He is in good condition, maintaining his weight well and is filling out well and growing into himself. He is currently fed around 1.5kg Competition 12 Mix each day. He is out during the day and will be moving to better grazing in a few weeks’ time, night-time he is stabled with ad lib haylage. Is his diet lacking in something or is he just lazy?
It sounds as though your horse is naturally very laid back and although diet may help to a certain degree, it will not be possible to alter his character completely. Because he tends to maintain his weight well and will shortly be moving to better quality grazing, we have the dilemma that, if we increase the amount of hard feed he is given to provide additional energy, we also increase his calorie intake. Often the result of feeding more energy is simply extra weight gain, which makes them more lethargic and harder to motivate.
Fitness and weight control are crucial to optimise performance. As a rough guide, aim to be able to easily feel his ribs (condition score 2.5-3 out of 5) – this will ensure that he is not carrying any excess weight and that he is fully capable of being athletic. Also remember that every time you increase the intensity or duration of your horse’s training it will take a little time for their body to adapt and initially, they may feel a little flat, this is especially true for young horses who are still developing. As I am sure you are already doing try to keep his exercise varied so that he doesn’t become stale or bored.
With regards to his concentrate feed, you are doing exactly the right thing by feeding him our Competition 12 Mix as this is formulated to provide fast-release energy and is ideal for horses who require more “oomph”. The amount you are currently feeding is obviously meeting your horse’s calorie requirements as he is maintaining good condition, so at the moment I don’t recommend you change this. However, because you are feeding slightly less than the recommended level your horse may be slightly marginal in some essential micronutrients, many of which are needed for energy metabolism. Therefore, I recommend you consider including 1 mug of our PerformaCare Balancer in his daily feed or, if you would prefer to use a supplement, Foran Equine Chevinal, a multi-vitamin and mineral supplement would be ideal.
Loss of electrolytes can also affect your horse’s energy levels. All RED MILLS feeds contain added salt. However, as your horse doesn’t need large amounts of hard feed some additional salt is recommended (e.g. 1 level tablespoon/ day or provide a saltlick).
Finally, on days where you plan to work your horse heavily or it is very hot, I recommend you consider using Foran Equine Pre-Fuel and Refuel Gel. Pre-Fuel is formulated to support energy and muscle function prior to hard exercise, so will help to give your horse the boost you are looking for. Refuel Gel is given after exercise to encourage recovery by rehydrating and aiding muscle recovery. Using these products in combination will support optimum performance and ensure your horse recovers quickly.