Contact information:

Discipline: LD/Endurance, CMO, Trail Rider, Cartoonist, Writer, Co-Director/ Green Bean Endurance
Email: jackereynolds@yahoo.com


January 5, 2011

Endurance Blurbs




From TheHorse.com
Body Scores:
"Two recent studies investigated the relationship between body condition score and completion rate during the Tevis Cup (100-mile) endurance ride. The standard body condition scale of 1 to 9 was used, where a score of 1 is applied to very thin horses and 9 to extremely fat horses (see Garlinghouse and Burrill 1999). The mean body condition score of horses which successfully completed the ride was 4.5, whereas horses which were eliminated for metabolic failure (colic, heat exhaustion, synchronous diaphragmatic flutter/thumps, or tying-up) had a mean condition score of 2.9. Horses which were eliminated for non-metabolic reasons such as lameness and going over time had a mean condition score of 4.3. (For more information on body condition scores, see "Weighing In" in the October 2000 issue of The Horse, online at

http://www.thehorse.com/ViewArticle.aspx?ID=111.)

The researchers were careful to point out their results might not apply to endurance competition as a whole given the difficult nature of the Tevis Cup. Nonetheless, the take-home message from these studies is that there is an optimal level of "fatness" for horses competing in endurance events, and that training and feeding programs need to be adjusted accordingly. Thin horses (with a condition score of less than 3) might be at a disadvantage because of low energy reserves, while over-conditioned horses could experience detrimental effects due to the insulating effect and weight of a thicker fat cover. You should aim for a body condition score between 4 and 5. "  To read the full article go to:

http://www.thehorse.com/ViewArticle.aspx?ID=2826


An Endurance Blog  from the down under to check out:

http://southerncrosseendurance.blogspot.com/p/training-endurance-horse.html


Feeding for Endurance:

http://www.horsejunction.co.za/sahorseman/images/acrobat/feb2007/feeding%20for%20endurance.pdf


Supplementing the Endurance Horse:

http://www.endurance.pl/archiwum/artykuly/suplements.pdf

6 comments:

  1. My horse is a 5 and I work hard to keep him there. He's not an easy keeper like a lot of the Arabs and quarter horses I see at rides so I have to try extra hard to compensate for the calories he burns. I spoke to a ride vet two years ago about the BC of competing horses. She informed me that she's rather dismayed with how skinny a lot of endurance horses are. There seems to be no excuse for a horse being thin. Slightly ribby (4.5) is one thing, but anything below that seems unacceptable. The way the vet explained it, a horse's metabolism adjusts as he gets fitter, so if your horse is dropping weight, you are probably over-conditioning and need to slow it down. From a personal perspective, I've done a lot of rehab and used to work with racehorses, and it's just not that hard to put weight on a horse. Now that the argument for thinner horses doing better is out the window, I think there should be a rule of some kind. A horse with a BC of 3 or lower is NOT doing well. I'd love to see an incentive for fatter competition horses.

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  2. I agree. I've seen some mournfully thin horses at rides. Phebes is not an easy keeper, and if she starts dropping I have to quit riding and give her more recovery time. At rides she dumps fluids and burns the fat. I am shocked that horses competing at the top levels can be seen with protruding hip bones, and less than optimal toplines as they've burned off all the fat. Then on the other hand I've read that these horses (100 mile horses, fast 50 mile) burn energy differently than our LD horses. That they need that lean physique like a distance runner will be thin and lanky. While your shorter distance runnners will not be. I don't know what to think of it except I don't personally want my horse to look that thin. I prefer a chunky monkey. ~E.G.

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  3. In the mountainous/swampy Pacific NW, we find that our most successful horses have a distinctly *round and muscle-y* physique. The exertion of hoofing up-and-down our hills and slopping through mud require a bit more of the bulky-looking muscles than you see on the stringy-muscled flat-racing 100-milers in the UAE. Those horses are using essentially the same muscle set all day long, whereas our horses must maneuver through continually changing terrain. The result is that our fit horses look very different than flatland horses, even though they may have the same fat/muscle ratio; the muscles are shaped differently.

    We have a vet at one of our rides who normally vets flat-track TB races. He is famous for saying that our hill horses are too fat for the task (he's said this for years, slow learner?) because they are obviously too round. Well, they are certainly too round to sprint around a 1.25-mile track with a bunch of dainty TBs. But for a mountainous 50-miler, you've GOT to have fuel in the tank at the start line, because there's no way to eat enough on ride day to get the horse to the finish line.

    That said, I've learned that Fiddle is a "hard keeper" and requires 2 or 3 times as much food at home and at rides to keep her going, compared to any of the Arabs I've ridden. It's like the difference between driving the big Dodge 3/4 ton and my little Ford Ranger: the huge engine demands a lot of fuel!

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  4. In the mountainous/swampy Pacific NW, we find that our most successful horses have a distinctly *round and muscle-y* physique. The exertion of hoofing up-and-down our hills and slopping through mud require a bit more of the bulky-looking muscles than you see on the stringy-muscled flat-racing 100-milers in the UAE. Those horses are using essentially the same muscle set all day long, whereas our horses must maneuver through continually changing terrain. The result is that our fit horses look very different than flatland horses, even though they may have the same fat/muscle ratio; the muscles are shaped differently.

    We have a vet at one of our rides who normally vets flat-track TB races. He is famous for saying that our hill horses are too fat for the task (he's said this for years, slow learner?) because they are obviously too round. Well, they are certainly too round to sprint around a 1.25-mile track with a bunch of dainty TBs. But for a mountainous 50-miler, you've GOT to have fuel in the tank at the start line, because there's no way to eat enough on ride day to get the horse to the finish line.

    That said, I've learned that Fiddle is a "hard keeper" and requires 2 or 3 times as much food at home and at rides to keep her going, compared to any of the Arabs I've ridden. It's like the difference between driving the big Dodge 3/4 ton and my little Ford Ranger: the huge engine demands a lot of fuel!

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  5. Interesting, the animal control officer who was here a while back said that most endurance horses are 3. That sounded pretty thin to me but then I don't ride endurance. I do, however, raise young horses and I find that we're less likely to have growth issues if those horses are a little on the light side. Sounds like that measure is appropriate for endurance as well.

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  6. Seems reasonable that you wouldn't want horses going through rapid growth cycles to be heavy. Since our horses are four or five before they can be pointed to endurance thankfully that spurt is about done. Phebes did grow some between her year 5 and 6, maybe an inch. People always say she's chubby, but she looks "healthy" to me, and I keep a cushion for when we start training so that I don't start out with an already thin horse. Most of the LD horse I see are at good weight. It is when you jump up to the much longer distances that they start to look lean, very lean. Probably that alone would be enough to inhibit me to longer distances!

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