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Supporting Hydration in your Horse During Summer Months

Your FAQ Answered

Dear Foran nutritionists,  

Overall, I am very happy with my horses feed and the condition he is holding. However, during the summer months he seems to get quite lazy and sluggish. I finding this is even worse after he has travelled to a show and I think he’s missing a bit of his spark when he’s in the ring. Can you recommend a supplement I could use to help him?  

Thanks,

Emma.  

Dehydration has a direct effect on energy levels and performance in horses

Dear Emma, the change in your horse’s energy levels may be down it his hydration status. Dehydration can really affect performance and horses can feel sluggish and are slower to recover. The composition of your horse’s diet can have a significant effect on water intake, with stabled high dry matter hay fed horses requiring a lot higher water intake than pasture-based horses as grass has a much higher water content.

These stabled horses can struggle to consume the optimal amounts of fluids, especially while travelling/changing environments. Additionally, unlike humans, equine sweat is hypertonic to plasma, meaning it contains a lot more electrolytes. Hence, the lather you see on a sweating horse’s skin. Water and electrolyte loss through sweating needs to be replaced. Horses sweat a lot more than humans and their sweat also contains a lot more potassium and other ions

Dehydration can also cause digestive issues in horses

As well as affecting performance, dehydration is the cause of many cases of colic, impaction colic in particular. Faecal scoring is a helpful way of assessing how soft your horse’s faeces are and if he is dehydrated. Another useful indicator of dehydration is to see how concentrated his urine is. If the urine is a darker yellow colour, he is likely dehydrated and if it is more dilute (clear in colour) his hydration level is much more favourable. The skin tent test is also commonly used but its results are largely unreliable. A combination of faecal scoring, visual urine concentration assessment and a skin tent test can give any owner a good clue regarding the hydration level of their horse. 

Foran Equine EQUI-LYTE G is specially designed to manage the loss of electrolytes through sweating

 Foran’s Equi-Lyte G contains these optimal levels of electrolytes as well as antioxidants Vitamin C & E in a powdered form, making it a superior electrolyte supplement. Rather than just providing salt, which is simply just Sodium and Chloride (table salt or a salt lick), Equi-Lyte G has the correct formulation of electrolytes of equine sweat (sodium, chloride, potassium, magnesium & calcium). It goes without saying that clean fresh water should be available at all times. Equi-Lyte G is designed to be given orally, mixed in with your horse’s regular feed. Mixing with a mash is also a useful way of getting the desired intake of electrolytes on board, as well as extra water. 

Pre-Fuel and Re-Fuel are the perfect energy and recovery combo for your horse

 Foran’s Pre-Fuel gel is a useful energy booster supplement. It is a rapid energy paste with essential branch chain amino acids to maximise athletic performance. It contains vitamin E, B vitamins, chelated zinc and hydrolysed plant proteins to support maximum effort. These ingredients optimise energy & protein utilisation, support muscle function & are powerful antioxidants to facilitate exertion & recovery. 1 syringe should be given orally on competition day. 

Refuel gel on the other hand, is a concentrated electrolyte gel with added B vitamins and antioxidants for optimum recovery. 1 syringe should be given post rigorous exercise once the horse is fully cooled down and water should be freely available. Think of it as a concentrated liquid version of Equi-Lyte G with added B-vitamins that should be used after a hard jumping round/session (heavy sweating). 

By preventing dehydration, we can avoid a lot of health problems in our equine athletes as well as optimise performance. Electrolytes are a key supplement in every performance horse’s diet and Foran’s electrolytes have a unique and superior formulation.  

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