SUPPLEMENTING DURING TRAINING IS KEY TO SUCCESS

Achieving top performance is all about balance. Every decision has its pros and cons, and it’s only when you find the sweet spot between them that you fly. This applies to all aspects of an equine athletes’ life, from training regimes to race/competition selection, to nutrition.

The saying ‘you are what you eat’ rings particularly true when it comes to performance horses. The demands that are put on their body mean they have very specific nutritional requirements. The overall diet is obviously important and must be formulated appropriately, but at top level competition, where the margins of difference are so much more important, nutritional fine tuning can be the difference between succeeding or not.

This is where careful and considered supplementation can give the edge. Provision of nutritional components that are targeted to support specific phases or aspects of a performance horse’s regime, means that equine athlete will never have to waste energy on compensatory body mechanisms, or risk depletion of essential compounds. Essentially, they will always be ready to perform at their best.

Supplementation should be well planned and aimed towards supporting specific health, and therefore performance, objectives:


Energy provision

Energy is more than just calories – how it is provided can affect performance due to varying metabolic processes in the body. The three primary nutritional energy sources are fibre, starch/ sugar and fats. They are all important but when it comes to athletic performance and it’s important to make sure that energy levels in the diet are appropriate for the work demands of an equine athlete and that they suit the horse’s individual needs. For example, a horse that is prone to being overly excitable will benefit from a diet that provides energy predominantly from fibre and oil, which are known as ‘slow release’ energy sources.

 

Protein

Proteins are made up of amino acids, and high quality protein in the diet is especially important for muscle function and recovery during periods of exertion due to speed or stamina. More recently the importance of branched chain amino acids (BCAA’s) in terms of both performance and recovery has become of interest.

Supplementing a diet containing good levels of protein with BCAAs during periods of exertion have been suggested to have beneficial effects on athletic performance one of the theories as to how they achieve this is by potentially sparing the use of glycogen; glycogen depletion is one of the main factors in fatigue during intense exercise. In addition, BCAA’s may also play an essential role in aiding the repair of muscles during the fittening regime thereby reducing muscle soreness and promoting recovery.

Learn more about BCAA’s and performance {link to ‘preparing for an event’ section}

Pre-Fuel Liquid: contains hydrolysed plant protein to provide readily absorbed BCAA’s in a formulation that allows flexible use to suit any training programme. Use daily throughout training to support energy requirements and promote recovery

Ubiquinol CoQ10:

Ubiquinol (CoQ10) plays a key role in mitochondrial function and is essential for the production of energy. It is also a powerful antioxidant which helps to counter the effects increased free radicals production in the body which occurs during any fittening program.

Research has shown that during high-intensity exercise the levels of CoQ10 in the horses blood decreased. To compound this production of CoQ10 in the body is relatively slow and insufficient to replenish stores in horses that are exercising regularly. In addition, typical cereal based diet of performance horses does not contain Ubiquinol (CoQ10) in sufficient levels to maintain optimal body function. These factors highlight the need for CoQ10 to be supplemented in the diet in order to mitigate against oxidative stress during training.

FOR-RECOVERY – contains a natural source of Ubiquinol supplement, the most bioavailable form of CoQ10, to support optimal body function, helping to support post-exercise recovery and maintain performance throughout the competitive season.

 

Learn more about Ubiquinol (CoQ10) here

Electrolytes

Performance horses often benefit from the inclusion of electrolytes in their diet during times of travel, heavy exercise, or work in hot and humid conditions. Electrolytes, or salts, are essential minerals that are involved in keeping muscles and nerves functioning correctly. They are lost through sweating and can impact recovery and ongoing performance if they are not replaced. When in peak training or over the competition season, daily in-feed supplementation can be beneficial to ensure a ready supply of these essential salts.

Learn more about Ubiquinol (CoQ10) here

Electrolytes

Performance horses often benefit from the inclusion of electrolytes in their diet during times of travel, heavy exercise, or work in hot and humid conditions. Electrolytes, or salts, are essential minerals that are involved in keeping muscles and nerves functioning correctly. They are lost through sweating and can impact recovery and ongoing performance if they are not replaced. When in peak training or over the competition season, daily in-feed supplementation can be beneficial to ensure a ready supply of these essential salts.

Learn more about maximising recovery here

Equi-Lyte G – the ultimate package of daily balanced electrolytes and antioxidant to support muscle function and recovery.

Refuel Liquid – daily balanced electrolytes with added B-Vitamins for optimal recovery, in a formulation that allows flexibility to suit all situations. Use after exercise or competition.

Refuel Gel – concentrated but perfectly balanced electrolyte gel with added B-Vitamins and antioxidants for optimal recovery, in a convenient, easily administered formulation. Use after exercise or competition.

Note: when using electrolyte products, drinking water should always be available

Omega 3 fatty acids

A horse’s natural diet of fresh grass is relatively high in omega-3 fatty acids. However, performance horses often are fed more cereal grains (oats, barley, maize, etc), which are higher in omega 6 fatty acids.  The ratio of these fatty acids in the diet is important as omega 6 fatty acids are considered pro-inflammatory, whereas omega 3 fatty acids are potent, anti-inflammatory agents.

