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Feeding to support energy level
A bit of background-- my arab gelding is 11 years old and very in shape (ridden 5-6 days a week). He is an incredibly easy keeper and gets fat on air. We school dressage at home, and while he has all of that pep and shine in the show arena, he just isn't very forward in our home arena! I try to mix up our workouts (lots of exercises from the book 101 Dressage Exercises) and I've made our trail rides more frequent-- especially because jogging through the wash trails does wonders for his muscling!
Here's his diet:
10lbs bermuda grass + 6 lbs alfalfa
1 serving SmartVite Performance Grass (vitamin/mineral supp)
1 serving Smartflex III (joint/muscle supp)
1 serving SmartShine Ultra (fish oil, flax seed, etc)
Free access salt & mineral blocks.
I am thinking about switching to some kind of competition feed, but am hesitant and have a few questions!
1 - Is this a good possible solution for supporting my horse's energy? Or should I just start giving him longer workouts to build endurance?
2 - If I were to add a competition feed, should I consider feeding a higher bermuda:alfalfa ratio (less alfalfa) or keep his hay ration the same?
3 - Are there any recommended competition feeds that provide slow steady energy support?
Has your change up in arena routine improved his pep? If he looks like he is maintaining weight and doing well, I would be leery of "rocking the boat". If he is not maintaining, i would always increase hay first. If the increase in forage doesn't do it, then I would probably add beet pulp or rice bran. Grain would be my last resort, but I wouldn't change anything if he is physically thriving.
Honestly, he sounds bored. Can you make some fun obstacles? The other suggestion I have would be a few days off. Sometimes they need to chill in the pasture a few days to get their "zing" back. He might just need some recovery time and when you bring him back get some new stuff to do or teach him a new move.
I'd hesitate to add any high calorie feeds since you say he's an easy keeper, but I certainly understand the motivation. My horse is also naturally lazier (and an easy keeper) and I'd love to find something that would add some more 'go'
There are a few supplements out there designed to increase a horse's stamina, but seem to be for horses that "fade" over a workout (which is not the case with my horse at least) and I'm not sure that they would work for horses that are already getting a balanced diet to begin with.
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