Thehorse.com - Full Article
by: Sharon Biggs
April 01 2007, Article # 9307
Sometimes the difference between winning and losing is only a fraction of a second. High-performance equine trainers are well aware of this little margin, and as a result, they are always trying to find that one thing that will help their horses increase their speed. But this is not always an easy endeavor.
Brian Nielsen, PhD, PAS, Dipl. ACAN, professor and researcher in equine exercise physiology and nutrition at Michigan State University, says that you can never improve on an animal's genetic potential, but you can hope to maximize it. One way to do that is with nutrition.
"It's important to have enough calories in the fast athlete because it gives him that cutting edge," he says. "You're typically not going to lose a race because the protein wasn't exactly right or the vitamins or minerals weren't exactly right, but calories can really impact the result because they fine-tune a performance. Inadequate energy intake can quickly result in an animal that fatigues prematurely and fails to perform at its top potential."