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Scientific Training

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Shammy Davis View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Shammy Davis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Jan 2013 at 11:20am
Originally posted by Gay3 Gay3 wrote:

 

Originally posted by djebel djebel wrote:

Can I gather from that article there is no point in breeding a stayer unless you are training it to stay and doing it from a young age ?

Bills' reply:   Breeding/genetics merely set the blueprint for stamina, speed, etc. In the case of stamina, to keep things simple, let's focus on the density of mitochondria in the muscles and the amount of capillaries between blood vessels. Breeding will dictate the numbers of each, but targeted aerobic conditioning increases both. You may very well breed a superior stayer who doesn't improve maximally through conditioning, but odds are you will not (97% of the time). After the mating is planned, genetics is done. Conditioning to improve mitochondrial and capillary density is the only facet you can control, so why not maximize it? Of course, stamina is multi-factorial, and things like the size of the trachea are genetically determined and un-changed by conditioning. Conversely, you may condition it perfectly, but if the genetics aren't there - you will also get submaximal results. So convoluted, but my main point is that conditioning is the only factor subject to human control, genetics is simply a roll of the dice. Why spend countless hours worrying about a 'coin flip' and next to no time structuring workouts to influence stamina?


 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Shammy Davis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Jan 2013 at 11:27am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Gay3 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Mar 2013 at 2:08pm
From Justracing Smile  These horses certainly do some serious work Thumbs Up

WHEELER HAS SIGHTS SET ON OAKBANK

By Tony Bird
14/03/2013
Taranaki Daily News
John Wheeler, left, is looking forward to his 21st trip to Oakbank this Easter.

Easter will be an anniversary of sorts for New Plymouth-based trainer John Wheeler.

For the 21st year in a row, he will pack his kit and caboodle and head for Oakbank, a tiny town of 500 about 30 kilometres from the heart of Adelaide.

But it's not for a holiday. Oakbank is home to a famous two-day jumping carnival and for the past two decades the Wheeler name has been regularly etched on the main trophies.

In 1992 his first trip there proved memorable for all the wrong reasons.

The horse he took on that maiden trip, Straight and True, broke a leg in a training run two days before the opening day of the carnival.

Undeterred, Wheeler vowed he would return the following year and win the race.

Straight and True had surgery and the broken cannon bone had screws inserted before he was sent to the spelling paddock for six months.

Rather than return Straight and True to New Zealand to convalesce, Wheeler organised to leave the horse with South Australian hobby trainer John Glatz, who was then and still is, general manager of the Oakbank Racing Club.

"John trained a small team and I asked him if he would spell the horse and prepare him for the meeting the following year," Wheeler said.

Glatz took a share when a couple of the original owners decided not to persevere and that punt soon paid big dividends.

"The following year Straight and True won the Grand Annual Steeplechase at Warrnambool and several other more minor steeplechase races," Wheeler said. "I think he ended up winning a quarter of a million dollars."

A month earlier, Wheeler had opened his Great Eastern winning account with Touch Judge winning in the hands of New Plymouth jumps jockey and now established trainer Bryce Revell.

His fascination with the meeting, dubbed by organisers as "the biggest picnic meeting on Earth" grew like topsy.

The Great Eastern was first run in 1876 and every Easter weekend since, bar three times when the war interrupted racing.

"I wouldn't miss it for the world. It's a great jumping carnival and they get a crowd of 70,000 on track on Easter Monday and about 40,000 on the Saturday – that's second only in Australia to the crowds they get to Flemington on Melbourne Cup day," said Wheeler as he finalised his arrangements for this Easter.

Touch Judge's win started a five-year run of total Wheeler dominance.

Tyrolia (1994), Light Hand (1995, 1996) and Foxboy (1997) all won with former Taranaki jockey Brett Scott on board.

After Foxboy, Wheeler endured a four-year stint of minor placings until his champion jumper St Steven surfaced in 2001. He won and went on to clinch the first of two Nakayama Steeples in Japan – the world's richest jumping race.

Real Tonic in 2006 was next to carry the familiar claret, gold diamonds and blue and gold hoops colours across the line first at Oakbank with Petushki (2011) and Tobouggie Nights last year extending a fantastic record.

So what is Wheeler's recipe? He has to condition his horses to cope with a 4950-metre undulating trip that includes 20 or so jumps highlighted by two leaps over a metre-high fallen log.

"After taking Touch Judge to Oakbank, it occurred to me that aerobic work was vital for success in races of that type where stamina is the main prerequisite," said Wheeler.

"So when I got back home I asked a mate of mine, John Hamilton, who loves endurance riding, if he wanted to work a few up for me. It started from there."

The magic happens on a back country hill farm block on the outskirts of Tarata in eastern Taranaki where endurance is built for Oakbank and the second event he targets, the Warrnambool Grand Annual three-day carnival in May.

Wheeler used to monitor recovery time using a stethoscope.

"But I don't now," he said.

"I find that the heart recovery rate is better being observed rather than counting the beats of the heart.

"We check their recovery after strenuous exercise after five minutes of rest.

"If they are up to the mark, they should be fully recovered after 10 minutes."

Wheeler generally starts work on his jumping in mid-spring.

"I normally start them off on the walker for a couple of weeks just to make sure all the things like their hooves and everything else is in order after they've been out spelling.

"Then we do general conditioning work, trotting on the roads and on the hills, nothing too strenuous until they've done six weeks.

"We do a 10-kilometre trek with them and we might do three of those depending on how they cope. The ones that do, go on to do 18km rides which take close to two hours."

That might not sound particularly tough, but it is when you factor in the terrain.

"The longest track we use on the farm takes 10 minutes to trot to the top but by the time they get to the top, they've had a massive blow. We walk them for 10 minutes and once they've recovered we go again on another biggish hill."

When you're at the top of the farm, the sheep grazing on the bottom paddocks are just specks.

"You're more likely to get cell phone coverage to Mars than home from up there," said Wheeler.

"We've also got access to other areas like the roads or the neighbour's property."

Wheeler is pleased with the progress of this year's Oakbank and Warrnambool teams. To bring them closer to racing fitness, a truckload was sent on a six-hour return float trip south to the Castlepoint Beach races.

"Most of them had two races each and I'm rapt with how they've come through.

"The tracks are rock hard at this time of year so by taking them down there they get a good trip away and a decent gallop.

"The only one that has fallen by the wayside is Seeking the Silver. He developed some filling in a leg so we've elected to wait until next year with him.

"He's a top jumper and worth giving another preparation."

The six remaining horses that have received the tick to make the trip to Oakbank are last year's Von Doussa Steeples-Great Eastern winner Tobouggie Nights, Banna Strand and Petushki.

"Those three will run in the Von Doussa and the Great Eastern, although Petushki is not as advanced as the other two."

Hurdlers making the trip will be Yamanaura, Mr Composed and The Democrat.

