The Importance of a Good Diet for Race Horses

good-diet-for-race-horsesRace horses, irrespective of whether they are Arabians, Thoroughbreds, Quarter Horses or any other breed, come under the greatest amount of stress and are worked the hardest, in the entire equine universe. Adding to this is the situation where these horses have to be always at peak levels of performance, even when they are still underdeveloped and immature mentally and physically. This double scenario goes to demonstrate the importance of providing the best possible nutrition for race horses, so that they do not put their bones and joints at risk of injury.

A balanced and scientific feeding regimen may not directly prevent injury, but it can reduce fatigue and stress. This ensures that the young foal grows well towards maturity, attains peak racing capabilities and after that, also continues to perform well in a later life career as a show horse or stud.

Breeds such as Thoroughbreds and Quater Horses that are destined to spend their best years as race horses, typically start their training quite early. They are first saddled when they are just yearlings and most of them are trained to gallop with a saddle before they are even two years old. The two exceptions are Standardbreds and Arabians, both of whom only start their initial training at two years of age. By this age, most other breeds are being readied for their first race. That signals the start of a whole new way of life for them.

From carefree days in rolling pastures, they are now made to travel to far locations. At the race tracks, they are kept in poorly ventilated stalls for hours on end with very little exercise. Their usual diet changes to large amounts of grain and hay, instead of fresh grass. Under these conditions, many horses develop ulcers and breathing difficulties and they begin to lose weight. While it may not be possible to improve the conditions at the tracks, it is the responsibility of every horse owner to give them the best food, nutrition and care, so that they are able to meet the demands laid on them,

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