The new eventing season is in full swing, and no doubt there are several dates already pencilled in the calendar for competitions and outings in the months ahead for you and your four legged friend to enjoy. However, in order to make the most of the season ahead and ensure your horse or pony stays happy, sound and healthy, it is very important to nutritionally prepare them for the changes that will occur in their workload and routine.
What do we have to consider?
Matching your horse or pony’s diet to their workload is primarily based upon supplying the correct level of calories and nutrients they need on a daily basis to maintain the level of condition that you desire, whilst fuelling their increased exercise regime and keeping their diet balanced at all times. Sounds tricky? Not when you know how to utilise the correct dietary components and feed them effectively!
The first principal that must be taken into consideration is the fact that horses have a limited appetite and can only physically consume the equivalent of 2-2.5% of their bodyweight per day in feed. Due to this factor, when increasing workload, it is important to ensure the diet is more energy and nutrient dense in order to provide ‘more per mouthful’ to meet increased nutritional demands. When competing up to Novice level, introducing Blue Chip Original, a high quality, nutrient dense feed balancer into your horse’s diet is an ideal way of providing them with the specifically tailored levels of vitamins, minerals and nutrients that they need to thrive throughout the season. Above Novice level, switch to Blue Chip Pro as the higher level of nutrition and blood-building formula will help to improve recovery rates and stamina, ensuring your horse or pony gains the winning edge he needs to consistently perform and succeed in all three disciplines.
Fibre as Fuel
Forage is the main component of an equine diet and is highly important when maintaining correct function of the digestive system, as well as acting as a major source of slow release energy following its digestion in the hindgut. Because energy released from fibre occurs over a period of time, it is available for use hours after your horse or pony has consumed it, allowing him to maintain stamina levels over a prolonged period. Blue Chip Feed Balancers are the only balancers to contain Nucleotides as part of a triple action digestive supplement, which can increase fibre digestibility by up to 100%, and help to aid nutrient absorption, allowing your horse or pony to get the maximum level of nutrition that they can from the feed you provide them with. But how do we increase the levels of energy they can utilise immediately? That’s where feeding additional carbohydrates and oils becomes beneficial to your horse or pony as they provide the quick-release energy needed required for harder, faster work.
As well as feeding carbohydrates to increase energy levels, the use of oils is becoming more popular as they are approximately 2.25% more energy dense and increase the overall energy content of the feed without significantly increasing the volume. Oils are very useful for horses that are in hard, fast work as their breakdown within the body is purely aerobic, meaning they can only be metabolised during low intensity work. This means that when your horse is exerting itself and unable to supply plentiful oxygen levels to sustain aerobic respiration, their stores of glycogen have remained full and can be quickly broken down anaerobically to provide a boost of energy as the energy provided by the oil has been utilised effectively in their slower work. Blue Chip Pro contains additional soya and linseed oils to safely increase Digestible Energy levels within the diet, without adding excess sugars and starches, improving fitness and energy levels so your horse or pony can perform at their best all day long.
Never Neglect Nutrients!
Whatever level of work any horse or pony is in, they still require specifically balanced levels of vitamins, minerals and nutrients on a daily basis in order to maintain optimum health and well-being, alongside quality sources of protein to promote correct muscle tone and development, tissue repair and cell regeneration. An easy way to include all these vital dietary components is to feed a precisely formulated Blue Chip Feed balancer, which also include a probiotic to promote a healthy gut environment whilst ensuring your horse or pony is receiving all they need on a daily basis to thrive. Blue Chip Feed balancers are specifically tailored to differing needs of horses and ponies and alongside Blue Chip Original and Blue Chip Pro, the new Super Concentrated Balancer range includes the magnesium and L-tryptophan based Calming Balancer to reduce stress and anxiety and the ULSA-Cool Balancer, which contains a slow release calcium compound to assist with stomach acid balance and Beta-Glucans to line the stomach with a protective film to help maintain a healthy gut environment in the competition horse.
Make the Change
In order to correctly implement changes to your horse or pony’s diet, they must be introduced gradually in order to avoid digestive upsets and behavioural changes. Dividing the total concentrated feed ration into several meals throughout the day proves highly beneficial and avoids both over loading the digestive system whilst ensuring motility for maximum nutrient absorption. The Blue Chip Super Concentrated Feed Balancers are formulated to be highly nutrient dense which decreases portion sizes, making changes even easier to incorporate into the diet.
Blue Chip Feed are strong supporters of eventing and currently sponsor The Central North West BE80T challenge, which aims to introduce grassroots riders to affiliated eventing and has achieved this with great success. Blue Chip also supports the Solihull Horse Trials and event riders including Becci Harrold and Olympic Medallist, Tina Cook who feed their horses Blue Chip Pro and Blue Chip Joint RLF to give them the winning edge.