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Guest blog NAF: Keep your horse healthy in the summer

Your horse's health is, of course one of your highest priorities throughout the year. That's why we have put together some tips to keep your horse fit, especially during hot summer months.

Hydration and electrolytes 

With all horses that are regularly on the road or run many competitions, it is necessary to replenish the sweat loss. Losing large amounts of heat means horses need to lose a lot of sweat! In the summertime, 10-15 litres of fluid can be lost per hour. This is equivalent to a full bucket of water! This sweat loss is not only due to training sessions but also due to temperature and humidity. The warmer and higher the humidity, the more important the right treatment is. The sweat loss not only contains water but also essential electrolytes. The main electrolytes in sweat include the minerals sodium (Na+), potassium (K+), magnesium (Mg++), chloride (Na+) and calcium (Ca++). These important minerals, called ions, conduct energy when they are dissolved in a solution (e.g. blood, urine and body fluids). They are necessary minerals in various processes in your horse's body. Electrolyte imbalance may lead to impaired muscle and nerve function and dehydration.

Always monitor vital signs of your horse to identify heat stress. These include fatigue (muscle weakness), increased heart rate, increased rate of breathing (blowing), increased body temperature, low sweating rate.

During hot summer days, you could give your horse extra support by giving electrolytes. Administering electrolytes with NAF Liquid Electro Lytes is super easy. You can mix it with the drinking water. NAF ElectroSalts is provided with the essential salts in an edible, concentrated form and is therefore ideal to add to daily feed.

A heavy workout or a long journey not only causes a lot of fluid loss, but also a build-up of free radicals. NAF Recover has been specially developed for this problem. With concentrated antioxidants, it’s ideal for horses which travel a lot or after strenuous exercise and competition. NAF Recover supports the horse’s natural recovery process.

Support joint health

Whether your horse puts extra effort into the extended trot in a dressage test, overcoming that very high jump or many miles at the endurance or cross country, the horse's joints have to cope with extreme forces. To a certain extent, this pressure is good. Micro-damages in the joint help to strengthen the muscles and build strength. That's why prolonged easy workouts are good to get a horse as fit as possible. Once the balance between micro-damages and recovery is out of balance, your horse can suffer permanent damage. It's commonly the cartilage that is the first part to show wear and tear. The key cartilage nutrients, Glucosamine Sulphate, MSM, Chondroitin Sulphate and Hyaluronic acid (HA) are well known for their support for the health of both cartilage, and the thick synovial fluid that oils the joint.
Research recommends that feeding a combination of the key nutrients allows them to work together more effectively than any nutrient alone.

To keep sports horses healthy you can support them with NAF Superflex Pro. This supplement contains the key nutrients to support joint health and maintain the health of your hardworking horse. Superflex Pro contains a good amount of glucosamine, which is an important building block for cartilage. You can safely give glucosamine to your horse for a longer period. It is an important growth element throughout your horse's career.

MSM (methyl sulfonyl methane) is sulphur in its organic form as found in the horse's natural diet (including grass and trees), but is largely driven off by processing of hard feed and preserved forage. MSM is rich in bio-available sulphur, vital for the health of soft tissue, tendons, ligaments and muscle. With NAF Superflex Pro your horse will never be short of MSM.

Chondroitin and hyaluronic acid (HA) are both Glycosaminoglycans, which means they build up cartilage connections and soft connective tissue. In horses, this is a difficult process because this substance is not available in the right place. Glycosaminoglycans, in combination with other nutrients, play a major role in the health of your horse's joints.

An example of a 'healthy fat' is Polysaccharides. This is an Omega 3 fatty acid. Research has shown that they have many advantages, but certainly also as joint support. The interesting thing about this fat is that it has an anti-inflammatory effect. You can find this fatty acid in chia seeds or sea algae. It also contributes well to cognitive health, such as the concentration of your horse.

Focussing for competitions

For some horses, competitions or unfamiliar terrains always remains very stressful. Every time they find themselves in that situation they feel overwhelming, which results in exciting behaviour with a lack of concentration and focus on the competition. Also in these circumstances, a supplement can be a good addition. It ensures that your horse uses the energy in the right way. A study at the Royal Agricultural University in Cirencester, England has shown the benefits of NAF Five Star Magic for recreational horses. The two-year project was headed up by Dr Andrew Hemmings, one of the UK's leading experts on equine cognition and behaviour. This independent, placebo-controlled, cross over trial, looked at the effectiveness of both anxiety and learning in a group of horses chosen for their reactive behaviour. The results showed that two of the trialled formulae, with different key herbal elements, resulted in statistical significance and a strong trend for improvements in these areas. What was particularly pleasing, was that the trial also quantitatively looked for signs of sedation and found none. We think Dr Andy Hemmings sums it up perfectly, 'There's a real use for a calmer that actually works, improves the cognitive profile of the horse, but crucially does not come with any sedation……that will still be your horse, but more trainable.'

You can read more about the research at https://www.naf-equine.eu/uk/believeinmagic/

Feed NAF Magic for a calm, relaxed horse and a cool, focused performance. Otherwise, where low magnesium may be indicated due to unnatural diet, regular travel or soil deficiency.

Conclusion

By helping our four-legged friends with certain supplements, we keep our horses fit and athletic, focused and at their best during the competition season.

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