Wheeler has booked leading New Zealand jumps riders Richard Eynon and Jonathon Riddell to ride the bulk of his team at Oakbank.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Shammy Davis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Mar 2013 at 3:07am
Here's an interesting take on training and racing for stamina.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Shammy Davis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 May 2013 at 4:07am
Came across this too.
 

Genetics and Pedigree Go Head to Head

 

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TheHorse.com will have additional in-depth coverage of the Thoroughbred Genetics, Pedigree, and Performance Conference in the coming weeks. Check back soon for additional information.

If there was a take-home message from the first day of the Thoroughbred Genetics, Pedigree, and Performance Conference Sept. 7, it was: Genetics currently is one of many tools to use for breeding horses, and given advances in science, it could be much more accepted in the future--but nothing is perfect.

The two-day Lexington, Ky., conference, co-sponsored by Pedigree Consultants and Blood-Horse Publications, brought together advances in science and the tradition of pedigree research. While the two sometimes clash, attendees found the two may have more in common than is believed.

Bill Oppenheim, an analyst, journalist, and consultant, said there is far more chaos than order in the Thoroughbred breeding industry, and that probably won't change. He said breeders can attempt to identify success, but there is no way to know when lightning will strike--or the sky will fall.

"Do we even know what to measure?" Oppenheim said. "There is no magic formula, and there isn't likely to be one. Then what? Pedigree is a map of opportunity, not a statement of fact.

"We can use all the tools but we must try to make (people) understand there are limitations to what they are doing, and making that concession should be liberating. There is something inside (all horses) that we can't see."

There is some reluctance in the industry to accept use of genetics, though. Thoroughbred breeders are quietly signing on with various groups that perform tests to determine probability in breeding. The field is growing along with advances in technology.

Skepticism is tied in part to the fact using genetics to determine performance is a money-making venture. However, conference speakers made the case for their research while admitting it is quite early in the process.

A Complex, Subtle Business

Matthew Binns, PhD, of the Genetic Edge said there has been only a "slight change" in Thoroughbred inbreeding from 1961-2006, and that claims by some that horses are being "bred to death"--he mentioned Barbaro and Eight Belles--are hogwash. He said inbreeding is having only a small affect.

Binns, in using white leg markings as an example, said heritability is two-thirds genetic and one-third environmental. Thus, there can be predictability but no absolutes.

"Genes are a contributor but there are other factors going on," he said.

Citing published research, Binns said that in the past 40 years, 50% of Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winners actually had a sprinter profile. To that, he said: "Every aspect of this business is more complex and subtle than we believe."

Emmeline Hill, PhD, of the Animal Genomics Laboratory at University College Dublin, Ireland, Equinome Ltd. said that in the Thoroughbred there are four genes linked to racing phenotypes, but in humans there are 200 tied to physical activity. The company's research has determined there are three gene types associated with distance: sprinters, middle distance runners, and classic horses that race at 10 furlongs or more.

A test is being used to select horses, train and manage them, and optimize breeding outcomes. Hill said the research looked at body composition but found that visual observation--something commonly used to select racehorses--is "not an accurate indicator of gene type. Once horses begin training, their physical differences become more apparent."

Hill said it's common for buyers to pay as much for what she called a Class 1 horse as they do for a Class 4 horse. "This is a bit of a fright, really," she said. "Buyers are paying too much for poor quality horses."

Steve Tammariello, PhD, of the newly launched Performance Genetics said the company's goal is to use 10 genetic variants associated with speed instead of three. Peak Beyer Speed Figures are currently being used to determine "elite" horses--those that have a speed figure of 108 or higher and have won grade I stakes--for testing.

Tammariello, however, said it goes beyond genetics; the company also employs statistical and cardio studies to rate horses.

"It's not just about the physical sequence but about control of genetic expression," Tammariello said. "This is the tip of the iceberg for all us, but we do think we're on to something with this genetic model."

In response to questions the speakers said they couldn't reveal the names of clients because of confidentiality agreements.

A Call for Stamina

Sid Fernando, who operates Werk Thoroughbred Consultants, called the discussion of genetics "extraordinarily interesting." But he said the focus should be on finding ways to return stamina to the American Thoroughbred.

Fernando noted there are now 20 grade I stakes at six and seven furlongs, something unheard of in 1970, when there was still a grade I two-mile stakes. He said stamina is waning in North America, so much so that 1 1/8-mile races are becoming the standard for "distance."

"We're headed in the wrong direction," Fernando said. "Who is minding the store? Is it any wonder why our horse has become isolated internationally? We're breeding good-class horses, but we need to put stamina in our program all the time.

"The Triple Crown is now more of an afterthought for breeders. If we're interested in preserving the American racehorse we must take the message and fix what ails our business. We have the (bloodlines) to do it, but we don't have the opportunity to show it."

Binns and Hill suggested that the pattern of racing in each country can influence gene type; therefore, the emphasis on speed and quick financial return from young horses could be a factor in the American breed.

Binn went a step further, saying bluntly the industry doesn't "cull failure" like it should. He said such practices would be "shocking" in the breeding of other species.

Oppenheim said genetics and related research will have a major impact on Thoroughbred breeding, but even when they do, there will be things that won't change--no matter how hard people try and no matter the horse population.

"There will always be a bottom," Oppenheim said. "Once a horse is identified as a bad sire, nobody breeds to it."

 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Gay3 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Feb 2014 at 7:39pm


http://thoroedge.wordpress.com/author/pressey/


Norwegian Trainer Winning in Dubai with HR/GPS

Posted by bpressey



#11 in the red cap is the one to watch: outfinishing a sea of Godolphin horses down the stretch – name is Avon Pearl.

Several years ago I documented the work of trainer Rune Haugen, and in light of his triumph at Meydan I am going to cut/paste his story again:

from ‘Rune Rules in Norway’, courtesy of Polar Equine:

A former jockey, Rune Haugen has been an extremely successful thoroughbred-trainer the recent years. Champion trainer at the Norwegian racetrack Øvrevoll three years in a row, Derby-victory, several wins in gr-3 races in Scandinavia and numerous other high-class races makes him one of the top trainers in Scandinavia. The secret behind his success? Controlling and evaluating every part of his horse’s training routines. Haugens most important training remedy is Polar’s GPS heart rate monitor.

Total turn-around

- At “Stall Nor” one top-bred horse after the other broke down and never even made it to the races. The owners were obviously frustrated, and contacted Sæterdal. He transferred human training principles to the horses at “Stall Nor”. He controlled the horses training doses by using heart rate monitors. Within months, the negative trend had turned. The injury-rate fell drastically and the horses started to win races, says Haugen, not mentioning his own important role in the turning process. He was hired as the new trainer at the stable, thus responsible for putting Sæterdals training principles into practice.

Heart rate monitors, lactate- and muscle enzyme-tests are the aids I use to control my horses work-out routines, Rune Haugen explains.

- A heart rate monitor measures the beating of the heart. I use the information from the monitor to determine how a horse responds to training. I combine this with blood tests. If a horse works out at a certain pulse level, I can measure the lactate level in the blood afterwards. The link between lactate level and heart rate gives me essential information about a horse’s capacity, training development and possible sickness, he says eagerly.

- Why is the heart rate monitor so essential in your training routine?

- Because by using the HR monitor I know the exact status of my horses’ physical shape at any given time. The race season for thoroughbred horses is short. This means it is extremely important to have the horses in top shape in just the right time.

Once he has started talking about the advantages of pulse-based training, he can’t seem to run out of arguments:

- Measuring the horses’ heart rate daily makes it easy to detect when a horse deviates from its normal level. This is often an indication of the horse being ill. When a horse’s heart rate at rest rises from its normal, it is an indication of illness. If the heart rate doesn’t go down as quickly as it normally does after a training pass, it is also a warning signal. It is obviously very important to avoid training the horses hard if they are ill or out of shape. A top athlete, whether it’s a horse or a human, can have their careers ruined by excessive training during illness, Haugen says.
Training consultant for the Olympic team

- I also have to point out the importance of being able to reproduce a certain training routine. I’ve succeeded with several racehorses in the past years. But what if I had these successful horses, but subsequently didn’t have a clue how hard I actually trained them? How would I be able to learn from what I’d done? , Haugen asks rhetorically.

- Pulse-based training and specific blood tests give me information I can learn from. This way I don’t stagnate, but keep developing as a trainer. I think that’s why our stable is at the top year after year, the trainer champion analyzes.
- I believe that all horse athletes can be successful following the training principles I use on my thoroughbred horses, if they have the necessary potential, of course. Sooner or later I hope to find time to try it out on standardbred trotters as well, he says vaguely, for the first time during this interview keeping the cards to his chest.
He certainly has the opportunity to try out his theories on top athletes in the show jumping business soon enough. The Norwegian show jumping team has qualified for the Olympics in Beijing, and Haugen is hired to evaluate and keeping control of the horses’ physical shape towards the big event.
- A huge vote of confidence, Haugen comments, then bursting out:
- A lot of show jumpers and dressage horses, even those competing in high classes, are in poor physical condition. They are trained very specifically at the routines they are supposed to perform at, but lack the most important: endurance and fitness. This makes them vulnerable for injuries such as pulled tendons. Some endurance training in combination with the specific training would lower the risk of injuries significantly for these horses, Haugen claims.
 
- Does it take a lot of your time collecting the data’s from the training and analyzing it?
-Yes, it does. This is because my whole training system is based on this. Now that GPS is a part of Polars heart rate monitor- system, it is possible to evaluate every step a horse takes during a training pass. As this training control system is something I believe in, I don’t mind using time exploring the possibilities the system gives me. As a matter of fact, the potential that goes along with the GPS HR- monitor makes it almost addicting to work with, Haugen laughs.
- At the same time, I have to say one don’t have to spend all the time that I do to improve a horse. Being in control of your horse’s training and health is the bottom line here. Is it hard to learn how to use a heart rate monitor on horses?
Definitely not. Several years ago, the equipment was a bit troublesome to use, especially because of the wire, but today’s equipment is wireless and can be put on the horse within seconds, and it’s very accurate. My employees find the heart rate monitor very easy to use in the daily training, Haugen says.
Decides heartrate zones before workouts - How would it be, do you think, to go back to training horses without using the heart rate monitor-system?- The training jockeys at the stable are taught to make the horses stay at a specific pulse during a workout. I decide the pulse level for each horse in advance, and it’s very important that my employees follow my directions as precise as possible. To inspire them to do so, I have introduced “Watch of the Month”, meaning the jockey that has stayed closest to the right heart rate during a month is rewarded, Rune Haugen explains. This man certainly seems to be in control of every detail of his horses` routines.
- Impossible! Haugen says without hesitation.
- Simply because being in control of my horses` training gives me the inspiration and joy I need to put a full effort into my work. Another aspect by using a heart rate monitor is that it gives me an indication on which horses to train together. If I have a two-year-old with a very high capacity, this horse won’t develop optimally if trained among other horses at the same age with lower capacity. This horse can be trained with the tree-year-old horses, but if so, it is extremely important to monitor the training so the horse isn’t trained too hard for his age and ability. Training harder than a horse is ready for, means asking for injuries to pop up, Haugen says while almost pushing his teacup off the table by his eager gesticulation.

No tendon injuries

 - Speaking of injuries, training- induced injuries are a common problem among sport horses. Often the injuries are career-ruining. What’s your experience on this?

-As mentioned, the owners of this training camp used to have a lot of injuries on their horses. After the introduction of monitored training, no horse has pulled a tendon. Optimal doses of training makes sure the horse’s body isn’t overstrained, but at the same time the horses have to train hard enough to be fit for the tough races they are competing in. I know I am repeating myself, but “controlled training” is the key word even here.

- You make it sound so easy. But a heart rate monitor itself can hardly make you a top trainer?

- Of course “feeling” and horse experience means a lot too. But honestly, I don’t see why using training aids like HR monitors makes any horse trainer less of a horseman. A combination of experience and new technology seems like a good combination to me, Haugen says and smiles.
- What are your goals for the future, Rune Haugen?
- I’ve made it to the very top in Scandinavia. I’ve raced horses internationally too, with good results. My specific goal is to win a prestigious international race in France or England. With my top training system, top training camp and with owners that buy top young horses, I don’t see why I wouldn’t achieve my goal within a few years.
EDIT: How about Dubai  in 2014 Rune?
avonpearl
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Shammy Davis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Feb 2014 at 3:30am
Nice article.  Who'd have guessed that a trainer from Norway was making it in Dubai.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Gay3 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Mar 2014 at 4:19pm

Dear Grayson-Jockey Club: It’s the Horse, not the Track

by bpressey


The Grayson-Jockey Club recently doled out $1 million for 19 research projects in 2014. One is entitled:

OPTIMIZATION OF RACETRACK SURFACE PROPERTIES
Susan Stover, University of California-Davis -First Year (2 Year Grant) 

Here are a few statements from the study summary and my ‘expert’ commentary.

“Evidence indicates that race surfaces affect the likelihood for injuries in racehorses.”

Sure, I’ll buy that. The latest breakdown stats per 1,000 starters are something like 2.1 on dirt, 1.75 on turf, and 1.5 on synthetics. That is likely statistically significant, but it’s not as simple as the first glance would indicate. Dirt races are run differently than the other 2 surfaces with respect to opening fractions. It seems reasonable that a horse on dirt going through a 22sec first quarter and rubber-legging it home in 25+sec is at increased risk for disaster, roughly 30% more at risk as it turns out.

Keep in mind that I’ve seen turf breakdown data from Australia, home of the world’s best turf sprinters, that comes in at 0.6 breakdowns per 1,000 starts. Hmm. I think that is a far more useful topic needing research dollars: Do US horses on turf breakdown more often than any other racing jurisdiction in the world?

More here:
http://thoroedge.wordpress.com/2011/06/06/its-not-the-surface-stupid-us-turf-runners-300-more-likely-to-breakdown

But I digress, back to the proposed study once again:

“We hypothesize that fetlock hyperextension, and thus related injuries, can be prevented by developing race surfaces that change the way the limb interacts with the surface. Our objective is to determine the characteristics that a race surface should have to prevent fetlock injuries.”

Ok, you lost me. For every 1,000 starters in the US on dirt, 998 of them survive, yet the ‘problem’ is the track? We add more-forgiving synthetics to the mix, along with their slower turf-like opening fractions, and the number or survivors jumps to just 998.5?

I pause to remember Afleet Alex and his infamous stumble coming out of the final turn in the 2005 Preakness:

In real time you can jump to 1:49 in the clip and see Alex clip heels coming out of the final turn. Slow motion replays after the race commence at time 3:14 for those interested. Not only did Alex regain his balance and win this race, but he continued on to win the Belmont Stakes 3 weeks later with the fastest closing quarter mile in 40 years!

Alex was so well-conditioned by Tim Ritchey that he had enough neuromuscular endurance to not only refrain from getting injured, but to get back on the correct lead and storm home. Many readers will recall that Alex experienced his own unique form of interval training: often galloping a few miles in the early a.m, coming back to walk the shedrow, then going back to the track a few hours later to breeze. Surely, just a coincidence.

Watching that replay and the stumble leaving the final turn of a race, is where bad things can, and do, often happen. A while back Aqueduct raceway in NY had a rash of breakdowns (twice as many as normal) that were summarized by location on this handy diagram:

AQU PIC

The analysis went on to state: “When the location of each injury were superimposed on a diagram of the inner track, the distribution is consistent with that seen at other North American racetracks and does not indicate any anomaly of the inner track.”

So, it can be said this pattern of breakdowns is prevalent throughout the US. Boy, that’s a lot of injuries in the final 3F of a race. 15/21 to be exact, with 8 in the final quarter alone. Just when most horses are exhausted. Does anyone mean to tell me the condition of the track is different here? No, the level of exhaustion in the horse is what’s different here. Accidents and ‘bad steps’ certainly happen – but only make up less than half of the incidents, in my opinion.

Know what is buried in this 200+ page summary of the Aqueduct breakdowns? ZERO horses broke down in training on this inner track during the 3.5 month time frame.

$%&* ZERO!

Again, the track is the damn same for everyone, and while several hundred trainees never breezing more than 4-5F are just fine ‘skeletally speaking’, 21 are killed going further on raceday for your gambling enjoyment. Perhaps one should investigate why so many more horses suffer catastrophic injuries in the final furlongs of a race, if the true culprit is the racing surface itself?

A main catalyst for the formation of the Equine Welfare and Safety Committee? The untimely death of Eight Belles after her courageous effort in the 2008 Kentucky Derby. Where did it happen? During the 11th furlong of a 10 furlong race – steps after she ran the fastest/furthest of her young life. Not a ‘bad step’, not a track malfunction – intense physiological fatigue and the accompanying loss of neuromuscular coordination. R.I.P. brave filly, but how is ‘certifying’ a gate crew going to prevent this from happening again?

So my point is? Physiologically exhausted horses break down, regardless of the race surface. It happens in endurance, and it happens in the cross country portion of eventing. That is the common denominator, not the racetrack surface.

Here’s a great quote noted by the immortal Steve Haskin from Bloodhorse:

The day before the 130th Preakness Stakes (gr. I), jockey Jeremy Rose said of Afleet Alex, "This horse will run over broken glass if I ask him to." Damn right.

So what to do? Merely watching a horse jog is pointless, that only catches the obvious cripples. Pre-race veterinary checks will never catch a horse who’s wheels are set to fall off after 6F in 1:12, with 4F left to run, using the Kentucky Derby as an example. But my method will:

PRE-KENTUCKY DERBY PHYSIOLOGICAL TESTING FOR ALL ENTRANTS

There exists a precedent for using a heart rate monitor in conjunction with equine racing. Many endurance races of 30 miles and over require the checking of an exercising horse’s heart rate during several checkpoints throughout the course. Should the heart rate fall outside of the normal ranges, the horse is disqualified from the competition and immediately examined by trained personnel.

Through the use of a heart rate monitor/GPS unit, one can outfit a horse in under 30 seconds with the equipment required to measure and record equine heart rate, speed, and distance during any gallop, breeze, or race.

The resulting info serves much as an exercise stress test does in a human, observing and quantifying the horse’s heart rate response before, during, and after an exercise bout will indicate the presence of abnormalities. The equine heart is the best vital sign of lameness, illness, or injury – often weeks before any visual cues are apparent to the trainer.

For the Kentucky Derby length of 10 furlongs, I would recommend the following:

-Test to encompass 12s/furlong pace at 60-70% of race distance for these elite horses
-1.25 mile race requires 6 furlongs breeze in 1min12sec
-Taken and passed, no less than 3 days before race, no more than 10 – ideal would be 7 days out.
-Recovery heart rate must fall to 120bpm within 2 minutes, and 80bpm within 10 minutes of peak work speed. (2min period reflective of horse being cooled down properly and possessing structural soundness, 10min period reflects fitness level/conditioning of horse).

In my opinion we must strive to prove that a horse is conditioned appropriately for a 6 furlong effort the week before being asked to race 10 furlongs. I would prefer a mile ‘test’, but no way modern day trainers will go for that, even though the old-timers sure would. Horses that have undiagnosed problems with bone remodeling, tendon or ligament stability, or systemic illness or infection will not pass such a test, but they will pass a simple vet-administered jog, or even gallop, ‘test’ with flying colors. They may also ‘pass’ a radiograph examination. It’s not so much what is wrong with a horse at rest, but what is wrong at the 3F pole heading for home. The only way to assess that is by on-board physiological monitoring. Think of a HR monitor as a stopwatch: only instead of measuring work done, it measures the metabolic cost of that work. It measures heat generated by blood pumping from the heart, in effect. Too much heat after 6F in 1:12 is a cause for alarm with 4F still to run.

-taken from letter sent to appropriate Jockey Club authorities in March 2008 by yours truly.

It’ll never happen. My solution entails veterinary, trainer, and owner cooperation – some of which have something to hide. It’s much easier for the Jockey Club to send money to a desk jockey who will merely analyze race statistics in front of a computer, than to change the behavior of the stake-holders, even for the betterment of the horse. I respectfully suggest the Jockey Club needs to spend this money, and wield their influence, in the real-life laboratory found on the backstretch and on the racetrack.

What if we monitored HR/GPS/blood lactate in hundreds of breezing horses at Aqueduct?

What if 10 of those horses broke down in a 3 month period? (about average)

What if those 10 displayed a statistically significant variation in their gallop lactate values, or their post breeze HR recoveries?

Wouldn’t that be more valuable than yet another study on track surfaces aiming to improve survival rates per 1,000 starters from 998 to 998.5?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Shammy Davis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Mar 2014 at 2:24am
Pressey makes some excellent points in the above linked artile but may I digress.  The GJC (imho) is spending its money wisely when it looks at racetrack surfaces.  Pressey uses the Afleet Alex stumble as an example.  That stumble occurred at Pimlico during the running of the Preakness Stakes.  Pimlico's dirt tract is known as one of the better dirt tracks along the Atlantic Coast.  Pimilico meets produce a great number of graded races and this particular race is part of the Triple Crown and the quality of the horses running at Pimilico and its sister MD track is above average.

Although there is much written about the CA tracks reverting from all weather back to dirt, it's purely an economic move to keep from having to re-establish the road base and drainage to support the better quality all weather tracks.  There are a number of stateside tracks who have installed the all weather tracks correctly and are getting reduced injury results.  Medan is another example of quality racing on the all weather track.

I think it is fair to say though, that the vast majority of tracks in the USA are low end claiming (your selling, but you don't have much of that) races with low purses and that is where the vast majority of injuries occur.  Further, quality horses like Afleet Alex are for the most part cared for by quality upscale connections.  Alas, there is where Pressey goes astray.

I believe in Pressey's ideas, but he needs to start convincing the low end "claiming" trainers in the states that his (and similar programs) will make a profit at the end of the day.

As aside, I read once that OZ meets don't support "selling" races because your owners are too sympathetic and attached to your racehorses to take a chance on losing them.  If that is the case when addressing scientific training in the states as compared to OZ we're talking apples and oranges and Pressey may be too.  The majority of the races (I'm guessing, but 85% or more) run across the states and Canada are claiming (selling) races and owners and trainers involved at this level are seeking to turn over their horses quickly if they don't improve.  They've got to be given good reason (by Pressey and others) that a greater portion of their claiming stable will improve than do so currently.  No one seems to be getting that point across and I'm not sure Pressey and others can support the idea that low level claiming racehorses will improve in greater numbers if an investment in scientific training is applied.

Just my two bob . . .  cheers.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Fiddlesticks Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Mar 2014 at 10:18am
Great thread, I wonder if Gai reads it...lol

I wonder if a lot of injuries can be attributed to poor work riders techniques and styles, and even raceday jockey styles, imagine you had a backpack on your back that was lop sided inside due to something being placed in it poorly it would feel uncomfortable as you walked, & just awful when you ran, then a backpack that is nicely packed and strapped down neatly, one you could run flat out with and barely feel it move...

some work riders are just plain awful, some jockeys are just plain awful, add pressure and whip and you get horses trying to run faster with their load shifting wildly everywhere, you can see how pulling muscles would come easily...


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Gay3 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Mar 2014 at 10:25am
So very true Fiddles, which is why the Irish are being welcomed with open arms, those who say they can ride, actually can. Inability to pick the slightest soreness & pushing when close to exhausted, are the 2 biggest contributors to breakdowns that I know of. There's a very fine line between tiring to increase fitness & exhaustion.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Fiddlesticks Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Mar 2014 at 11:11am
A horse would very different muscles to control something on top it's back when running compared to running with nothing on it's back..

think running a hundred yards on the sand barefoot with no shoes, shirt n shorts on
then think the same run, only carrying a backpack with a laptop inside, over one shoulder only..

your body has to counter balance the weight shift constantly, to accommodate balance and direction..

there are billions of commands sent by the brain around the body every second, just sitting in a chair takes thousands of commands from brain to perform...something running with a foreign object strapped to your back and you are in brain command overload territory..

the less resistance from the rider, the more they sit right over the pivot point, the less work the horse has to perform mentally and physically...


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Fiddlesticks Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Mar 2014 at 11:14am
I often see riders more concerned with how they look to others (style) over what the horse needs to feel comfortable, so many riders are deluded by thinking we are all there to look and admire their styles and looks...makes me shudder when I see them practicing pulling the whip in front of the mirror..Confused
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Shammy Davis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Mar 2014 at 12:38pm
And I notice that both Gay3 and Fiddles have avoided my question about Aussie owners being too sympathetic and attached to their horses to put them in selling races.  So it appears (by omission) to be true then?LOL  There are very few selling races in OZ or you all don't want to be known as compassionate, caring, merciful, soft, or kind.LOL


Some have said that TJ would have been a more successful trainer earlier in his career had OZ had more selling races.  A couple of quotes by him seem to reflect that he would have enjoyed that side of the business.  Apparently, the top end breeders and owners weren't sending him any horses so by good betting choices (I guess he had a couple of big pay days on some good horses) he came up with money to start buying his own yearlings. 

On a percentage basis, how many selling races do your meets include?  So what happens to a horse that doesn't improve or place?  I'd think that Bill Pressey's thoughts would be very appreciated in OZ.  Much more so than in the states because of our "claiming" level racing.

Just my observation but it appears Gai, unlike the early career of her father, does get her horses from the top end owners and possibly breeders.  Is that true or is she really a chip off the old block?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Gay3 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Mar 2014 at 12:55pm
We've managed to Americanise most things but I'd say there's been little interest because we're still traditionally attached to the UK & European status quo that is racing. Via interstate racing there are plenty of options to move horses on at a reasonable price e.g. city standard to provincial to country with the stronger States being Victoria/NSW then SA, WA & Sthn Q'lan, after that there's outback WA & Q'land so as you can see, plenty of opportunity for those not measuring up to any level Smile
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Fiddlesticks Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Mar 2014 at 1:26pm
Originally posted by Shammy Davis Shammy Davis wrote:

And I notice that both Gay3 and Fiddles have avoided my question about Aussie owners being too sympathetic and attached to their horses to put them in selling races.  So it appears (by omission) to be true then?LOL  There are very few selling races in OZ or you all don't want to be known as compassionate, caring, merciful, soft, or kind.LOL


Some have said that TJ would have been a more successful trainer earlier in his career had OZ had more selling races.  A couple of quotes by him seem to reflect that he would have enjoyed that side of the business.  Apparently, the top end breeders and owners weren't sending him any horses so by good betting choices (I guess he had a couple of big pay days on some good horses) he came up with money to start buying his own yearlings. 

On a percentage basis, how many selling races do your meets include?  So what happens to a horse that doesn't improve or place?  I'd think that Bill Pressey's thoughts would be very appreciated in OZ.  Much more so than in the states because of our "claiming" level racing.

