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Nutrition For Endurance Horses?


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#1 Bandit

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Posted 14 January 2007 - 01:26 PM

Id like to hear about what endurance riders feed their horses. How much of it do you feed? On days you ride either in competition or conditioning rides does the feed schedule change?
Also, do you feed any little extra things that you feel gives you an edge with your horse?

Please tell us all about the feed program you have your endurances horses on.
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#2 greentree

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Posted 14 January 2007 - 04:18 PM

I feed Purina Strategy, and grass. Every horse gets a different amount. Close to a race, I add a scoop of electrolyte powder to the feed, and if it is summer or hot (in Texas hot is NOT a summer thing!) I start adding wet beet pulp. Some of my horses won't eat beet pulp at home, so they only get it at rides. If they are training heavily and losing weight, I add corn oil.

At races, they get WHATEVER they want to eat, as long as they eat!

Nancy

#3 Jlwarabs

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Posted 16 January 2007 - 01:43 AM

I feed a a locally made pelleted feed - Alfa Oats. It is essentially Alfafa, Oats and Rice Bran made into a pelleted feed. Locally it is one of the hghest fat percentage feeds we can find. I also feed Beet Pulp sometimes.
The Alfa Oats are my normal grain, a few days before a ride I add soaked Beet Pulp to my competition horses feed. It simply adds bulk and moisture to hopefully help them when traveling and to halp assure that there is something in there system during the ride. I keep it added to the grain at rides for the same reason- raises water and fiber content in the gut.
For a few days pre ride I add electrolytes to the grain.
The amount each horse gets depends on the individual and how hard a keeper he/she normally is, and it will change during ride season. If we are doing lots of rides I have had to practically double the calorie intake on some of my horses. I generally try to have them on the round side starting the ride season, so that after a few rides they are looking fit, not light. I want mine to have those reserves =)
(For those who don't know an endurance horse can easily lose 50 lbs at a ride - some is water weight, but not all. We have scales at several rides in the SE, and I have seen horses weight fluctuate 80 lbs or so from weigh in to weighing during the ride, to post ride, to the next day. It's rather amazing really!)

Jennifer
Mystic Rose Arabians
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#4 ctyslcr

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Posted 16 January 2007 - 11:17 AM

We feed Strategy grass formula in the AM during the non ride season. Wet shreaded beet pulp in the PM. Both feedings get an orchard grass alfalfa mix. Mostly grass sa 70-30. The morning feeding includes a multiple vitamin, selinium and a trace mineral powder (salts, etc.).

During the season we substitute Ultium for the Strategy. Starting 2 days or so to the ride we give them powdered electrolites in a syringe with apple sauce. They get the electrolites the night before the ride and the morning of. If they are drinking well during the ride we give them another dose at the first long hold, usually about 1/2 way on a 50. If you are doing 25-35 mile rides you may not need to give them a 1/2 way dose. Unless they are drinking well you can overdue the electrolites. Ask lots of questions at the rides to experienced riders. Talk to the ride vet regarding electrolites. Get a feel for your horse's needs. Some horses do well without them. We use them but we do pay attention to the horses urine color and gaits.

Good luck. You should have a blast.

Regards,
Peter Mileo

PS: Riding tights are really the only comfortable way to go. I'm sure you will be comfortable in them. Remember, comfort is more important than someone elses opinion on how they look.


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#5 maz

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Posted 16 January 2007 - 12:27 PM

good hay, good water, 10% grain, free choice salt and mineral. same thing every day, course i don't do endurance races often, i'm a NATRC rider. and some AHA regional and national ctrs, same feed goes to 27,24, and two 10 year olds.

#6 danielmelliott

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Posted 16 January 2007 - 12:29 PM

Now I hope this isn't a contentious issue but I read a study recently that said electrolyte supplementation wasn't really necessary for endurance horse. I'm not taking any side on this because I'm studying it out myself but I thought I'd get some input from those of you with more experience. This seems like a credible study and I know often the old adage "less is more" applies in horse care. What are your thoughts.

