This can be manipulated nutritionally; horses can be hyped up, or slowed down, by manipulation of the energy supply. High levels of glucose in the bloodstream (resulting from a high starch/sugar diet) will predispose a horse to excitable behaviour. This can be exacerbated by relatively high levels of minerals and vitamins in the diet (particularly those required for energy metabolism in the muscles). Fats can be slowly converted to glucose, so providing a slow-release source of energy. If a horse’s overall energy supply is greater than its maintenance requirement, the excess energy may be stored either as fat, or as glycogen in the muscles, or used up in some form of exercise. The latter may manifest itself with vices such as weaving in the stable, and general uncontrollability.
A deficiency in the energy supply will result in a horse which will have poor stamina because of low levels of muscle glycogen (short-term energy reserves). Inadequate levels of the minerals and vitamins essential for energy metabolism in the muscles will restrict energy utilisation, and consequently, performance.
A fit, healthy horse, able to cope with its workload, will be receiving a diet providing a correct balance of essential nutrients. This varies considerably from horse to horse; an experienced horseman or woman will have found out the hard way the requirements of individual horses in their charge. A competent nutritionist can provide useful guidance, and even calculate diets on a scientific basis (as happens in some top racing yards), but ultimately success is dependant on good management by the rider, owner, and grooms closely observing the performance of a horse in relation to its diet, and making appropriate adjustments to obtain optimum performance.
Lethargy/Lack of Stamina
– If condition is good, try adding extra mineral/vitamin supplement to the daily feed or a high energy/high protein sports horse balancer.
– Increase training to get the horse fitter.
– Feed high-energy, starchy diet with e.g rolled oats, flaked maize, cooked peas or beans.
Reduce feed, especially high starch/sugar feeds.
– Reduce/eliminate mineral/vitamin supplement.
– Change to higher oil/higher fibre/cereal-free feeds.
– Try probiotic/yeast.
– Try magnesium-rich supplement – (NB: most Horseheath products are well supplemented with magnesium).
– Feed a balanced low starch high fibre mix or nut. If condition is poor add a low starch high energy supplement such as cooked full -fat linseed or full fat soya or copra. These have a high oil content for slow release energy, and quality protein essential for restoring lost muscle.
Suitable products can be obtained from Gravenhorse Feeds
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