Getting Horses ‘Sales Ready’
With a completely revised sales schedule in place for the coming months, there are a number of key thoroughbred auctions due to take place right throughout the summer in Ireland and the UK. Indeed for some producers and consigners they are likely to be moving from one sale directly in to the next. Some horses particularly 2 year olds have had a significant disruption to their preparation programme due to the ever-evolving situation around the COVID 19 pandemic. All of these factors make this a very challenging environment for Stud farms and consignors. We have received many enquiries from our customers around the management of the diet of horses who now have an extended period before going to auction relating to adjustments in their diets and typical feeding/management regime.
Two year olds preparing for the Breeze Up Sales have their own specific training regimen which will have them fit enough to quickly pursue their racing career once they are sold. Many of these two year olds may have had the opportunity to mature a little more with the extended preparation period this season. For those preparing yearlings and store horses for sales as unbroken horses the role of exercise in terms of conditioning and muscle development has widely been acknowledged by sales producers as being a critical factor in getting these horses to appear supple and well-muscled with adequate top line attracting significant attention from prospective buyers. With the availability of better facilities (such as mechanical walkers, swimming pools etc) major advancements have been made in terms of the exercise programmes available on-farm. In more recent times; producers have become more conscious of the role that diet can play in terms of achieving optimum growth and condition without compromising a horse’s athletic future in any way.
These horses can often be in their boxes for many hours during the day and encouraged to eat large quantities of typically high starch/cereal diets. The very nature of this feeding routine can lead to digestive upsets and is often associated with excitable behaviour amongst horses that are prone to nervousness. Horses in high stress environments can also be prone to gastric ulcers. Trickle feeding forage can help to maintain a calm temperament and is essential for maintaining a healthy digestive tract. Good quality forage will also contribute significantly to the energy reserves of the horse. For those horses that have an extension to their sales preparation and providing there is adequate turn out space available they will benefit from the calorie rich grass that is growing presently.
In terms of the concentrate diet of these horses, many owners are looking for a product that will be palatable as well as providing all the nutrients necessary for skeletal and muscular development. GAIN Equine Nutrition have a number of products that are suitable for preparing horses for sales. GAIN Prep ‘N’ Condition Mix is a highly palatable feed is fortified with minerals and micronutrients, including Bioplex Copper, Zinc and Manganese, to support optimum bone development. The high energy level is achieved through a combination of cooked cereals, oils and ‘super fibres’ to help with the training demands of sales prep. The protein requirements are met using a combination of Full Fat Soya and Sunflower Meal. These ingredients supply essential amino acids lysine and methionine which have a role to play in muscle building and the maintenance of ‘Topline’.
GAIN Stud Cubes are a comprehensive highly digestible dust free cube widely used for sales preparation amongst many top producers. With many similar properties to GAIN Prep ‘N’ Condition including Bioplex minerals and Yea-sacc live yeast it is a suitable product to support optimal skeletal development.
The rigours of exercise can place horses under oxidative stress which can lead to muscle soreness and fatigue. GAIN Prep ‘N’ Condition Mix pays particular attention to the antioxidant requirement of horses in work with the inclusion of elevated levels of Vitamin E and Sel-Plex (protected selenium) which work to minimise the damage caused by freeradicals produced during exercise. These also have a positive effect on immune function. GAIN Prep ‘N’ Condition Mix can also be fed in conjunction with GAIN Opti-Care Balancer/GAIN Stud-Care 32 Balancer where a controlled calorie intake is required e.g. in the case of ‘heavy topped’ horses or those prone to Developmental Orthopaedic Disease (epiphystits or OCD). 1kg of GAIN Opti-Care Balancer/ GAIN Stud-Care 32 Balancer will replace 4kg of GAIN Prep ‘N’ Condition Mix.
If your horse has any specific requirements that you wish to discuss with one of our nutrition advisers please do not hesitate to contact us on: