If you are an avid competitor or simply want to box your horse to sponsored rides or hacking sites elsewhere, an equine which becomes stressed whilst loading or travelling can act as an unwelcome stopper to your plans. With the summer months on the close horizon the opportunity and desire to 'get out and about' is ever increasing, Scientific Nutritional Products take a look at travel and transport and how to help horse owners reduce the stress of transit for their equine.
Reducing the stress of the experience is vital as horses stressed by transport are more susceptible to a variety of diseases, including gastric ulcers, pneumonia, colic, diarrhoea, and laminitis. Additionally, transport stress could alter energy metabolism, which can affect the horse’s ability to perform or compete soon after transportation. Many equines do not display obvious signs of stress but research projects have found by recording heart rates, hydration levels, hormone levels and body temperature that for many travelling is a genuinely stressful experience. Your horse may seem fine but don’t simply assume he is.
Luckily there are plenty of things which can be done to optimise the transport environment!
Plenty of Hay
One of the best ways to keep our equines happy and healthy on the road is to keep hay in front of them at all times. Whilst consuming hay, the action of chewing produces saliva which naturally buffers stomach acid and reduces irritation and the risk of gastric ulcers. A full belly of hay acts like a water reservoir and helps maintain good hydration levels, whilst also stimulating the equine's urge to drink. A constant flow of fibre through the hindgut also ensures the horse’s microbial population stays balanced reducing the risk of colic.
Protect your Horse from Dehydration
When travelling horses and ponies may sweat as a result of anxiety, excitement or simply being enclosed in a warm space. This can result in a big problem as when horses sweat, they lose precious fluids and electrolytes. Always ensure sufficient ventilation and make sensible rug choices for your travelling horse and in addition supplementing with electrolytes is highly recommended for horses on the go. Scientific Nutritional Products offers Electrolytes with MSM and Vitamins replacing vital minerals and salts lost through sweating. This balanced range of electrolytes with the useful addition of MSM and extra vitamins giving the horse or pony an extra boost by ensuring the right nutrients are available. The easy to use and palatable powder can simply be mixed in with feed, now considered highly preferable to dissolving electrolytes in drinking water which may reduce the horse's water intake!
Make Diet Changes Slowly
While travelling, it is important to change your horse’s diet and feeding schedule as little as possible. Try to stick to your feeding routines on show days and if you know you won’t be able to stick to your normal feeding schedule, where possible acclimate your horse prior to departure. For example if your horse is normally out on pasture all day, you will need to start slowly weaning him off grass and start adding hay to his diet allowing him to more easily adapt to changes on the event day. But remember...concentrate feed should be fed no less than one hour before travelling!
Some horses are simply more highly-strung than others. Sedating equines for travel is not a good idea as horses’ need all their senses to stabilize their shifting weight in transit, but providing calming aids with researched nutrients such as thiamine (vitamin B1), and chelated magnesium offers a great alternative. Feeding Magnesium Calmer Calmer Equine Plus from Scientific Nutritional Products can help to calm and relax the horse or pony through it's a dual mechanism. Calmer Equine Plus is an innovative supplement which includes both high grade chelated magnesium the 'anti-stress mineral' to help relax muscles and the nervous system plus pre and probiotics helping to soothe and ease the digestive system allowing your horse to perform at his best!
Finally, be sure that you remain calm, our equines are highly attuned to our emotions so remaining composed at all times will definitely have a positive affect!
For more information about the range of supplements available including Horse Electrolytes with MSM & Vitamins and Magnesium Calmer Calmer Equine Plus or to keep up-to-date with our educational blogs, visit their website www.horsesupplementsdirect.co.uk.