How Horse Owners Can Support Their Equine Athlete
Performance recovery. You might be familiar with this term if you are an athlete yourself, or if you own an equine athlete. Performance recovery combines nutrition and rest for optimal muscle restoration and peak performance.
Poor recovery can cause your horse to flatline in their progress and even develop injuries. Over time, this can affect your horse’s well-being and ability to compete long-term.
Strenuous exercise affects many different parts of the body. This includes essential functions such as muscle function, fluid balance and energy storage. Recovery enables the complete replenishment, repair and restoration of all these processes. Luckily, proper recovery can reduce the chances of injury and even improve your results in the competition ring.
Below are a few steps to understanding equine performance recovery. With a solid routine in place, you can help your equine athlete perform their best every day.
Step 1 - Nutrition for Muscle Recovery
High intensity exercise causes the breakdown of muscle fibers. It also stimulates the equine body to build muscle mass. To repair muscle fibers and provide the building blocks for new muscle cells, your horse needs a high-quality, daily source of protein that contains all ten essential amino acids:
- Lysine (involved in growth and development)
- Methionine (for hoof and hair quality)
- Threonine (involved in tissue repair)
Step 2 - Healthy Gut Function
Healthy digestive function is a key part of recovery and just as important as good nutrition. If your horse is unable to absorb nutrients or has impaired digestion, they will not receive the full benefits of a targeted nutrition plan.
Colic and GI dysfunction is common in many horses, including equine athletes. According to the AAEP, colic is still the number one cause of death in horses across the United States.
For horses with impaired digestion, we recommend our veterinarian-trusted Assure product line. Assure Guard Gold is our most popular and convenient option, and is designed to target colic, ulcers, diarrhea and weight loss. It contains no added sugars, and is formulated into a single, pelleted product for easy feeding. When combined with a quality diet, regular forage and adequate hydration, Assure Guard Gold helps support optimal GI health.
Need more information? Talk to our Equine Nutritionist, Brady Karren, to get your digestive health questions answered and learn more about the Assure products. Contact him for a free, 30-minute consult.
For more information about preventing colic, check out our 7 Must-Know Colic Prevention Tips blog here.
Step 3 – Key Micronutrients for Optimal Support
Did you know B vitamins are essential for energy production and nervous system health? Look for a supplement that contains B-complex to help support your equine athlete's energy storage and production.
Many performance horses need added bone remodeling support from essential minerals. Eq-Well, our new vitamin-mineral balancer, is an ideal source of essential minerals and nutrients for performance recovery, as well as soft tissue and bone support. Eq-Well contains double chelated copper, manganese, and zinc from TelaFIRM-S.
Chelation helps protect important trace minerals from breakdown in the stomach and ensures your horse receives the maximum benefit these minerals can offer. Double chelation takes this one step further and offers another level of protection to make even more minerals bio-available for absorption in the hind-gut.
Eq-Well also contains sodium zeolite A and HMTBa for additional bone support and muscle recovery.
We love Eq-Well because of the high-quality, versatile formula. Whether your horse is an equine athlete or a companion horse, Eq-Well is formulated to meet the nutritional needs of every horse in your barn.
Step 4 – Topical Support to the Rescue
Topical support can be very helpful as a part of a recovery routine. There are many products on the market designed to relieve muscle inflammation and pain but paying attention to the ingredients is key.
Sore No-More Performance Ultra products are formulated to provide maximum relief but still remain safe for sensitive horses and those who compete under FEI regulations. Many upper-level riders depend on the poultice after every ride to prevent stocking up and use the liniment as a bath brace to offer full-body relief. The gelotion is a trusted, on-the-go option and is a favorite for ringside use.
Clinically proven to relieve swelling and pain, Sore No-More Performance Ultra is a favorite of many equestrians and top competitors. We recommend pairing it with its partner product, BeneFab by Sore No-More, for best results.
Sore No-More Sports Salve is another popular topical for equine athletes. Many equestrians use Sports Salve for injury prevention against scrapes, leg grease for cross country or rugged trail rides and more.
Do you use Sore No-More Sports Salve? Have any suggestions for performance recovery? Tell us your favorite tips by tagging @ArenusHealth and #SoreNoMore on Facebook or Instagram!