Nutrition for the Endurance Horse

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Ever wondered if your Endurance horse might have any specific nutrition needs? Read on to get tips from RW customer and avid Endurance rider, Ashley, on feeding and supplementing Endurance horses to keep them performing at their best!

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Due to the unique needs of the Endurance horse, sometimes the simple diet of hay, pasture and grain may not be enough. Luckily, there are a number of supplements on the market that can assist in providing those missing pieces and improving your horse’s performance.

Electrolytes

Electrolytes are probably the most discussed supplement for Endurance horses. Horses sweat in order to help alleviate the excess heat build up in their bodies and to keep the core body temperature cool. When horses sweat, they lose nutrients (particularly sodium, potassium, and chloride), which can contribute to fatigue and weakness of the muscles and negatively impact performance.

When choosing an electrolyte for endurance
horses
, it is important to choose one that
does not contain sodium bicarbonate.

The long, moderately intense exercise that Endurance horses are doing increases the pH of the blood, making it basic. If sodium bicarbonate is added, this can make the blood even more basic, which can greatly affect muscle function and result in irregular heartbeats.

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Harley (yes, another Paint) getting his daily supplements.

A favorite of most Endurance riders is Perform N Win because it is very palatable and easy on the horse’s stomach. It can be mixed into feed at veterinary checks or mixed with water and carried in syringes out on the trail.

Stomach Buffers

The stomach of an Endurance horse goes through a lot, from enduring the high salt content of electrolytes to the stress of traveling and competition. The soothing effects of Redmond Rock Daily Gold Stress Relief Clay can help settle their stomach, particularly after long trailer rides or heavy riding, resulting in a more relaxed horse.

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Supplements may take some extra work, but they can really improve your Endurance horse's performance - PC: Sarah Cuthbertson

Muscle Stamina

During intense periods of exercise, muscles produce lactic acid. Lactic acid is a normal by-product of muscle metabolism, but too much of it has been associated with muscle soreness and fatigue. Some of this can be prevented by using branched-chain amino acids (or BCAAs as they are known) before, after, and during competition with a product such as Peak Performance BCAA Complex. Limited research demonstrates increased performance by helping to break down lactic acid more efficiently, promoting muscle growth and reducing muscle damage.

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Supplements like BCAA help Endurance horses keep doing what they love most - hitting the trail! - PC: Wendy Webb
Hooves

We all know the saying “No Hoof, No Horse,” and in Endurance, this especially holds true. We ask our horses to cover many miles over rough terrain and every little bit helps. A supplement to help strengthen hooves, such as Farrier’s Formula Double Strength Hoof Supplement, promotes strong and fast growth of various parts of the hoof by providing vitamins, minerals and important amino acids required for healthy hoof growth.

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Don't forget that the foundation of a balanced diet is high quality forage! - PC: Sarah Cuthbertson

While the basis of any good diet is good quality hay/grass, salt, and water, sometimes providing that little bit of extra help in the form of a supplement goes a long way in ensuring that your horse is comfortable when performing the task at hand.

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Happy trails from me and Splash!
 
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