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Merel Blom with Rumour has it in Caen 2014
This has definitely contributed to the successes,” says eventing rider Merel Blom, while pointing at a bag of Pavo TopSport. Having won a bronze World Championship medal, she explains how she changed her feed management a year ago and what difference that has made for her.
“Just like everybody else, I always thought that eventers had to be skinny. Every extra pound that your horse has to carry with him, is one too many.”
She used shavings in her stable and her horses would get as much as 5 - 6 kg concentrate feed per day. “I was of course aware that this was not perfect. They did not have the energy to keep up with the work that I required them to do. Moreover, they didn’t have a good colour.”
Expert help is indispensable
Merel’s horses are supervised by Leendert Jan Hofland from veterinary clinic Bodegraven. In consultation with him, the horses’ diet was examined. Soon it became clear that her horses did not get enough proteins. It was definitely time for a change.
One of the first steps was an analysis of the roughage. “It turned out that this was not suitable for my purpose, which is sport at the highest level.” Merel says that the advice of experts is crucial. “Such an analysis is a clutter of numbers which I couldn’t figure out. Only after someone explained this to me, I could see what I had to look out for.”
A diet was composed with roughage as the main staple, topped up with a specially prepared muesli containing extra protein. As this muesli is extremely rich in nutrients, the horses need only need a small amount of it. In addition to the three kilos sportfeed, her competition horses were fed with one kilo Pavo TopSport per day.
After only a few weeks, Merel noticed the difference. “The horses could concentrate better and were more constant. I felt less fluctuation in their energy levels. As a result, they coped much better with the training exercises. And if the horses are better able to focus on you, you can also train them better. The muscle mass increased. The horses grew fast but in the right places. They made progress in various areas. It did not worry me that the horses got heavier. Because they had indeed much more power, plenty to carry those extra kilos.”
The changes were spectacular. “My horses became continuously fitter, but definitely not hotter. I have very sensitive horses, with lots of thoroughbred in their pedigree, but they actually became more stable. Very different from what happens when you give them quickly digestible sugars, which first makes them explode, after which they run empty quickly. In that context, dressage riders could also benefit from this feed.”
The top eventing rider is convinced that this new dietary regime has contributed to a large extent to the fantastic results during the World Championships of her horse Rumor Has It, with which she ensured her qualification for the Olympic Games in 2016. “It goes without saying that you should keep a close eye on the feed schedule, but I think with Pavo TopSport I can prepare my horses optimally on our way to Rio.”