Equines are exceptional athletes that often need help in the form of dietary horse supplements and additives to support their high-performance regimens. Whether your horses are used for breeding, dressage, racing, or show, they all need to consume ideal amounts of nutrition to support health. Due to the nature of demands placed on the bodies of performance equines, most have greater dietary requirements than the typical horse.
Thoroughbreds, Quarter horses, Standardbreds, and Arabians are some of the hardest-working, most stressed, and most athletic equines on the planet. The demands placed on their bodies starts at a very young age and typically continues for many years to come. This creates a serious challenge for farmers, trainers, breeders, and owners who need to provide a diet high in protein, vitamins, and minerals that allow their horses to grow, mature, and repeatedly achieve peak physical performance.
Using Horse Supplements to Bolster Health
The key to maintaining healthy, athletic horses is a balanced diet focused on supplying nutrients that provide energy. High-performance equines are constantly burning energy reserves and thus require higher-than-normal levels of protein to sustain maximum health. Often, sufficient levels of protein cannot be consumed in common feed so it is necessary to use high-quality horse supplements. When horses exercise, their muscles use small molecules called adenosine triphosphate (ATP) that stimulate contractions in the muscles. Because they cannot store large amounts of ATP in their bodies, horses must consume energy-rich nutrients to restore their energy reserves.
4 Common Types of Horse Supplements:
- Amino acids
Many high-performance horses have unique issues that require customized diets. Those with shelly feet need horse supplements that provide biotin, zinc and other nutrients for supporting hoof health. Broodmares, on the other hand, require massive amounts of protein and minerals to support healthy foal growth and the production of milk.
Linking Protein to Performance
Protein is an important source of nutrition for horses, that much is well known. However, many people don’t realize that protein’s main benefits are earned during the growth stages of a young horse’s’ life. It’s a common misconception that large amounts of protein are needed to restore energy reserves.
While it is important that high-performance equines consume optimal levels of protein to maintain health, providing excessive amounts of protein can lead to increased heart rates, respiration, and sweating. Young equines should be given feed with horse supplements that offer slightly higher levels of protein while mature equines should be fed a more balanced diet.
Do You Need to Use Horse Supplements?
Each equine operation is different. Just like every horse has individual dietary requirements, each farm, stable, and breeding shed may need a variety of specific horse supplements. The one thing you can’t afford to afford in a high-performance equine is nutrient imbalances. Horses with imbalances will start to demonstrate signs of discomfort and irritability that can quickly lead to injury or disease. This, in turn, will affect their performance.
Consider these factors when deciding whether your equines would benefit from the use of horse supplements:
- Horses without the ability to forage can suffer from a lack of nutrients they would normally consume in the wild.
- Horses with consistent health problems, such as shelly feet, ulcers, or strains, could be experiencing deficiencies that aren’t being addressed in their current diets.
- Horses who are more active than they would normally be in a pasture exhaust their reserves of energy at a much faster rate, which depletes their body’s reserves of nutrients.
If your horses demonstrate signs of nutrient deficiencies or constantly battle with health conditions, they may need high-quality horse supplements to balance their diet.