As most competition horses have reduced access to grazing and are usually fed a more cereal based diet additional omega 3 supplementation is beneficial. In the short term this will help to improved skin and coat condition, reduce skin allergies and anti-inflammation characteristics.  Benefits of longer term feeding of omega 3 fatty acids are thought to include improved hoof quality and joint health, better respiratory health, and immune function.

Karron Oil – This is an emulsified linseed oil rich containing both omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, in the same ratio as provided by fresh grass.

 

Learn more about essential fatty acids {link to what oil should I feed my horse}

Musculoskeletal & hoof support

The health of the hooves, bones, joints, muscles and all the supporting structures of a horse are obviously hugely important for the equine athlete. Yet it is exactly these structures that are placed under the most stress when we ask them to perform.

 

 

Implementing proactive joint health strategies is not only important to ensure maximum performance, but healthy joints are less likely to get injured and more likely to keep functioning well, prolonging the athletic career of a horse. Joints health is influenced by multiple factors, due to the many structures involved and so supplementation to support joints should contain a combination of compounds, proven to deliver a specific function:

  • Glucosamine: a key component of cartilage, which lines the moving parts of the joint, ensuring flexibility and mobility
  • MSM (methylsulfonylmethane): maintains a stable, healthy and calm joint environment
  • Chondroitin sulphate: important for normal joint fluid production, which lubricates the joint, ensuring good mobility and range of motion
  • Hyaluronic acid: helps keep joints supple and cartilage healthy
  • Calcium: an essential mineral for bone strength

Muscle strength is also key and this comes from building good quality, lean muscle that is conditioned to respond to the likely demands put upon it, during training and competition. Supporting the muscles during the recovery period is also vital to ensure consistent performance across the training and competitive periods.

Learn more about building and maintaining lean muscle {link to ‘lean muscle’ section}

Dry, brittle and cracked hooves are especially a concern during the dry summer months but it can take nine to twelve months to improve the quality of hood horn so feeding to support hoof health should be considered well in advance. There any numerous hoof supplements on the market but many just contain biotin. Whilst bitoin supplementation will help, for maximum improvement it needs to be fed in conjunction with several other micronutrient needed for hoof health including zinc, copper and methionine.

Ost-O-Flex – palatable syrup that supports mobility and joint function, containing glucosamine, MSM and marine collagen – a highly bioavailable form of calcium, chondroitin sulphate and hyaluronic acid.

Muscle Max – maximise muscle function, health and recovery with a powerful combination of key amino acids, antioxidants and vitamins, in a highly palatable liquid formulation

Hoof-Aid – supports hoof growth and strength through a combination of biotin, key minerals, and methionine.

Temperament

Just as with human athletes, athletic success come from mental strength, as much as physical strength. Daily focus and the ability to concentrate on the task in had during training and performance is essential, yet many horses – particularly those that are young, inexperienced or more highly strung – are more easily distracted than others.

Poor focus can have the effect of masking an equine athlete’s true ability, allowing talent to go to waste and causing much frustration! By supporting the nervous system and calming neural pathways during training and into competition, you can successfully redirect more of a horse’s mental energy into performance, so they can maximise their full potential.

Nutri-Calm – liquid formulation that helps maintain focus and concentration, containing calming neurotransmitter Serotonin and it’s precursor L-Tryptophan, as well as B-vitamins and magnesium to support the nervous system. Use daily throughout training and competition.

Learn more about temperament and performance {link to ‘preparing for an event’ section}

Appetite

Horses that don’t get enough B-vitamins often lose their appetite, but deficiencies can also impact energy levels and performance. Production of B-vitamins within the large intestine is dependent on fibre intake. However, because horses in high levels of work are generally fed less forage and more hard feed this can reduce their ability to produce B-vitamins. Equally stress due to hard training, frequent travelling, and regular competitions will detrimentally affect B-vitamins production.

B-Complete – a palatable liquid formula containing vital B-vitamins essential for blood cell formation and optimal metabolism. Suitable for any horse with a requirement for maximum energy production and for those prone to loss of appetite particularly during times of stress and fatigue.

 

For more advice on targeted supplementation to support your performance goals, contact Foran Equine to speak to one of our advisers here.

 

Related Products

Pre-Fuel Liquid

Pre-Fuel Liquid

Support energy and promote recovery daily, through readily absorbed BCAA’s

View Product
Equi-Lyte G

Equi-Lyte G

The ultimate package of balanced electrolytes and antioxidants to support muscle function and recovery

View Product
Refuel Gel

Refuel Gel

Concentrated electrolyte gel with added B vitamins and antioxidants for optimum recovery

View Product
Refuel Liquid

Refuel Liquid

Daily balanced electrolyte with added B vitamins for optimal recovery

View Product
Karron Oil

Karron Oil

Superior quality readily absorbed Omega 3 & 6 to support digestive function and overall well-being

View Product
Nutri-Calm

Nutri-Calm

For daily focus and concentrated performance

View Product
B-Complete

B-Complete

B Vitamins with added prebiotic to support digestive health and appetite

View Product

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