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Horse musculature: how to support it? 5 Equiplanet Tips

horse musculature
Horse musculature

Horse musculature, 5 tips  

The sport horse musculature is the propulsion system that allows the animal to make a difference during the performance to which it is subjected. For this reason, the muscles must be well developed and functional. The sport has a significant impact on the composition of the horse musculature tissues, and therefore the complementary support feeds must also be chosen according to the horse’s activities.

Three types of horse musculature fibers, one slow contraction (type I) and two fast contractions (IIA and IIB). The more the speed of exercise increases, the more the type I fibers are unable to contract, and the quicker contraction fibers are recruited. Besides, if the rate is as low as the pace, horse musculature burn fat, with the increase in speed, as you have with the trot, and even more with the gallop, the fat becomes a source too slow to produce energy; therefore, glycogen must be metabolized. Glycogen is an essential source of energy stored in the muscle and liver for the production and release of glucose in the blood. This fact distinguishes aerobic from anaerobic disciplines. In anaerobic subjects, glucose is metabolized to produce energy, with lactic acid production. This the one of the causes of fatigue in active horses.

Horse musculature: Equiplanet advices

1- Avoid a diet too rich in starch and counteract lactic acid.

Horse musculature

In the horses’ diet, cereals are an excellent source of energy for the synthesis of glycogen. Still, diets too rich in starches can cause indigestion passing from the small intestine directly into the cecum where the intestinal microflora ferments it in lactic acid. This fact could result in a sudden lowering of the intestinal pH with consequent impairment of the positive bacteria in the intestinal flora. It is recommended to use complementary feeds with high fiber and starch content, such as Fat Fiber, to avoid a diet rich in starch.  

Horse musculature, keep lactic acid under control!

Keeping lactic acid under control is necessary for sports horses. Although the diet is carefully monitored, a minimum of training due to anaerobic exercise is healthy. To help limit lactic acid build-up, Equiplanet has developed a range of products such as  No Acid, Muscle Racing New e Lact Aid, which contain buffers, glycine, betaine, and antioxidants.

2- Properly train the horse

The musculature develops as long as it is subjected to sufficient efforts. Training is, therefore, essential to increase both strength and resistance. The horse will have to undergo suitable training based on flat work and whatever else your instructor or trainer decides to do. Your instructor will also evaluate the duration and frequency of training.  

An extra help to horse musculature: Amino Top

Complementary feeds can be used in conjunction with training to support horse musculature maintenance, such as Aminotop, which contains amino acids.

What are amino acids?

Amino acids are the units that make up the proteins that play an essential role in the development of muscle mass and are involved in the repair mechanism of muscle fibers subject to intense physical activity.

Why is it important to supplement them with diet?

Several studies on branched amino acids reveal that they are also involved in fatigue. A lack of them causes a sense of fatigue in the horse, resulting in a drop in performance and sometimes in the inability to complete competitions.

3- Maintaining proper hydration to support the muscles

The state of hydration of a horse can determine the success of sporting performance. During intense exercise, a loss of fluid due to sweating leads to a reduction in blood circulation volume. This fact leads to less tissue perfusion, particularly at the muscular level, where massive water spraying is required to compete. The horses must, therefore, arrive at the competition well hydrated. Then liquids and electrolytes must be reintroduced through watering and complementary feeding containing mineral salts to avoid metabolic imbalances and limit the toxic effects of myoglobin (released by muscle cells) on the kidneys.

In this regard, you can read our article on the importance of  electrolytes

4 – Use antioxidants to support the muscles

Horse musculature exercise increases both tissue oxygen requirements and cell respiration and causes overproduction of free radicals. When free radical production exceeds the cell’s antioxidant capacity, tissue damage develops due to oxidative stress. Controlled training and complementary muscle support feeds can help reduce free radical damage. Evit Liquido  is an additional feed based on Vitamin E and Selenium to support the muscles. Vitamin E deficiency is always associated with Selenium deficiency.

5- Fats as a source of muscular energy for the horse

Fats are an excellent source of energy and have the advantage of not taking up gastric space. Horses can digest vegetable fats very well and are fed to them through oils. These oils must be obtained by mechanical pressing and not by chemical extraction, to avoid feeding pollutants to our horses. The best are soy and flax due to the high concentration and the optimal ratio of omega 3 and 6. How can they be essential to support the muscles? During low-intensity exercise, such as walking, the horse uses lipid oxidation for muscle contraction. Free fatty acids are mobilized by fat deposits and made available for oxidation for muscle under stress. Training and prolonged supplementation of the diet with complementary feeds such as Oil Performance allows the horse to spend less glucose and glycogen with a delayed fatigue sensation.  

horse musculature

Read more!

If you want to know all Equiplanet products for the maintenance of normal horse musculature physiology and for the musculature of the horse log in through this link or send us a message to the info@equiplanet mailbox.

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  • Contribution to our knowledge of the physiology and metabolism of endurance horses. Bergero D, 2005
  • Overview of Horse Body Composition and Muscle Architecture: Implications for Performance Kearns CF 2002
  • Hydration and electrolyte balance in horses during an endurance season. C. ROBERT, 2010
  • Problems in Equine Nutrition, Pagan JD, 2004
  • Effect of exercise training, selenium and vitamin E on some free radical scavengers in horses (Equus caballus). Avellini L, 1999
  • Introduction to Horse Nutrition, First Editio. Zoe Davies, 2009