Spring has well and truly sprung so competition season is just around the corner! A good preparation can you achieve all your competition goals and ensure you get the most out of your season. We have complied some tip tops to help you get your horse prepared for your best competition season yet!
Horse Health Assessment
Assessing your horse’s health seems obvious but it should be the first item on any agenda ahead of the competition season. Preparation is key so check your horse’s paperwork in good time: are all the vaccinations/passport administration documents up to date? Depending on the time of year, is parasite control required or does your horse need his annual dental check for example? By assessing these health requirements at the beginning of the season, they can be done in good time and not affect your horse’s performance at an inopportune time during the competition season!
Fitness is a crucial element for horse owners to focus on when getting competition ready. By focusing on your horse’s fitness, the risk of injury can be reduced and it can help with overall competition performance. Firstly, make a detailed plan for your horse’s fitness; assess your competition goals, your horse’s current health and fitness standard, time management, facilities available etc. All fitness plans should be gradual in nature to being with and build up over time as your horse’s fitness levels increases. By starting off steady, it lowers the risk of injury and allows more time for the horse’s body to adjust and grow in strength. Making a customised fitness plan allows you to tailor your horse’s fitness to his particular needs and your competition aims.
Equine nutrition is vital all year around but even more so before and during the competition season. It is important to assess your horse’s current body condition, age, health and formulate a plan to fulfil his nutritional needs. Here are a few helpful hints to assist with nutritional support:
✔Forage – forage makes up the bulk of the horse’s diet and he nutritional value of forage should not be overlooked. Ensure this element of the diet is included in any nutritional plan.
✔Concentrated feed – this area of the diet is vital for performance and should be carefully formulated to best assist your horse’s needs. Be careful not to overcompensate with hard feed through large meals – revert to little and often to mimic nature.
✔Introduce changes gradually – any dietary changes should be introduced gradually to reduce the risk of digestive upsets. It will help your horse’s digestive system adapt as his nutritional needs adjust as the competition season gets underway
Remember to adjust any plans slowly as the nutritional necessities change throughout the season in line with fitness, training and individual requirements. Consult our equine nutritional advisor if unsure as to how and what to feed for the competition season.
Another tip to help get competition ready is to recognise that equine nutritional supplements may be required to assist your horse’s performance. Supplementation should only occur on an individual basis and in consultation with an equine nutritional advisor. There are three areas of support that should be considered in any competition season preparation plan:
✔ Digestive support – to combat the stress of training and competing as well as for overall health.
✔ Joint care – to assist with mobility and reducing stiffness is vital for any competition horse
✔ Electrolytes – vital to avoid dehydration and tying up after heavy work or in warm weather
NutriScience have a wide range of supplements available to help your horse get competition ready; from Equine Gold or GastroCare (for digestive health or ulcer prevention) to Arthri Aid (for joints) to NutriLyte (electrolyte replacement). NutriScience can help your horse achieve peak performance throughout the competition season. For more advice or assistance, please contact us here or call +353 (0)51 304 010