Learn about a number of natural ways to help with recovery for your performance horse.
Recovery is a real concern for performance horses. Whether they’re beating down a racetrack at top speed, pushing the limits of stamina through an endurance course, or testing their muscle strength and ability as a show horse, these hard-working equines need some extra attention.
As levels of competition increase in every discipline, our horses’ physical requirements also increase. Although proper conditioning is a key factor in preparing and maintaining your horse’s performance level, it is critical that optimal nutrition be a major concern.
Proteins are a fundamental building block, containing important amino acids and supporting soft tissue development and repair. In conjunction with a forage and grain-based diet, wheatgrass is an excellent addition to your horse’s diet. It’s rich in Omega-3s, vitamins and minerals, and packs a protein punch!
Hydration and Electrolyte Balance
During activities such as racing, a horse can lose 20 or more liters of fluids. Sweat consists of chloride, sodium, calcium and potassium and is necessary to regulate the increased body temperatures caused by high-energy activities. It’s a thermostat of sorts, originating in the brain’s hypothalamus. The heat generated from exertion triggers the sweat glands to release fluids. As the fluids evaporate, they lower the body’s core temperature.
With proper pre-performance care, nutrition and conditioning, your horse will recover his post-performance ability. However, it is critical that you replace the minerals and fluids he loses, or an electrolyte imbalance and deficiency will negatively impact every part of his system and cause serious health issues.
Orange Peel – Yes, it’s a Herb!
In most cases, we grab a commercially-made electrolyte replacement, but unfortunately most contain very high concentrations of sugar, causing dehydration. The great news is there is a natural, safe and very effective alternative.
Clinical trials have been conducted on the efficacy of orange peel extract for electrolyte recovery. Results are astounding! “The data suggests that orange peel may modulate the cytokine responses to intense exercise,” states a study from Cambridge University. “Orange peel extract reduced post-exercise recovery time and may potentially enhance the ability of horses to perform subsequent bouts of high-intensity exercise.”
This amazing gift from nature has undergone many trials. The results all positively dictate its ability to reduce RNA factors in muscle inflammation post-oxidative stress from performance activities. Additionally, it has proven to significantly reduce cardiovascular recovery time after strenuous exercise.
Orange peel extract is most definitely a worthy ally in performance recovery! When combined with coconut water it’s an even stronger weapon against dehydration and pre- and post-performance electrolyte imbalance.
Coconut water – yes, you read that right – is safe and incredibly effective for horses. It yields optimal levels of the minerals required to replenish a dehydrated, nutrient-deprived, post-exercise body. Adequate levels of potassium, magnesium, chloride, sodium, amino acids and many more, coupled with the incredible effects of orange peel extract, aid in the performance recovery of your four-legged athlete.
Theresa Gilligan has been involved in riding and training horses for 25 years, including racing and breeding thoroughbreds. She has over 14 years in the financial industry and a bachelor and graduate degree in International Business. The last five years have been dedicated to research in alternative medicinal practices with a specific focus on Ayurveda. Neachai is the first Equine Ayurvedic-specific alternative practice in North America. To date results have been outstanding. Neachai.ca