Proteins are necessary for muscles
Did you know that a sport horse needs about 1000-1200 grams proteins a day? An average horse will take in approximately 9 kg of feeding stuff a day. At least one kilo of this should consist of protein. “This is almost nowhere the case and it forms the basis of many problems, especially in competition horses,” explains Pavo nutrition expert Rob Krabbenborg.
Did you know...?
- that horses which sweat a lot have a higher need for protein;
- that you can recognize a horse with a proteins deficiency from a too low muscle tone in the gluteal muscles;
- big movers are more prone to injuries;
- an injury is an imbalance between stress and stress capacity. In top sport the stress is a fixed factor (performance asked), so the important thing is to increase the stress capacity. The management of sport horses is essential for their successes.
Every horse owner knows by now that roughage is the most important part of the horse’s diet. Sport horses, which are usually kept stabled between training sessions, are fed with hay and silage.
A worrying trend
Pave has had roughage samples tested for the last ten years from all over the Netherlands and Germany. A worrying trend is becoming apparent. “We see ever rougher and poorer material, because farmers use less and less fertilizers. The energy levels are decreasing and the proteins content goes down even faster. Low energy roughage is a solution for a large group of horses. You can feed it unlimited. If these horses are used only as leisure horses, they get ample nutrients when given a small addition of basic feedstuff or a vitamin and mineral supplement. However, things are entirely different when a horse needs to perform.
In collaboration with top veterinainians
“I am convinced that most competition horses do not get sufficient energy and protein. The concentrate feed does not replenish the shortages sufficiently. Even if you give a high quality roughage, you will not reach the correct values. That was for us the reason to develop a new product,” says Krabbenborg. In doing so, Pavo sought collaboration with veterinary clinic Bodegraven where a lot of competition horses are supervised.
Teun Sterk, equine veterinarian from the Bodegraven clinic explains how to use this muesli. “If you replace a part of your normal concentrate feed by Pavo TopSport, you will restore the balance in the entire ration. Pavo TopSport contains 20 percent high quality proteins from soya bean and 18 percent oil. This provides energy for endurance performances but does not result in lactic acids during the metabolic process. It also contains extra vitamin E to prevent muscle acidification.”
The right balance
Krabbenborg: “The right balance is also extremely important. The composition makes a difference.” Soya beans are an excellent source of proteins for horses. In addition, the developers looked also for an ingredient which delivers energy for an endurance performance. This was found in the form of oil from extruded linseed. A vitamin and mineral supplement is important for the right balance. And a small quantity of cane molasses is necessary to bind the product and make it palatable. All this resulted in a muesli mixture with the name Pavo TopSport.
“The right feed can make a huge difference in top sport.” This is the opinion of equine veterinarian Drs. Teun Sterk from Bodegraven clinic. Specialized supervision of competition horses is a large part of his job - and of his colleagues. They do not only treat horses, but do also a lot of preventative work.
Not every examination of a sport horse is caused by a problem. For horses that compete at the highest level, the supervision starts with drafting a ‘performance profile’ in order to monitor the horse’s health. By doing so, small problems are detected timely, before they develop into injuries that keep a horse away from competition for a longer period of time.
Do you know what the protein content of you roughage is?
If the horse's performance is disappointing, we also examine the horse’s diet. Proteins is an important ingredient. Equine veterinarian Teun Sterk: “Many sport horses do not get enough protein. The reason for this is that often people do not know what the protein content of their roughage is. Analysis of roughage is therefore a precondition.” According to Sterk, it is hard to see from the outside whether the horse gets sufficient proteins or not. “Sometimes you will see that the muscles of the top line are not well developed. Whether a horse is too skinny or too fat does not mean anything. Poor, hard to digest hay gives a fat belly, but doesn’t provide any energy.
In addition, I see particularly in the dressage too fat horses with too little muscles. The rider should hear the alarm bells ring if the horse does not keep up with the training exercise, suffers from muscle acidification or is not eager to work. This can already start with sulky or irritated behaviour when the rider is saddling up. An extra scoop of feed or giving just any supplement is not the solution. Give the horse a full check-up, in order to find out what the cause is. Adjusting the diet, or scrupulously assessing the diet and possibly adjusting it, is part of the total approach.”