A performance horse is any horse that is asked to engage in regular exercise. This may be frequent trail rides, riding lessons, ranch work, driving, racing, or any number of competitive disciplines. The demands of performance put stresses on a horse's body above and beyond those normally encountered by idle horses. The most notable difference is that the energy requirement of performance horses may increase significantly.
The body of the horse is well adapted to storing and mobilizing energy from various types of nutrients, such as fibre, starch, sugar, and fat. Once a horse is in steady work, whether it is light, moderate, or intense, special attention should be given to the diet to ensure adequate energy (calories) and optimal levels of key nutrients are supplied. The harder the horse works and the longer the duration of exercise, the more vitamins and minerals the horse requires. Unfortunately, hay and cereal grains alone are low in certain vitamins and minerals needed for optimal performance, so if a fortified concentrate is not being fed as directed or if straight cereal grains are fed, supplementation can be a necessity for many performance horses.
Performance and the changes in diet and management that are made to facilitate a training and competition schedule put the horse at risk for problems such as degenerative joint disease, stereotypical behaviours, and digestive issues such as gastric ulcers and hindgut acidosis. Additionally, due to the increased workload and sweating, the horse loses certain minerals, called electrolytes, at an increased rate and special attention must be made to replenishing them to avoid negative effects on performance. Instead of waiting for these problems to make themselves known, the best way to manage horses to support optimal performance and longevity is to identify risk factors that may contribute to problems and take steps to prevent the problems from occurring through proactive supplementation.
Muscle contractions during work leads to the production of free radicals, which can cause oxidative damage to muscle cells. Certain nutrients act as antioxidants, battling these free radicals and enhancing cellular defences to reduce the risk of muscle damage and support improved recovery.
The stress of intense exercise on bones during a performance may slightly increase the need for minerals important in bone integrity such as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, and zinc.
Finally, the old adage, “no hoof, no horse” is a truism that mustn’t be overlooked. Some horses need a little help to keep their hooves in tip-top condition.
When managing the performance horse, ask yourself, have you provided and does your horse need:
- Digestive tract support? - Electrolyte replacement? - Protection from oxidative damage? - Support for joint health? - Support for bone health? - Support for optimal hoof and coat health?
Which solutions are right for your horse?
Bio-Bloom® HFPremium hoof formula pellet for hoof health and coat condition. Bio-Bloom HF is a dual-action supplement designed to improve skin and coat condition, and promote healthy hoof growth from the inside out. It is the ideal hoof and coat conditioner for horses that need to be presented at their best for show, sale, or parade.
Bone Food Plus®Mineral and vitamin supplement to support bone health. Bone Food Plus is formulated to supply equine diets with vital bone-building nutrients and supplies the essential building blocks to optimise bone development, health, and strength.
B-Quiet®Thiamine (vitamin B1) and magnesium supplement for performance horses. B-Quiet is formulated to manage the symptoms of thiamine and magnesium deficiency, including hyperirritability, nervousness, and anxiety, which may result in decreased performance.
B-Quiet Paste®Thiamine and magnesium paste. B-Quiet Paste provides concentrated levels of thiamine, an essential B vitamin, and magnesium. B-Quiet is formulated to manage the symptoms of thiamine and magnesium deficiency, including hyperirritability, nervousness, and anxiety, which may result in decreased performance.
Drink-Up™Water additive to encourage horses to drink. Drink-Up is a scientifically formulated complex combination of ingredients that work together to increase a horse’s willingness to drink. Research has shown that 90% of horses increased their water intake with Drink-Up.
Endura-Max®Essential electrolyte for hard-working and endurance horses. Endura-Max is an essential electrolyte, with available sources of calcium and magnesium designed specifically for hard-working and endurance horses.
Endura-Max® PasteBuffered oral electrolyte paste for endurance horses. Endura-Max Paste is specifically designed to support the unique nutritional requirements of endurance horses. It contains essential electrolytes, magnesium, and calcium combined with the protective properties of a buffering agent to provide a protective coating and to buffer stomach acid in an easy-to-administer paste.
EO-3™Concentrated direct source of DHA and EPA omega-3 fatty acids. EO-3 is a rich source of the long-chain omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA in a palatable liquid form. EO-3 can be fed to all classes of horses including foals, breeding stock, and performance horses to improve the critical ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids in the diet.
EquiShure®Time-released hindgut balancer. EquiShure promotes normal digestive function by aiding in the maintenance of an optimal hindgut environment and is designed for horses suspected of suffering from or that are at risk of developing hindgut acidosis.
Glucos-A-Flex®Help maintain joint health for long term performance. Glucos-A-Flex contains a blend of glucosamine hydrochloride (HCl), vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and antioxidants. This blend of nutrients is vital for cartilage and bone development, maintenance of elastic connective tissue, support of skin and mucous membranes, along with coat and hoof integrity.
Gold Pellet®The ultimate vitamin, mineral and amino acid supplement for horses. Gold Pellet has been scientifically formulated to contain essential nutrient levels to meet requirements for work or growth, and is designed to complement a traditional diet of grains and roughage.
Hemabuild®Blood builder for horses. Hemabuild is a vitamin B and trace mineral supplement for stressed horses or horses in heavy training. Hemabuild can be useful as a pick-me-up for a sick or injured horse as well as persuading a picky eater to finish its feed.
Nano-E®Liquid natural-source vitamin E with superior bioavailability. Nano-E is a revolutionary natural-source vitamin E supplement for horses. Liposome encapsulation and nanodispersion ensures rapid and superior bioavailability for all horses.
Nano-Q10™Coenzyme Q10 antioxidant for horses. Coenzyme Q10 is a powerful antioxidant, protecting cells from highly reactive chemicals called free radicals that can damage cells and their DNA. Nano-Q10 features advanced nanotechnology to create a rapidly available and absorbed source of Coenzyme Q10 that has been shown to be 3X more bioavailable than powdered ubiquinone.
Neigh-Lox®Antacid and coating supplement for horses at risk of gastric ulcers. Prolonged exposure of the stomach to gastric acid can cause damage to the stomach lining, resulting in a painful condition for the horse. Neigh-Lox contains a combination of rapidly acting antacids.
Nutrequin Se®Essential everyday nutrients for all horses. Nutrequin Se is an exceptional value-for-money vitamin, mineral, essential amino acid, and antioxidant formula, specifically designed to supplement horses on home-mixed diets or those consuming forage-only diets.
Perform®Vitamin and trace mineral supplement for performance horses. A top-of-the-range concentrated formula of vitamins, organic minerals, antioxidants, including natural vitamin E. Perform is an essential daily supplement designed to meet the needs of the equine athlete for peak performance.
Preserve®Muscle health and antioxidant supplement for performance horses. Preserve is a scientifically formulated supplementary source of natural vitamin E, organic selenium, magnesium and vitamin C.
Restore®Electrolyte for performance horses. A scientifically formulated electrolyte supplement designed to match the composition of horse sweat. Restore is designed to replenish electrolytes in any situation where horses may have sweated, particularly after training, travel, racing, competition, or during hot weather.
Restore® PasteBuffered oral electrolyte paste for horses that sweat. A carefully formulated electrolyte paste to match the composition of sweat. Restore Paste is an easy-to-administer product that includes a buffering agent designed to support gastrointestinal comfort in horses.
Synovate HA®Premium joint supplement. Synovate HA delivers high molecular weight sodium hyaluronate in an easy-to-use liquid.
Triacton®Bone and digestive health support. Triacton is a research-proven, triple-action supplement designed to improve bone density and support digestive health in horses.