Just my observation but it appears Gai, unlike the early career of her father, does get her horses from the top end owners and possibly breeders.  Is that true or is she really a chip off the old block?


I hadn't seen that to be honest, and besides if you have read any of posts on racing you'd know I tend to bash aussie racing a bit and prefer the UK jumping action...I still follow the local aussie stuff, but people like Waterhouse really have turned me off the local product, her and the never ending precession of short course events around one bend...it's quite one dimensional after a while...

I still enjoy it here, but much less than in the past...I tend to sleep through the races on Saturdays here nowadays...lol

oh and we don't run sellers here as far as I know..


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Fiddles:  I'm delighted to hear that you do get some sleep, even if it is Saturdays when the race meets are in full swing.  I was beginning to think that you never slept in your efforts to make sure there are plenty of TBV threads to post to.LOL

I don't know what the percentages are during a meet in the UK, but I did see selling races during my trips to the UK and IE.
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http://www.slu.se/athletic-horses

 

Athletic horses fed high energy forage diets

Background

Although horses have evolved as grass eaters, performance horses are commonly fed diets including large amounts of starch-rich concentrates. There is little scientific evidence that such diets promote performance. In fact, it is well known that high concentrate diets are associated with gastrointestinal problems, stereotypical behaviour and perhaps also musculoskeletal problems. There is therefore a need for alternative feeding strategies.

A five year old mare winning a race at highest national level (V75) on a high forage starch free diet (photo: ALN Pressbild)

 

Feed utilisation and metabolism in exercising horses

When grass is digested in the gastrointestinal tract of the horse, some glucose (sugar) is absorbed, but production and absorption of fatty acids dominates. These fatty acids are produced during fibre degradation by microorganisms in the digestive tract and are used by the horse as an energy source. When starch-rich concentrates are introduced into the diet, the horse relies more on glucose for its energy metabolism and the availability of fatty acids is reduced. In exercising horses, it has been shown that the energy turnover is more aerobic when horses are adapted to a fat-rich or fibre-rich diet (oil or fibre added instead of some of the starch-rich concentrates), and that more fatty acids and less glucose are used. This could promote performance, since similar adaptations are observed after training. However, digestion of forage is the most natural way for a horse to be adapted to fat and fibre utilisation and eating forage also prolongs the eating time.

Aims of our research

Based on current knowledge, we have therefore conducted a series of studies with the aim of assessing possible benefits and limitations of feeding high energy, grass forage-only diets to athletic horses. Standardbred horses in race training have mainly been used for the studies. These horses are known to have very high energy requirements, comparable to those of, for example, thoroughbred race horses. We have complemented these studies with observations in the field of horses fed forage-only diets, including Standardbred horses and horses used in other sports.

A 13 year old show jumper gelding on a forage-only diet (also a winner but not at this particular photo), photo: Roland Thunholm.

 

Diets studied

The horses included in our studies were fed grass forages consisting mainly of timothy and meadow fescue. The energy content of the forages was always analysed prior to feeding and was found to be >10 MJ metabolisable energy (corresponding to >11.5 MJ digestible energy) per kg dry matter. To achieve these high energy contents, the forage had to be cut in an early botanical state. The forages were also analysed for crude protein, calcium (Ca), phosphorus (P) and magnesium (Mg) content. In a few cases, the diet had to be supplemented with lucerne/alfalfa to meet the crude protein requirements (according to NRC 2007). In almost all cases, supplementation with Ca and P was needed and vitamins and trace minerals were added to ensure that deficiencies did not occur. The dry matter (DM) content of the forages varied between 45 and 85 % and all batches were preserved in big bales wrapped in plastic.

Results and experiences in brief

The following observations were made:

It is possible for horses to compete and win races on a forage-only diet.The energy content of the forage has to be around 11 MJ metabolisable energy (corresponding to approximately 12-13 MJ digestible energy) per kg dry matter to maintain body condition.Because of the very high digestibility (high energy content) of the forages used, horses will not become "bulky" (see pictures). The lactate threshold (speed at which lactate accumulation occurs) with a forage-only diet may be higher than with a high concentrate diet, indicating improved performance.The plasma glucose concentration following exercise may be higher than with a high concentrate diet, which may improve performance.The venous pH during exercise may be higher than with a high concentrate diet, which could partly counteract the acidosis induced by high intensity exercise and improve performance.The muscle glycogen content at rest may be slightly reduced (-10%) compared with a high concentrate diet. Marked muscle glycogen depletion is known to reduce performance, but the effect of small reductions on high intensity exercise remains to be determined.Muscle glycogen content can be increased to very high levels with high crude protein forage (providing >150% of requirements) and this type of forage could therefore be used during the recovery period. The increase could be due to increased leucine intake and insulin response. High crude protein intake can exacerbate exercise-induced acidosis and is perhaps not recommended prior to competition.

10. Heat production and evaporative losses may increase with high crude protein intake, which should be considered in horses subjected to high sweat losses (for example endurance horses, hot and humid conditions).

11. Evaporative losses may be higher with silage (DM <50%) than with hay, which should be considered in horses subjected to high sweat losses (for example endurance exercise, hot and humid conditions).

12. Growth response may be similar or better in young horses with free access to high energy forage than previously reported in young horses of light breeds.

Standardbred yearling in training on a forage-only diet (photo: SLU).

 

13. Training response may be similar in young horses with free access to high energy forage as in horses in conventional training.

14. In general, temperament during exercise appears not to be affected by crude protein intake or high concentrate or forage-only diets, but variations in individual responses cannot be excluded.

15. Less aggression during waiting for entry to the stable from the paddock was observed in a group of horses fed a forage-only than in the same horses fed a high concentrate diet.

16. We did not observe any health problems that could be related to the grass forages used during the studies.

17. Maximal voluntary feed intake appears to be 2-2.5% of BW.

18. Three, but not two, feeding stations (big bales) seem to be enough to maintain body condition in 16 free ranged ad libitum fed Standardbred horses in training.

19. Some "hard keepers" that have been fed a high concentrate diet for most of their life may need a very long adaptation period (months) before they can maintain body condition on a forage-only diet, even if the forage has a high energy content.

20. A horse that cannot maintain condition on a high energy forage-only diet could have some health problems (for example pain). A reduction in voluntary time spent on feed intake will have a more rapid and clear effect in forage-fed horses than in concentrate-fed horses because concentrates are consumed more quickly and can be very palatable.

Three, but not two, feeding stations (big bales) seem to be enough to maintain body condition in 16 free ranged ad libitum fed Standardbreds in training on a high energy forage-only diet. (photo: SLU)

 

21. Digestibility of forages seems not to differ substantially between breeds considered to be normal/hard keepers (Standardbred horses) and easy keepers (Icelandic horses).

22. There may be a small increase in body weight (<1% of body weight) at rest compared with horses on a high concentrate diet, but this difference disappears after transportation (for example to a competition).

