Saturday, July 23, 2022

Feeding Tevis Winners - Full Article

The first and second place finishers in the 2022 Tevis Cup describe their feed strategies.

Posted by Shoshana Rudski, The Horse Digital Editor | Jul 23, 2022

Developing an endurance horse takes correct training and conditioning, but without a solid nutrition program even the best-trained horses can struggle. Gabriela Blakeley and her 13-year-old Arabian gelding LLC Pyros Choice (aka “Pyro”) won the 2022 Tevis Cup, and Christoph Schork and GE VA Blizzard of Ozz came in second. “Ozzy,” 13-year-old Arabian gelding, also took home The Haggin Cup, the award for the Top 10 horse in the best condition the morning after completing the ride.

Both riders know feeding their horses well is paramount to their success and long-term well-being. Carey Williams, PhD, equine extension specialist and professor at Rutgers University, in New Brunswick, New Jersey, who also has experience in feeding endurance horses, shared her advice with The Horse...

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Friday, July 22, 2022

Feeding the Anaerobic Equine Athlete - Full Article

How do you build a nutritional program that supports your high-­intensity equine athlete? Three experts share their advice.

Posted by Katie Navarra | Jul 21, 2022

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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Thursday, July 07, 2022

Feeding the Foot: Nutrition For Equine Hoof Health - Full Article

Two equine nutritionists shed light on the do’s and don’ts of feeding your horse for strong and healthy hooves.

Posted by Lucile Vigouroux | Jun 13, 2022

How to feed your horse for strong and healthy hooves

Nutrition impacts everything from performance and temperament to growth and metabolic rate. Hoof quality is no exception. It can take up to a year for a full new hoof to grow, so what your horse eats today could impact his soundness much further down the road. In this article two equine nutritionists—Lynn Taylor, PhD, and Ashley Wagner, PhD—shed light on the do’s and don’ts of feeding for optimal hoof health. The Recipe for Healthy Hooves

Your horse’s diet plays a crucial role in the quality and durability of the horn that makes up his hooves. Horses require certain nutrients in specific amounts and ratios to grow and maintain strong hooves. However, even the perfect diet is not enough by itself to grow good feet—­several other factors come into play. Management, exercise, metabolic rate, hoof care including trimming and shoeing, overall health, genetics, and climate (moisture levels, in particular) can all affect the appearance and strength of horses’ feet—and not always for the better. The bottom line is hoof health requires a very holistic (whole horse) approach...

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Friday, July 01, 2022

Fueling the Endurance Horse - Full Article

Going the Distance

Endurance riding is very popular and continues to gain the interest of horse enthusiasts throughout the world. The discipline began in the United States in 1955 when Wendell Robie, an avid California horseman joined by a group of friends set out to disprove the notion that no modern-day horse could cover the rugged trail from Lake Tahoe to Auburn in a single day. Now called the Tevis Cup Ride, this 100-mile California feat winds along much of the historic Western States Trail from the Lake Tahoe area through the Sierra Nevada mountain range to the finish line in Auburn, located a half-hour northeast of Sacramento. In 1982, the Fédération Equestre Internationale, or FEI, the international governing body of equestrian sport, recognized endurance racing as an international sport. Despite its U.S. roots, the discipline has evolved into a very competitive sport worldwide — particularly in Europe, the United Arab Emirates, Australia and New Zealand. Any horse is welcome to compete, but the Arabian breed has dominated the sport since its inception due to their incredible natural stamina and durability.

The American Endurance Ride Conference (AERC) is the governing body for long-distance riding in the U.S. and offers over 700 races annually throughout North America for riders of all ages and ambitions, including shorter 25-mile courses. Most competitive endurance rides are 50, 75 or 100 miles long with different maximum times allowed depending on mileage length. Championship races are 100 miles completed in one day. There are also endurance rides that cover longer 150-mile trails over multiple days. Race courses can be set, such as the Tevis Cup, with horse and rider combinations traveling from one location to another, or more commonly in championship settings, courses have set “loops” that are completed several times in a race. The terrain is often undulating requiring uphill and downhill maneuvering over different types of footing and even through water crossings. Horses are checked before, during and after the race — known as “holds” — by qualified judges and veterinarians verifying that each animal is “fit to continue” both physically and metabolically. Historically, the sport required long distances at relatively low speeds but is now trending toward faster racing speeds. Today, some top-placing elite endurance horses average upwards of 12 to even 15 miles per hour — the equivalent of a medium canter — over 100-mile international tracks. The increase in pace over huge distances poses several challenges for the contemporary endurance horse, and feeding this elite equine athlete has become critically important and a significant focal point for competitive endurance riders.

About the Sport

Most competitive endurance rides are 50, 75 or 100 miles long. Championship races are 100 miles completed in one day. The terrain is often undulating requiring uphill and downhill maneuvering over different types of footing and even through water crossings.

Feeding for Endurance

Endurance is one of the most demanding disciplines of equestrian sport, and some of the nutritional nuances for these horses are unique compared to other equine athletes. With the daunting fitness work required one thing is very important — fuel. The type and amount of feed needed must meet the high-energy demands of endurance conditioning, training and on race days. Conversely, unsuitable or inadequate nutrition will significantly limit the horse’s athleticism. The most common causes for poor performance or fatigue seen during endurance riding is the depletion of energy reserves, dehydration and electrolyte imbalances, or a combination of these issues.

The Arabian breed reigns supreme in the sport of endurance and most long-distance performance horses are either full Arabian or have Arab genetic influence. While this breed is often categorized as a metabolically easy-keeping type, during endurance training, it can often be difficult to supply enough calories to meet athletic output resulting in a horse with a thin body condition. Knowing the individual horse and assessing body condition throughout training is something that endurance trainers and riders closely monitor to ensure a horse is fit and at an appropriate weight. Nutrition tailored to the individual horse will allow him to compete to the best of his ability...

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