Some horses are already in hard work at this time of year, but for many owners, the winter is a time for your horse to take it a bit easy. Now the nights are starting to draw out, we can see a light at the end of the tunnel, and lots of us are starting to think about increasing work load to get horses fit for spring.
When you first start working your horse, in nearly all cases forage and a very small amount of low energy, high fibre feed, with a vitamin and mineral supplement such as Benevit Advance will ensure that the horse is receiving all the nutrients required for this work load. If the horse stays in light work (light schooling and hacking up to 3 times a week) this diet is normally sufficient.
If the work load increases in intensity beyond this point, and the horse is being worked harder on a daily basis, you may find that they need an additional energy source to maintain weight and energy levels.
In addition to the basic nutrients essential for keeping your horse healthy, some horses need a bit of extra help when coming back into work. With 45% of most horses’ body weight being muscle (up to 55% for Thoroughbreds) it is no surprise that some horses’ muscular health may need supporting when they are being brought back into work, especially after a length of time off where muscles are expected to start working in a different way to when a horse is not being ridden.
Providing a muscular health supplement such as Opti Muscle will ensure that horses and ponies are receiving adequate levels of the required ingredients for their muscles to work and develop correctly, including Selenium, which can be deficient in the diet due to Selenium deficient grazing. This works along with Vitamin E to help muscle cells withstand the stresses of exercise. Opti Muscle also contains Magnesium, which is lost though sweat, and is vital for nerve function and muscle relaxation, allowing horses and ponies to work with greater flexibility. B Vitamins are also supplied, which are necessary for normal nerve function and energy metabolism.
Follow these tips to help your horse come back into work successfully:
- Follow a fitness regimen which lets you bring your horse back into work slowly and correctly
- Feed for the work load your horse is doing, not what you expect them to be doing in a month
- Feeding Opti Muscle to horses coming back into work can help to support the correct development of the muscles, vital for soundness and performance