23. The faecal microflora in horses was shown to be more stable on a forage-only diet than on a conventional high starch diet. The flora also included fewer lactobacilli, especially Streptococcus bovis/equinus. Lactobacillus ruminis was found in horses on a high concentrate diet, but not in the same horses on a forage-only diet.

24. Rapid feed changes between different forage batches can affect faecal composition (for example pH, water and crude protein content) and microflora. Changes should therefore be made over several days or weeks in order to minimise the risk of gastrointestinal disturbances. This is especially important in horses on high feed intake levels and if crude protein content and conservation method differ.

25. It is possible that minor unwanted growth of microorganisms in forages (not currently considered a hygiene problem) can affect palatability and reduce voluntary forage intake.

 

A three year old winning race at local level on a forage-only diet (photo: Tom Jönehag)

 

Conclusions

The studies and observations we have performed so far indicate that diets based on high energy forage may be an interesting alternative to the conventional high starch diets commonly offered to athletic horses. Forage-based diets could support better health and welfare and may not be a limitation to performance. However, the forages used must be analysed and any lack of nutrients (protein, Ca, P, Mg and trace minerals) supplemented. If body condition cannot be not maintained (<4-6 on the Henneke scale), an energy supplement must be provided. With all forages, there may also be a need for vitamin E supplementation.

Table 1. Guidelines values for the energy and crude protein (CP) content of forages suitable for exercising horses. If these guidelines are applied, the need for supplementation with concentrates will be limited. Observe that the dark and light grey areas show the same information, but use different units

 

*DE=digestible energy; ME=metabolisable energy. aIf horses are to maintain condition on forage only, >12 MJ DE and >10.5 MJ ME are required. bExcessive (>8 g CP/MJ DE and >7 g digestible CP/MJ ME) crude protein intake prior to exercise may not be optimal for performance, but could be beneficial during recovery.

 


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Fiddlesticks Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Mar 2014 at 8:00pm
Green feed diet only is pretty out there when I recall the mamouth grain feeds I used to mix up when working in a yard, they were so heavy you could barely lift the feed bins once the hot meal went in and was mixed in..
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Shammy Davis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Mar 2014 at 1:09am
Gay3:  You are better than google. Thumbs Up Great read.  I'd have never found this.  I'm currently reading a well written book on the evolution of horses et al titled "The Nature of Horses" by Stephen Budiansky that clearly reminds me how complex and yet adaptable the horse and other equids are.  The horse, different from ruminants like cows, goats, et al, is suited to survive on a poorer quality diet that other grazers would perish on.  Equids have evolved by living on the fringe, so to speak.  How glorious!

Hope man doesn't mess up anything for them with all these processed diets.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Daraabah Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Mar 2014 at 8:02am
Great stuff. I would horses would be much happier in stables nibbling away on forage.  Interesting comments re bulk and forage diets. Is bran mash commonly used before races to reduce intestinal bulk?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Gay3 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Mar 2014 at 8:21am
I have to confess Shammy, it was passed on to me a few weeks ago & accidentally found I'd saved it as I'd gone looking only a few days ago LOL
Our biggest trouble in Oz, my locality anyway, is sourcing quality pasture hay that's also palatable. Oaten hay & lucerne are about it! I do know that most trainers give 24/7 access to roughage in an attempt to counteract colic & ulcers. There are more processed hi fibre feeds available also, in the form of soybean hulls & beet pulp, aimed mainly at the laminitis prone horses/ponies.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Shammy Davis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Mar 2014 at 10:03am
Confession accepted.  Most of OZ is pretty bleak isn't it?  I mean lots of dry land with little grazing opportunity.  You might be interested in reading up on Teff that is primarily produced in Somalia and Ethiopia.  I get my hay from a diary farmer.  Old saying in the horse business here in VA is get your hay from a profitable diary farmer because if they didn't know much about nutrition and weren't baling good nutrient hay they'd go bust.  Which is true.  My source, the diary farmer, is now baling about hundred acres of Teff.  Very good for horses.  I've been pleased with the results.Thumbs Up  Looks like someone in OZ could take this stuff to the market in OZ.

Not to worry, I'll be a good yank and not refer to you as Gay3google.LOL
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Gay3 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Mar 2014 at 10:22am
Haven't looked it up yet but our dairy & beef industry is responsible for most of the laminitis cases here & even moreso in England due to the highly enriched & fertilised fodder grown. As stated above, the horse evolved to be a sparse forager & a few hundred years isn't going to change that.
A few here are thinking in terms of 'native' grasses but they're hard to establish, look after & incredibly pricey. Rye & clover here is dynamite if grazed ad lib, the main combo used in dairying & I've noticed whilst researching hoof boots for horses that dairy cows in all countries succumb to laminitis with the US even supplying special air beds for the best cows Shocked
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Fiddlesticks Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Mar 2014 at 10:30am
Isn't there an optimal time window from when a horse eats, to utilization of that nourishment in exercise..?

like humans I recall reading somewhere that you should eat around 3 hrs before you go into battle doing your chosen sport..


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Shammy Davis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Mar 2014 at 10:35am
Originally posted by Gay3 Gay3 wrote:

Haven't looked it up yet but our dairy & beef industry is responsible for most of the laminitis cases here & even moreso in England due to the highly enriched & fertilised fodder grown. As stated above, the horse evolved to be a sparse forager & a few hundred years isn't going to change that.
A few here are thinking in terms of 'native' grasses but they're hard to establish, look after & incredibly pricey. Rye & clover here is dynamite if grazed ad lib, the main combo used in dairying & I've noticed whilst researching hoof boots for horses that dairy cows in all countries succumb to laminitis with the US even supplying special air beds for the best cows Shocked

Interesting about the laminitis. 

Air beds for the best cows huh?Shocked  Can't tell Mrs Shammy.  Our mattress has resembled the peaks and valleys of a mountain range for many years and if she finds out that sick cows are resting better than she, I'll pay an enormous price in my love life.

Let's keep this our secret.Wink
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Shammy Davis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Mar 2014 at 2:16pm
Originally posted by Fiddlesticks Fiddlesticks wrote:

Isn't there an optimal time window from when a horse eats, to utilization of that nourishment in exercise..?

like humans I recall reading somewhere that you should eat around 3 hrs before you go into battle doing your chosen sport..



Actually Fiddles, that is a myth.  Horses do not need to rest after eating.  Probably doesn't hurt to rest them, but it is not an imperative.   Cows, goats, and other ruminants do need to rest after eating.  There is a reason for this.  Cows and other ruminants are limited to how much they can stuff  (so to speak) into its rumen (one of the four stomach chambers) and after that they have to rest and wait for fermentation to run it course.  It takes about 70 to 90 hours for ruminants like a cow to pass food through it system.  The horse on the other hand, known as cecal digester, passes food through it system in about 48 hours at a more constant rate as you, as a horseman, must have seen.  The draw back to the cecal digester is that its system is less efficient than the ruminant and it only extracts about 70% of the energy available from any given amount of food.

