There's nothing more annoying than a horse who seems sluggish all the time, particularly if you're looking to get him competition fit over the next few months. If your horse is lacking energy, what can you do about it?
Olivia Colton MSc, senior nutritionist at Feedmark, is a horse owner who enjoys hunting and spends the majority of her time with her horse.
"Just like us, some horses are naturally a bit more laid back than others, and this is generally a good thing as it means we can choose a horse to suit us as a rider," says Olivia.
"However, there are a few things to think about to ensure your horse has a bit more spring in his step."
1. Rule out the other stuff
You may want to consult your vet to rule out anything serious. A worm egg count may also be advisable.
2. Keep him trim
If your horse is carrying too much weight, it’s going to slow him down and have a detrimental effect on his overall health and energy.
If you can maintain your horse at an ideal bodyweight, then you're giving them the best chance to be energetic.
3. Get back to the grind
For your horse to perform at his best they need to be at optimum fitness for the task in hand. Try gradually increasing the length and intensity of your horse’s work and see if this helps improve his fitness level.
4. Mix up his workouts
Some horses may get a little unenthusiastic if you don’t vary their routine, because it's boring. Aim for a mix of hacking, schooling and maybe some polework and jumping to keep him interested.
5. Don't be tempted to overfeed
From a nutritional point of view, it is easy to see if your horse is receiving enough energy from his diet because, if he's not receiving sufficient energy, he will be losing weight.
Many people recommend feeding a high energy feed such as competition mix to horses that are a bit lazy, but adding these feeds to the diets of most over-weight horses will just make them fatter, rather than showing any extra sparkle.
6. Does he need electrolytes?
This is a common dietary cause of lethargy, especially if the weather has been warm. If your horse is lethargic, feed electrolytes daily for a few weeks and see if this perks him up a bit.
It is recommended to feed working horses electrolytes every day.
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