Now that hunting seson is over, we are officially training on our summer goal: to complete a CTR in July. Vet came out last week for spring shots and we talked about gastroguard for the trailer ride to the event and electrolytes before, during and after. He liked the idea of offering a bucket of electrolyte solution and a bucket of plain water so my horse had both to choose from. Do you all prefer any particular brand? Any to avoid? Thanks in advance for your advice.
Last edited by Beau's mom; Mar. 31, 2010 at 12:30 PM.
I know lots of people are adament that you should use specially formulated electrolytes but....I've had good luck with just the cheapie stuff you can get at any feed store. Just make sure that it doens't contain bicarbs and it isn't specifically for foals and you should be good.
See above: buy the sugar-free electrolytes.
Electrolytes are salt, potassium, magnesium, calcium, and should be present in the product.
Some other thoughts:
Don't just introduce electrolytes suddenly. Try it way before your first CTR on some of your conditioning rides. Some horse get diarrhea very quickly if you give too much.
Also depending on your horse's breed, fitness level, the day's temperature, the length and duration of the ride, etc., you may not need to give any electrolytes! All of them should be available free choice in their regular daily lives (salt block, mineral block, feed) and that may be enough.
Also, make sure your horse drinks enough, before, during and after the ride. If your horse does not drink well away from home, teach him first and then use electrolytes. They can do more harm than good if the horse is not properly hydrated.
Like the folks above, I bought the basic electtrolytes from the feed store. Try a couple and see what brand your horses like. I only found one brand that my horses would eat directly from my hand, Everything else had to be hidden in some other feed. I added mine to soaked beet pulp that I feed before and after the CTR.
and like the comments above, I tried mine out a few times before actually showing up at a CTR. So my horses were Ok eating beet pulp and Electolytes. Nothing new and strange on the day of the ride.
If you give Electrolytes, make sure the horse has ample opportunity to drink in the next few hours after giving the electrolytes.
I don't do CTR anymore, But if I know I will be riding all day on long trail ride, I still give some in the morning before we head out. ( Unless I'm in the desert where water maybe scarce)
Two things, which ride are you planning on going to? Is it a ride sanctioned by an organization? Gastroguard is not allowed by AERC and ECTRA and it has a 24 hour withdrawal period.
Personally, I use Perform N Win electrolytes and add some Lite salt to them to increase the potassium. A lot of endurance riders use it. There is sugar in PNW and there is some research that supports the idea that some sugar in the electrolytes helps increase the absorption by the horse. I suspect that having sugar in the electrolytes isn't a problem, it's knowing that you are getting enough actual salts into the horse and not just a lot of sugar. I can tell you that my horses will fight against electrolytes that are just salts (the combination of mineral salts that make up electrolyte mixes) but will accept me syringing the PNW into them while mixed into a carrier, like Pro CMC or yogurt. But it does take two syringes to hold a whole dose of PNW as it is bulkier than the pure concentrated brands. I've also found that many horses will happily drink water with PNW in it. Just never count on your horse drinking his "lytes as that will be when he decides not to. My horses also abhor Lyte Now. It may be good and easy to buy and use but it's a sure way to stop my horses from eating and drinking!!
One thing to remember about electrolytes too....you can't pre-load them to high levels before a competition. You can only replace lost ones once their blood levels are a bit low. They are a replacement supplement. Only needed when levels have dropped due to exercise, dietary loss etc. So it's most important to replace them AFTER the exercise. And they need water to be absorbed by the body & levels normalized by the kidneys. If you give excess; the kidneys will just excrete any the body doesn't need. Extra salt can be a way to get your horse to drink extra water not unlike yourself after eating salty foods. But everything in moderation!
JMHO! Talk w/your vet about how/when to use them.
I've always liked to give a scoop or 2 for the next day or so after a vigorous foxhunting day to help them recover quicker & healthier. I use Summer Games-mine love it!
There are two basic electrolyte formulas, one is for race horses and is designed for the proportions of elytes they lose in the kind of work they do. They tend to have a lot of bi-carb in the formula.
Endurance horses loose elytes in a little different proportion and the bi-carb levels of the race horse mixes tend to mess up pH level in the endurance horse's muscle/blood.
I'm afraid I'm not very good at explaining the "why" but if you check the Ridecamp forum (somewhere on Endurance.net) I know I saw some discussion of it over the last year. And of course there are all kinds of homemade concoctions discussed as well.
Thanks for all your responses. He does love his mineral block during hunting season. We are doing the Virginia Highlands NATRC ride in July in Ivanhoe, Virginia. I will look for some of the suggested supplements to give free choice a few weeks before the ride and when away, with plenty of clean water from home.