feeding and care of horses
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Muscles

The muscular system of the horse has several functions. It keeps the bones of the horse together, it also gives the horse the ability to move and it is a source of warmth. Muscles get their nutrition from carbohydrates and fats.

What can I do to improve muscle building?

A good training schedule is essential for building muscle. Training by itself will develop the muscles, but we can add extra amino acids, vitamin E and C and lecithin to the daily ration to support the muscle development. Pavo has developed a special supplement named Pavo MuscleBuild for this purpose

What can I do in case of muscular stiffness?

Muscular stiffness or aching muscles can be prevented with a good training schedule, a good warm-up and a good cooling-down. As long as a horse can be out in a paddock or pasture for several hours a day with exercise at will (and isn’t confined to a stall 24 hours a day), he shouldn’t have any muscle ache whatsoever. To support the muscle function of sport horses, protect their muscles against lactic acid and make sure that the horse can dispose of his waste matter properly and promptly, it is important to add extra vitamins E, C and Selenium to the daily ration. Pavo MuscleCare is a special supplement to keep the muscles supple.

Tying-up disease (exertional rhabdomyolysis)
is a disturbance of the muscle metabolism, which causes a total acidification, in particular of the back-, loin- and croup muscle. A reaction is usually noticeable within 10 to 15 minutes after the beginning of the workout. It is a very serious disorder and needs the correct treatment in order to heal. The causes for the onset are still under investigation, but at this moment two main causes are identified:

* too much (pelleted) grain in relation to the amount of exercise
* too much excitement or anxiety (often hereditary).

Horses that get their normal daily ration of energy feed on their day off work may get muscle problems the next day.

The three levels of tying-up

  • Light: The horse bends his back, and his hind quarters are stiff
  • Medium: The horse is reluctant to move, has a stiff and very short step, shakes and buckles in the hindquarters. The muscles of the hindquarters are stiff, swollen and painful.
  • Heavy: The horse refuses to walk, is sweating profusely, and is nervous, with wide nostrils.Rapid heart rate and respiration, and reddish-brown urine. The horse wants to lie down and doesn’t want to get up.

What can I do?

Acute tying-up

  • Always consult your veterinarian
  • Keep your horse quiet while you wait for the vet; don’t let your horse move about, in order to prevent muscle damage.
  • Do not trailer your horse (only in case of emergency, after consulting your vet).
  • Blanket your horse and keep him out of the wind
  • Put him in a large box stall, to prevent injuries.
  • Remove his food, but offer sufficient water
  • Compose a daily ration in close consultation with your veterinarian; discontinue feeding grain temporarily. You may feed fiber-rich hay, but no silage.
  • Give a supplement with a high vitamin E and C content, which will encourage an increased removal of lactic acid from the muscles.

Sensitivity to tying-up

  • When your horse has a day off work, reduce his daily ration of grain the evening before. His normal amount of hay can stay the same.
  • Give your horse as much free movement as possible during the day. Don’t keep him in his stall day and night.
  • Prevent straining his muscles by always giving him a good warm-up and cooling-down before his workout.
  • Always feed a diet that is in balance with his workload.
  • Feed a precautionary daily vitamin E and C supplement. It will encourage a quick recovery after a strenuous training, because vitamin E and C will smooth the process of toxic waste removal, which reduces the risk of acidification.