Daniel


PS Peter, I'm sure tights are more comfortable to wear but walking around in spandex just seems to suck the "comfortable" right out of the equation. When I used to mountain bike we had shorts that were spandex underneath but regular shorts over the top of that. That's something I could go for.

I admit I'm prideful. That and my gut just isn't as flat as it once was.


PSS I forgot to give the link to the study. http://easycareinc.t...ance_exerc.html Karen give a review but the actual document is the this.pdf link

#7 maz

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Posted 16 January 2007 - 01:15 PM

there are those that feel like a very well conditioned horse does best with minimum salt/mineral free choice. even a few top endurance racers that do not force electrolites, i think most are backing off the gram per 10 mile programs, learning your horse and what your horse needs is best. i think calcium is just as important as salts, i think basic continued good nutrition and conditioning is best.

#8 Jlwarabs

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Posted 16 January 2007 - 08:58 PM

Hi Daniel-
Electtolytes and the need for etc...is a subjuect that is curretnly under debate. I use them, but have never been a fan of dosing horses every hour out on the trail or some of the other pretty intense methods I have seen used. I electolyte a few days before the ride, to make sure their system has everything it needs and to encourage drinking ahead of trailering (those long trailer rides are hard, if they have drunk more ahead of time due to electorlytes, that works for me). Then I electrolyte, before the ride, and at the vet checks... how much depends on the the horse. You want to encourage eating and drinking, not give so much that they don't drink.
I will also say that for all the preride stuff, my horses get the elects in their grain instead of in a syringe. that helps cut down on the 'yuk' factor that turns them off eating and drinking, harshness of the El's in the mouth etc...

Anyway- they certainly can be overdone. When I first started rides, everyone electolyted, but not tons, then studies came out that said more was good, and people started using lots, now the newer studies are linking EL's to ulcers and dehydration, so people seem to be swining back to not giving quite as much again....

It's always a learning curve =)

Jennifer
Mystic Rose Arabians
Endurance and Sport Horses


#9 greentree

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Posted 19 January 2007 - 09:10 AM

I think down here in Texas, almost everyone still electrolytes. It is STRESSED by the vets at every ride meeting. They always say you CANNOT over-do it. I mix my powder with Maalox and applesauce to buffer it a bit, but that is probably anthropromorphizing!! Be sure to pick YOUR favorite color and flavor, because you're going to be the one wearing it!!

Nancy

#10 maz

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Posted 19 January 2007 - 10:58 AM

next saturday we are going to hear dr todd holbrock of osu speak on electrolytes and the distance horse at our natrc4 mini convention... this guy is an endurance vet and he has done alot of pre and post ride blood tests etc. would love to hear what he says, i'll pass what info on if i can.

i know jonni jewell from texas goes real light on electrolytes, i think she said the tevis she rode hank used 3/4 small lyte now tube for the whole ride. knowing your horse is the best thing.

i ride mostly ctr, and alot in texas, no horse on the place has ever lost a metabolics point on hydration. Roc has 4000 natrc miles 2 aerc 50s and a couple 25s and is 24 years old. he started distance at 15. 2 aha national ctr completions, one top 5, 2 regional aha championships, 3 regional reserve and 2 regional top fives (these are 50+ mile 2 day rides in region 9) and he did one regional and one national aha ride this year.... he had his salt block.

shanee, has a couple 25s and 1000 natrc miles between the ages of 22 and 25. trix and khid are 10, trix is over 1000 natrc miles, regional reserve half arab aha 2x. khid has a regional top 5 and a national aha completion...

these guys only have 10% sweet feed, the old ones get a cup of nutrena empower a day. and all the good bermuda hay they want. we always haul the home water to rides. the empower has a balanced calcium/phosporus, zinc and copper. and is 22% fat with lots of omegas. the only think i sometimes do different at rides is give them an alfalfa cube mush, if they act like they need/want it.

now one thing i am going to ask dr holbrook is what if any difference the horses on well water with a softener (salts) added have?

so all this is just my opinion one thing i note in ctr where arabians are the minority, is that let it get good and hot we do alot better.

