Electrolytes and Endurance Horses

Not all horses are alike in their needs for electrolyte replacement after strenuous exertion. Some deplete the

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Not all horses are alike in their needs for electrolyte replacement after strenuous exertion. Some deplete their body supplies more quickly or more extensively than others. Endurance horses generally have different needs for electrolyte replacement than do sprinters or cutting horses, and there also are individual differences among horses in any given sport in their need for electrolytes. Some can be helped immensely by judicious use of oral electrolyte supplementation to combat the effects of sweating and stress, while others rarely need it.

skin pinch test

The skin pinch test can be used to determine if a horse is dehydrated.

It makes a difference whether or not a horse eats and drinks before or during a competition (as in the case of a long endurance ride), for example whether he is a nervous or calm individual, and so on. A horse’s individual metabolism also plays a role. The endurance horse doing aerobic (with oxygen) exercise has different needs than a racehorse doing anaerobic (without oxygen) exercise, or short, fast work. The properly conditioned event horse works aerobically like an endurance horse rather than anaerobically like a racing Thoroughbred

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Written by:

Heather Smith Thomas ranches with her husband near Salmon, Idaho, raising cattle and a few horses. She has a B.A. in English and history from University of Puget Sound (1966). She has raised and trained horses for 50 years, and has been writing freelance articles and books nearly that long, publishing 20 books and more than 9,000 articles for horse and livestock publications. Some of her books include Understanding Equine Hoof Care, The Horse Conformation Handbook, Care and Management of Horses, Storey’s Guide to Raising Horses and Storey’s Guide to Training Horses. Besides having her own blog, www.heathersmiththomas.blogspot.com, she writes a biweekly blog at https://insidestorey.blogspot.com that comes out on Tuesdays.

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