A Veterinarian and specialist equine nutritionist, Dr. Chloe Casalis De Pury, gave a fantastic talk about current research into how we can make our equine athletes perform and recover better. The horse world is based on a great deal of heresy and tradition. She dispelled a great many myths.
The presentation was long and packed chock full with technical information of vital importance in keeping up to date with equine management. Basically it came down to the following points:
Forage. All the time.
I have seen myself, first hand, many riders who put their horse on the trailer for a competition without any hay. She could not emphasize enough how important it was for riding horse to have hay in its tummy all the time. Especially while being ridden. A fiber mat of forage in the stomach of the horse during riding drastically reduced acid splash on the stomach, thusly reducing ulcers. Her suggestions: Feed alfalfa chalf half an hour before riding to create a fiber mat in the stomach to reduce ulcers.
She dispelled a great many myths about supplements. If the end, the only one that seemed to show any sort of scientific benefit was probiotics and prebiotics to help regulate the flora that flourishes in the gut. Especially with horses that travel a great deal and have new feed introduced to them, management of the gut flora was of vital importance. She encouraged people to try to keep the same forage at all times even when travelling.
Again she dispelled a great many myths about how to get the horse to recover from exercise faster and to delay the onset of lactic acid production...bicarbonate shakes, etc. none of these formulations stood up to research trials. Only regular consistent anaerobic exercise is the solution.