The horse is an amazing creature in more ways than one.  After a big meal, I'm done for the day.  3 hours of rest would not even begin to get me out of my recliner.LOL
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Gay3 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Mar 2014 at 3:08pm
You're on track fiddles, it's to do with the insulin spike & glycogen availability, dependent on the type of food last ingested.

http://www.barefoothorses.net/feedingforstronghooves.htm

When excessive cereal grains are fed to horses, especially corn (which cannot be broke down in the foregut), the excess starch turns toxic in the hindgut.  This toxicity essentially can poison your horse, causing laminitis, colic, or founder to result.    Oats are readily digestible in the foregut, but sadly cause a sugar spike, and thus an insulin spike, after being eaten.    Your horse will suffer from a “sugar high” after eating a meal, and then a sudden drop back down, not the ideal slow absorption of digestible energy which would be available from more fibrous foodstuffs and roughage.   Plus you risk the development of IR after years of subjecting your horse to these conditions and sugar spikes. 

Because the horse’s digestive system is a slow system that can only take in a small amount of food at a time, horses do not do well with “meals”, like we eat and like dogs eat, for example.    Feeding 5 lbs. of a “complete feed” twice a day with no hay, or feeding primarily oats or corn with little forage, will not only leave a horse with sugar spikes and drops several times a day, but it will leave him very hungry in between these 12 hour meal intervals.

NSC, or Non Structural Carbohydrates, is the measurement of starch, sugar, and fructans in feed.    Most horses safely can eat feeds with less than 25% NSC. However, horses who already have metabolic disorders should receive a diet with less than 10% NSC.    Here is an analysis of the NSC in several cereal grains in the marketplace today, by Equi-Analytical Laboratories in Ithaca NY, reported on a dry matter basis of the following:

Corn: 73.3% NSC

Barley: 61.7% NSC

Oats: 54.1% NSC

Wheat Middling: 32.0% NSC

Wheat Bran: 31.1% NSC

Rice Bran: 21.2% NSC

 

To the contrary, here are the NSC values of some roughage based feed:

 

Soybean Meal: 16.2% NSC

Beet Pulp: 12.3% NSC

Alfalfa Cubes: 10.2% NSC

Alfalfa Pellets: 9.3% NSC

Soybean Hulls: 6.3% NSC

 

Hay typically averages around 11-15% NSC, depending on how and when the grass was cut.


And:        http://www.caes.uga.edu/publications/pubDetail.cfm?pk_id=7868



Feeding Prior to Performance

An often-asked question is, “When should I feed my horse before exercise or a competition?” The answer depends on what the horse will eat and how it will be exercised. Research has shown that a grain meal, either with or without hay, fed two hours prior to an exercise bout similar to the endurance and speed phase of a three-day event decreased free fatty acid availability and plasma glucose concentration (Pagan and Harris, 1999). Moreover, grain meals fed three hours prior to exercise also decreased plasma glucose and free fatty acid concentrations, which serve as fuels for the horse (Lawrence et al., 1993). Limiting two necessary fuels for energy is a detriment to performance, particularly higher intensity performance such as eventing, fox hunting or racing. Additionally, feeding a grain meal two hours prior to exercise, and ad libitum hay, resulted in decreased plasma volume and elevated body weights, making the blood thicker and the horses heavier (Pagan and Harris, 1999). This also could be a detriment to peak performance. Feeding hay alone did not decrease free fatty acid and glucose availability; therefore, performance will not be limited by the decreased fuels as seen with grain meals prior to exercise. The hay alone may produce a decrease in plasma volume and elevated body weights, similar to the grain meals. However, feeding hay in small amounts may reduce the effects, and the consequences of withholding hay to stalled horses (ulcers, vices) may outweigh the effects.

Not only does a grain meal affect fuel availability, but it also may affect heart rate. Higher heart rates during the first five minutes of exercise were found in ponies that had consumed grain meals at 0.7% of their body weight prior to exercise (Duren et al., 1992). Similar results were seen in horses that consumed grain meals two hours prior to exercise. However, horses that were fed less than 0.5% of their body weight in grain did not have higher heart rates during an exercise bout (Lawrence et al., 1995). Higher heart rates at a given speed could have an undesirable effect on performance, as the heart would be working at a faster rate than it should. In essence, the conditioning put into a horse to decrease his heart rate at a given speed would be undone. Even though research results are inconclusive, the potential for increased heart rate should be avoided by giving the horse forage only (ad libitum or up to 1% of body weight) prior to competition.

Most of the research has focused on feeding horses a grain meal two to three hours prior to exercise, but a definitive “cut-off” time has not been established. Therefore, if a competition starts early in the morning, it is best to give the horse a last grain meal the previous evening. If competition starts later in the day, the last grain meal should be given early in the morning. Forage may be provided throughout the day in small amounts; however, if a grain meal is missed during the day, do not attempt to “make it up” during the next feeding by offering twice the amount. Offer the normal amount at the scheduled time.

Most of these recommendations are applicable for intense exercise of longer duration, such as racing, polo, fox hunting and endurance racing. Most of the drawbacks to a grain meal prior to exercise, such as decreased fuel availability or increased heart rates, should not adversely affect horses in low intensity or short duration exercise, such as pleasure, equitation, or even short, timed events such as barrel racing.


Experience is something you gain a few minutes after you could have used it!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote GAJ Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Mar 2014 at 2:35pm
Very interesting read on the forage Gay, Thankyou for the other reads as well. I have taken on the task of training a couple of our own as you know and feeding is of great interest to me and sometimes a dilemma with so many opinions and products. Also the factors of when to feed pre race, post work, pre work etc.
At present we are feeding a premixed brand formula, but also include in the diet, barley fodder (sprouts), we add sunflower, linseed and sometimes corm to the mix, the food is living. Our horses in work also have a small day paddock each. So far we have had no gut problems or poor eaters, I am assuming the balance of a natural diet with the "race feed" is working. I have heard from old timer trainers, a horse with access to grass each day can tolerate more grain in the diet.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Shammy Davis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Mar 2014 at 8:29am
Originally posted by Gay3 Gay3 wrote:

We've managed to Americanise most things but I'd say there's been little interest because we're still traditionally attached to the UK & European status quo that is racing. Via interstate racing there are plenty of options to move horses on at a reasonable price e.g. city standard to provincial to country with the stronger States being Victoria/NSW then SA, WA & Sthn Q'lan, after that there's outback WA & Q'land so as you can see, plenty of opportunity for those not measuring up to any level Smile

Somewhat dated, but can't find anything that says things have changed.

http://www.chai.org.il/en/compassion/racing_sydney_3feb08.pdf
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