Equis ISSN 2398-2977

Nutrition: work

Contributor(s): Derek Cuddeford, Zoe Davies, Deborah Lucas, Katie Williams (nee Lugsden)

Introduction

  • As the horses work load increases its nutrient requirements increase.
  • The concentrate proportion of the diet tends to increase to meet the horses increased requirements.
  • The diet should be appropriate for the current workload not for future work.
  • Overfeeding and underfeeding can both contribute to poor performance.
  • Feeding and training should be increased gradually over a number of weeks in preparation for competitions or hard work.
  • Horses in work may consume up to 3.5% of their bodyweight as food/day.
  • The concentrate ration should be reduced when the horse has a day off or a lighter work period.
  • When large amounts of concentrates are fed it is important to consider the risk of laminitis. Providing small meals should help avoid the problem.
  • As fitness increases the horse's appetite often declines. Use more concentrated nutrient sources to provide the required nutrient levels in a smaller volume of feed.
  • Pulmonary function is thought to be the limiting factor to athletic performance. Forage should be dust free to limit damage to the respiratory system and maximize pulmonary capacity. Haylage or soaked hay are commonly used.
    Print off the Owner factsheet on Nutrition - keeping your horse on top form  to give to your clients.

Energy

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Disciplines

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Vitamins, minerals and electrolytes

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Dietary cation-anion differences

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers
  • Roberts et al(1999)Exercise Physiology.
  • Harkins J D, Morris G S, Tulley R T, Nelson A G & Kamerling S G (1992)Effect of added dietary fat on racing performance in Thouroughbred horses. J Equine Vet Sci12(2), 123.
  • Oldham S L, Potter G D, Evans J W, Smith S B, Taylor T S & Barnes W S (1990)Storage and mobilisation of muscle glycogen in exercising horses fed a fat supplemented diet. J Equine Vet Sci10(5), 353.
  • Frape D L (1988)Dietary requirements and athletic performance of horses. Equine Vet J20, 163-172.

Other sources of information

  • Pagan J D (2000)Time of feeding critical for performance.In: Proceedings of the Third Dodson and Horrell Ltd International Conference on Feeding Horses.
  • Carlson G P (1994)Forty years later - can we diagnose and treat anemia yet?In: Proceedings of the 16th Bain-Fallon Memorial Lectures. Australian Equine Veterinary Association (AEVA).
  • Popplewell J C, Topliff D R, Freeman D W, Breazile J E, Wagner D G & Stutz W A (1993)The effect of dietary cation-anion balance on acid-base balance and blood parameters in anaerobically exercised horses.In: Proceedings of 13th Equine Nutrition and Physiology Symposium.
  • Hintz H F (1992) EdClinical nutrition.In: The Veterinary Clinics of North America.6, (2).
  • Frape D E (1986) EdEquine Nutrition and Feeding.Longman: Essex, England.


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