#11 John Hall

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Posted 06 February 2007 - 01:07 PM

Have any of you tried SUCCEED? Follow the regular instructions and use a syringe at stops. We have endurnace riders in Dubai that swear by it. I would like to hear from anyone that has used this: many of the challenges that endurance horses face can be better handled with a strong digestive tract, especially the hind end.

John Hall, Freedom Health LLC

#12 maz

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Posted 07 February 2007 - 01:13 PM

after hearing dr holbrook speak i'm more against forced/excess electrolytes than ever. looking at the blind study and the pictures of the differences in the stomachs and even the mouths of those that had electrolytes, just blew my mind.... dr holbrook basically did say to electrolyte as needed, then he looked like a commercial for gastro gaurd afterwards... why tear a gut up and have to treat one treatment with another... although my 'sport' isn't like strenous 100s.

#13 danielmelliott

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Posted 07 February 2007 - 02:43 PM

Any chance of getting a copy of an article or transcripts?

Daniel

#14 maz

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Posted 07 February 2007 - 09:41 PM

i asked for his on electrolytes and the other vets discussion on conditioning and heartrate to be put on the website, at www.okstate.edu i'll let you know if i find a more specific address.

#15 dessia

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Posted 05 March 2007 - 03:38 PM

Interesting always the discussions on electrolytes. We often deal with high humidity here as well as heat and our vets ask first "WHAT electrolyte are you using?", then proceed to offer advice on how to best use it. I know of many that cause sores and ulcers, but we use the one that Gail Ecker (University of Guelph) helped develop, Perform N Win, with zero issues and using it in vast quantities as per our very experienced vets (Stan Alkamede and Art King). From what I understand, in order to develop this particular electrolyte, they collected sweat samples, blood samples and did weigh ins at the rides. Heck if a rider is having hydration problems, we mix it into our water bottles too! Very soluable and tastes not too bad.

Otherwise we feed good grass hay, beet pulp, purina fat n fiber and for a few harder keepers, a top dressing of super high fat feed. 1 scoop of electrolytes in feed once a day when training starts, then increase it before trailering until we are home and for one day after a ride. During a ride, they get loads of apples, carrots, granola bars (have to share those) and whatever else tickles their fancies.
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#16 Leda

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Posted 29 March 2007 - 12:54 PM

We feed whole corn and beet pulp with loose iodized salt and loose mineral plus good quality grass hay for everyday. On competition days we add in high fat high fibre feed. We have learned to put the grain in a bucket in individual piles and allow the horse to choose which they need to fill the gut with. One mare picks between the corn and the hfhf depending on whether the hind gut or fore gut needs feeding.

As for electrolytes - I have had a problem with the Perform N Win on one horse. This mare twice had erratic heartrates at the end of 2 rides. There were no common factors in the rides as per intensity of workout, temperature, humidity. Turns out it was a chemical imbalance caused by electrolytes. After switching to the ABC electrolyte as per Dr Stan Alkamede's recommendations we haven't had any issues.

Dosages didn't seem to be the issues but the chemical make up did. We had switched from the ABC product previously as another mount was getting mouth ulcers due to the chemical makeup being too strong, no matter how much we diluted the product.

Often you have to play around with the electrolyte brands and dosages in order to get the right one for the right horse.

Now the interesting thing will be to see how my ulcer case gelding will take to repeated e-lyteing. He's only got under 200 miles to his credit and this will be his first year of serious campaigning. He will be watched very closely.


Just think back to the early 1960s, when NO ONE electrolyted their horses and they came through just fine.

#17 paulsidio

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Posted 29 March 2007 - 02:26 PM

I mix Purina Race Ready, beet pulp, and crimped oats. Then add lots of water to make a soup. I use Purina 12/12 mineral mixed in the feed, and add 1/2 the recommeded dosage of electrolytes each day for 3 days before a ride. We have orchard grass mix hay plus 2nd-3rd cutting alfalfa offered free choice. I also have Ultium for building weight.

The main thing is that my horses are on pasture. At any ride I work really hard to find grazing for them at camp and during vet holds. We have gotten BC about 1/4 of the time, so I guess it is working pretty well.

We are going to try our first 100 mile ride this May. That should be interesting.

Paul N. Sidio
Spokane MO




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