply of forage, thus increasing the need of concentrate.
It Interferes whit the quality of the pasture or hay produced, changing the concentration of some nutrients.
Factors such as dentition and health of the gastrointestinal tract can generate variation between animals.
It is necessary to evaluate the needs of each animal according to the body condition score and take the necessary actions so that it reaches the ideal.
Some breeds perform better than others and the heavy breeds tend to have a better feed conversion than lighter breeds.
More agitated animals have greater needs than calmer ones.
There are some recommendations for the equine nutrition to be followed during the competition season. Some of them are:
If the competition is short distance, offer only water at will. By decreasing roughage, there is also a decrease in intestinal filing and the amount of weight that the horse supports - which helps it to perform better.
Avoid major dietary changes in the three on diet on the three weeks before the competition
Do not offer grain-bases foods in the 3 hours before competition, as they increase the concentration of insulin in the blood and decrease the use of fat - this can cause hypoglycemia right at the beginning of the competition which is when the animal needs more energy.
Offer supplements that compensate the energy and nutritional demands of each animal, according to the guidance of a professional in the area.