Saturday, May 19, 2012

Feeding Before the Endurance Ride - Full Article

By Dr. Peter Huntington · May 17, 2012

Information concerning feeding endurance horses is easily available and widespread. How to feed horses in endurance training and how to manage them after a competition is fairly well documented. But what happens before the ride itself, and how can this influence your horse’s performance?

There are some pretty significant changes in routine for a horse at ride base including the toll of the truck ride to get there, the lack of free grazing, being confined to a small paddock, the excitement and stress of all the other strange horses, people, and trucks, and the general hustle and bustle of a busy ride base. All of these things can impact your horse’s appetite, thirst, frame of mind, digestive health, and ultimately the horse’s performance in the ride.

In order to understand the best way to manage the horse before the ride, we must analyze any possible problems we might encounter and how we would deal with them if they arose as well as the basic plan of when to feed, what to feed, and how to feed.

Arriving at Ride Base: Management Before Start Time

You are probably tired from an early start and a long drive, and you can be sure that your horse is likely just as tired if not more from having to stand and balance constantly in the back of the trailer for the trip. If he is a nervous type of horse or a relatively new horse to endurance, he may have become stressed with the anticipation of arriving somewhere new and not knowing what to expect. If he is a seasoned endurance horse, he still may have become excited and arrive in a lather of anticipatory sweat...

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