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Understanding performance supplements - A quick FAQ with one of our favourite supplement brands - Cavalor
Fien Demeyere, Cavalor nutritionist answers some of your frequently asked questions. . .
- How do I know which type of supplement my horses would benefit from?
The key is to understand your horse and any changes they show. What are their weaknesses or attributes – are they stiff, sensitive, or lacklustre? Also consider your vet’s recommendations and comments from judges when competing – are you or they noticing any repetitive mistakes that could be helped with a supplement? A full appreciation will then ensure you can pick the right supplement for your horse.
- Which type of supplements benefit dressage horses working at higher levels?
The joints and muscles of dressage horses that are in hard work daily will be under extra pressure, so it is important to provide these horses with everything they need to help them to perform to the best of their ability. Cavalor’s Muscle Fit, Free Bute, Arti Matrix or Arti Base supplements can ensure a horse stays supple or flexible during periods of increased exercise.
For older horses the key concerns tend to be around keeping joints flexible and helping to prevent any inflammation in those areas, so we usually recommend supplements that do not only contain glucosamine and chondroitin but also several herbs and ingredients to specifically support joints. Again, Cavalor Arti Base is often used as a support or Cavalor Arti Matrix in periods of work.
For horses which suffer from stress, we’d recommend supplements which contain magnesium and tryptophane (Cavalor Calm and Cavalor Take it Easy) or herbal supplements
- How quickly do supplements begin to work?
It would be difficult to put a timescale to a supplement working, as all horses will react differently and have different management plans. Talking to your Cavalor Nutritionist will help you decide the best supplement for your horse.
It also depends heavily on the supplement and its purpose. For example, a supplement might be designed to give an instant boost such as Cavalor’s Kick Up, which offers a range of nutrients, while if you are using a multi-herbal mixture containing glucosamine-chondroitin, such as Cavalor’s Arti Matrix, it might be a while before you see the results.
- How do I know if a supplement is benefiting my horse?
When putting your horse onto a supplement, you should have a good understanding of your horse and continually monitor any changes and improvements so that you will then be able to see how he responds. There are a few ways that you could help keep a log of this; you could take videos of your horse during work, for example, to monitor improvement on muscle changes or joint swelling. Or, if you are putting a horse onto a calmer, keep a diary so that you can look back and evaluate how things are going.
Sometimes owners expect supplements to have an immediate, almost overnight, impact – make sure you read the label to gain information on how long to use the product to gain the best results. It is very important to follow the recommended dosage; many Cavalor supplements work in treatments of a couple of weeks where one pack equates to one treatment. Without the full, recommended dosage and course of treatment, it’s impossible to see the full effect.
- Should all horses be fed electrolytes when competing in hot weather?
Feeding electrolytes correctly is vital. When a horse sweats it loses electrolytes. It can take up to two to three days for these to be replenished, so an electrolyte balance can be administered to ensure quicker recuperation. Of course, if the horse doesn’t sweat then there is no need to feed electrolytes as they can’t be stored in the horse’s body. Electrolytes should be fed directly after sweating and just before competition, to make sure a lack of electrolytes affect the horse during action.