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Performance Horses

What’s important during this life stage?

Common challenges

  • High energy requirements not typically met by forage alone
  • Muscle, bone and connective tissue strength, recovery and regeneration
  • Injury prevention
  • Digestive stress
  • Poor hoof and hair coat quality

Tips for maximizing health and performance

  • Remember: Fat is your friend. Fats are useful in providing additional calories without affecting the delicate balance of gut microbes in the horse’s hindgut. As a bonus, they may also help your horse’s coat get extra shiny.
  • Ensure that your horse is receiving adequate levels of antioxidants, such as vitamin E and selenium. Antioxidants support exercise and recovery. Consult an equine nutritionist to ensure that your performance horse’s requirements are being met so that they can maintain a high level of exercise tolerance.
  • Minimize stress to support digestive health. A performance lifestyle means that a horse spends a lot of time in a stall, traveling and competing. These circumstances add stress that can lead to ulcers, colic or general digestive upset, which can negatively impact health and performance. Supporting your horse with proper forage, fiber and supplemental digestive nutrients, such as yeast cultures, can help to limit the effects of stress on its gut health.
  • Adapt the diet to the individual animal. Injured horses have different requirements than when they are in training, and thin horses have different needs than more efficient animals. Feed to keep your horse’s body condition score somewhere between 4 and 6, and always monitor the healing process with veterinary guidance.