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How do you build a nutritional program that supports your high-intensity equine athlete? Three experts share their advice in this article from the June 2019 issue of The Horse. Read an excerpt now.
Posted by Katie Navarra | Jun 28, 2019
At the National Cutting Horse Association World Championship Futurity, the final seconds of competition can determine the champion. The winning horse stays with the last cow, preventing it from returning to the herd. Another horse loses its last cow just before the buzzer sounds, only to go home without placing. In many cases, the latter horse has simply run out of gas, says Karen Davison, PhD, an equine nutritionist and director of equine technical solutions for Purina Animal Nutrition, in Gray Summit, Missouri.
“Both horses are incredibly talented elite athletes,” she says. “One just didn’t have enough energy to sustain the high-intensity workout and make that final big move to hold the cow.”
Nutrition in the form of fats and carbohydrates (sugars, starches) is the fuel that sustains performance. However, the body uses these energy sources differently depending on a workout’s duration and intensity. Take aerobic exercise, for instance: During this longer-lasting, lower-intensity work such as endurance riding, the muscle tissues use oxygen to convert fat into energy...
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