What is “Colt Sore?”

“Colt sore” is a term used by trainers of young racehorses to describe a horse that is not progressing well in training, seeming uncomfortable and showing poor gaits but typically without any obvious source of lameness. This is often assumed to be caused by joint issues but that’s not necessarily the case.

The picture of being “colt sore” can happen at any age and in any discipline.  The most common cause is actually often overlooked completely – poor muscular adaptation.

Signs of poor muscular adaptation include:

  • Poor muscular bulk
  • Tenderness on palpation
  • High resting muscle tone (hard muscles)
  • Failure to meet training milestones
  • Difficult with more advanced movements or gaits
  • Resistance to work, appearance of vices or dangerous behavior

The horse is a tremendous natural athlete but wasn’t designed to do the sustained daily workloads we ask.  The goal of training is to stimulate strengthening and biochemical adaptations that allow the horse to do the required workloads. Part of this is inherent genetic potential, which we can’t change, but a large part is providing the targeted support which allows the horse to correctly respond to training, particularly in muscle which is the horse’s engine.

Muscle is protein, and amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Many people reach for protein when there is a muscle issue but you can’t build muscle or make it work more efficiently just by feeding more protein unless the diet is protein deficient. Even then you need high levels of specific amino acids (leucine, lysine, methionine) to make a difference.

Vitamin E and selenium in highly absorbable forms are critical to supporting the antioxidant defenses of the working muscle cell. Exercising muscle generates tremendous amounts of oxygen free radicals in the process of burning fuels for energy. The vitamin E protects membranes surrounding and inside the cells while selenium is important for maintaining activity of the most important antioxidant inside the cell’s fluids – glutathione.

Two scientifically proven supports for muscle metabolism are acetyl-L-carnitine and beta-alanine.  See this discussion for full details of their many benefits to muscle.

The usual approach to a horse that is struggling despite the usual methods is to stop training and turn the horse out, which costs considerable time and money. Before going that route, try Muscle EQ. You will typically see results within 3 weeks.

Liquid E Liquid E is a concentrated liquid Vitamin E that protects the body from damaging free radicals that can weaken cells and tissues.  In addition to powerful antioxidant properties, Vitamin E promotes healthy immune, cardiovascular, circulatory, neuromuscular, and reproductive functions.

Selenium yeast. Organic chelated Selenium Yeast Blend in a palatable Brewer’s Yeast base. Perfect for feeding Selenium without adding Vitamin E.

Commonly deficient in horses, Selenium yeast for horses supports muscle tissue, the heart, and the nervous system.  It also promotes a healthy immune system by neutralizing the damaging effects of excessive oxidative stress and free radicals.

Muscle EQ.  Muscle is your horse’s motor. Keeping it properly fueled nutritionally can help the horse reach his natural potential for speed and endurance, maintain smooth gaits, hold better bulk/definition and enjoy muscles that are able to properly relax after work. By targeting key nutrients you can ensure there are no preventable barriers to smooth, efficient muscular activity.

About Dr. Kellon
Dr. Eleanor Kellon, staff veterinary specialist for Uckele Health & Nutrition, is an established authority in the field of equine nutrition for over 30 years, and a founding member and leader of the Equine Cushings and Insulin Resistance (ECIR) group, whose mission is to improve the welfare of horses with metabolic disorders via integration of research and real-life clinical experience.  Prevention of laminitis is the ultimate goal.  www.ecirhorse.org

Uckele Health & Nutrition, maker of CocoSoya, is an innovation-driven health company committed to making people and their animals healthier.  On the leading edge of nutritional science and technology for over 50 years, Uckele formulates and manufactures a full spectrum of quality nutritional supplements incorporating the latest nutritional advances.  www.uckele.com.

Contact: Susan Libby, susan@uckele.com

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