by Nikki Alvin-Smith
No human athlete can maintain peak performance level all of the time, and horses are no different. As an equestrian competitor, the focus on fitness, great health and happiness is reasonably easy to balance. We know how we feel, where we ache and when our physical resources are stretched to extreme levels before they become intolerable and we breakdown.
The daily, even hourly, evaluation of the mental and physical status of our equine performance partner can be a bit trickier to determine. This is true even despite the advantageous use of medical diagnostic equipment and having the most accomplished team of professionals at hand.
An out of character action by our horse such as refusing an easy fence or tiring before the home stretch, is an obvious sign we can take to heart and begin our quest to define the issue. But sometimes our horses just seem under par, slightly off base, and figuring out why is not easy.
Changes in environment add many variables to the task of managing performance levels. The stabling, workout workplace and showgrounds bring with them the need for the horse to adjust to many new factors that can build up to impart significant stress.
These likely include a new altitude, modified air temperatures and humidity levels, differences in daylight hours that may affect the horse’s biorhythm, limited (hopefully) dietary differences including water, new noise levels, unfamiliar equine neighbors, and altered care routines. This is without the performance challenges that may arise because of a change in footing materials/compaction, dust and allergens present, bedding including the matting/hardness of the floor on which the horse stands.
To make matters worse these changes in environment are challenges usually faced by the horse following a stressful trailer and/or plane ride.
As any professional rider knows, changes to anything at the eleventh hour before the competition kicks off are to be avoided as much as possible. Tack and equipment, routines, warmup times, new medications/supplements or feed products or treatment modalities need to be kept as consistent as possible for months leading up to the competition and at the venue.
What can you do to assuage the impact of all these variables and improve the probability of sustaining the optimal health track toward peak performance on the desired timeline. Mitigation of the risk of interference to our well-laid plans for a successful outing is the answer. Get in front of the problem.
We All Truly Are – What We Eat – Including Horses
It isn’t news to any of us that what we eat and drink affects both our mental and physical state. Science has shown many interesting effects of the impact of how what we ingest effects our behavior and physical abilities.
For example, did you know for certain individuals consuming carbonated drinks can make them aggressive? I do recall having a competition horse who loved a good slurp of Coca-Cola, but I don’t think that mattered much to him. But I am certain that the composition of our being, that of our billions of cells that are being replaced every single day, is an essential link to building the best mental and physical health. This incredible level of cell replacement is fueled by the nutritional values of what we eat and our ability to digest to effectively utilize these molecules.
There is no doubt that horse competitors realize the importance of keeping their horses’ nutritional needs properly sourced and identified. But even with the most carefully executed balancing act of getting the ratios of feed/exercise seemingly right, this ardent attention to the nutritional needs of the horse can be quickly thwarted when encumbered by the myriad of other stress-inducers that play havoc with the horse’s ability to access them.
Often these stress-inducers are thought of in terms of outside influences such as those mentioned above, a change in environment/transport etc. This is of course true. But in reality, the horse’s digestion system is also hampered by the off-label use of seemingly innocuous over the counter or prescribed medications both ingested, injected and topically applied. Concoctions that combine to create a compromised digestive process through the horse’s gastro-intestinal tract. This makes a mockery of all the hard work that has gone into the planned peak performance timeframe, where the horse’s ‘off’ attitude or physical aptitude becomes apparent at the most inopportune moment.
What Can Be Done?
Thankfully there is much that can be done to ‘prime ‘the horse’s digestive tract to minimize negative impacts of all these stressors. In fact, with use of the right pre and postbiotic product, medical matters and behavioral challenges that may previously have been managed with administration of the variety of usually expensive ‘fixes’ we all throw at the horse, likely become unnecessary altogether.
But Not Any Product Will Do
What product will address the needs of efficient assimilation of the nutrients that your equines require to sustain good health and protect them from the real stressors that they endure, while also offering additional support for the common issues that the majority of performance horses face? A product that will likely safeguard them from or reduce the likelihood of recurrence of gastric ulcers, support the immune system, aid in minimizing recovery times from exercise, improve tissue oxygenation, reduce lactic acid and other conditions that can be addressed relatively simply and inexpensively by prudent proactive action?
Look to science for the answers. Look to evidence-based advice. Look to products that actually contain the ingredients they claim they contain, in the quality and quantity that is identified on the label (read about the essence of the matter at www.nasc.cc). And also importantly, that have showcased the improvements, protections and enhanced health that you want to see in your equine performance partner.
One such product that launched March 2023 (that has garnered much attention from our fellow professionals due to their personal experiences utilizing the product during the past several months) is Grand Meadows Postbiotic. Of note, this NASC approved company is currently offering a free trial to professional horse trainers (which you can sign up to enter for here) without any purchase necessary. This I believe shows an incredible amount of confidence in the feedback they have been receiving to date from pros in the horse world and in the efficacy of the product they have manufactured. The trainers that have thus far participated and offered feedback on Grand Meadow Postbiotic span major talent in a cross-section of equestrian disciplines including horse-racing, dressage, showjumping, barrel racing and the list goes on.
Sidebar: Making the World of Difference
The backstory on the Grand Meadows brand, and of the current owner/C.E.O. Nick Hartog, is one of leadership in the feed supplement arena and trust in this brand for all its product line, has been the net result. While many of us are very busy training and riding horses and have little time to sit and do research on brands, it truly does pay dividends to understand the ethic of a company and know what it is made of and what they do and why and how they execute it.
Think of it as researching a pedigree for your next performance horse purchase or walking a course and understanding a course designer’s intent. This time is never wasted.
The answers to the balancing act of keeping your horse in top form are right there, under your horse’s nose. If you put them there that is.
PLEASE NOTE: AHP members ~ Please share this content. Kindly include Grand Meadows URL and author’s URL wherever published. Please advise use so we can share your platform too. Feel free to contact Nikki Alvin-Smith for further information and high-res photos.
About Grand Meadows: Founded in 1989 by visionary Angela Slater, Grand Meadows is a leading horse health product and equine supplement manufacturer driven by the guiding principle of providing affordable, extremely high-quality science-backed horse products to help ensure horses look and feel their best.
For the past 35 years the company’s mission has been honored and developed further, by President Nick Hartog, who among other accomplishments is one of the founding members and current board member of the National Animal Supplement Council (NASC), an organization that has a profound impact on the safety, transparency, and legitimacy of the animal supplement industry.
Grand Meadow products are widely used and trusted across the entire horse community from Olympic medal winning competitors and successful horse racing trainers to backyard horse owners. Their equine supplements are highly regarded for their excellent quality resourced ingredients and completely accurate labelling and effective formulations. Learn more at https://www.grandmeadows.com/
Photos are available on request.
About Nikki Alvin-Smith:
Content Creator | PR Partner | Seasoned Writer | Brand Builder |
Major Marketer| Journalist|
PR Marketing Specialist/Strategist|
Grand Prix Dressage Competitor/Coach/ Clinician|
Please visit https://nikkialvinsmithstudio.com/ to learn more about her affordable services.