Feeding for competition
The second part of this blog series looks at the importance of the salt and water intake to the horse, especially the competition horse. When our horses sweat, they loose essential body salts, otherwise known as plasma salts. These are Sodium, Calcium, Potassium and Magnesium, which can be fed in a well balanced electrolyte in order to maintain the salt balance in the body. An average horse can lose up to 90g of body salts in just two hours work, emphasizing the need to replace the salts.
If your horse is lacking electrolytes, the horse will feel lethargic, and a continuation of this loss is highly detrimental to the horses health. As the main electrolyte is salt, it important to use a salt based product (not a solution) as it is not possible to suspend enough of the mineral salts needed within a solution.
Equine America produce an electrolyte, that comes as both granules and paste. If a horse is in medium to hard work and sweating on a daily basis, an electrolyte supplement is advised. Apple Lytes is a salt based product which can be added to the feed on a daily basis. For high level competition or endurance events, apple lytes is also available in a handy syringe for instant replenishment of electrolytes.
The importance of water must also be highlighted at this point as around 70% of the horses body weight is water. An average 500kg horse in light work will require about 25 litres of water a day. This need is increased to as much as 300% or around 75 litres if strenuous work is undertaken, this should be provided as a combination of feed and water. If you think your horse is dehydrated, you will see signs of reduce appetite, poor performance and a general lack of ‘oomph’.