Prepping for Horse Sales
Now is the time of year that many horse owners are preparing their stock for the Sales Ring and one thing they all have in common is that they want to have their horses looking ‘a million dollars’ when they go under the hammer. There are a number of factors in obtaining the “million dollar” look, with diet and exercise being the most important.
For years horsemen and women have acknowledged the role of exercise in terms of conditioning and muscle development. 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, horse owners 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.
Horses that are being prepped can often be stable-bound 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.
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 has produced a product suited to help with sales prep – GAIN Prep ‘N’ Condition Mix. This 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’.
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.