Speed is the name of the game when it comes to racing, and there is nothing more frustrating than coming to an event unprepared. Here are a few things to focus on when working to help your horse run faster:
Prepare by conditioning
Simply put, a horse that is in shape runs faster than one that is not. This does not mean you need to push your horse to the limit, however. Going all-out every day will only stress your horse, and you will start to see diminishing returns the farther along you progress in your training. It also increases your horse’s risk of injury, so try not to force him to go over 85 percent of his maximum speed more than once or twice a week. If you do end up overtraining your horse, it is best to back off completely until he recovers.
“Vary your course and exercises when training.”
According to Kentucky Equine Research, training for endurance makes a horse’s skeletal muscles more efficient at utilizing energy, particularly fat. How you accomplish your endurance training is up to you and your horse. You can start by running a set distance at a slow pace and gradually increasing your speed, or you can start with speed and work on increasing the distance. In addition, you should make sure to vary your course and exercises when training. Run the same path over and over and your horse will start to anticipate the pattern. He might get cocky and think he knows the pattern better than you and possibly ignore your commands. In addition, the same style of training every day might bore your horse, and he may stop putting as much effort into the exercises.
Fuel your horse with the right feed and equine supplements
A diet that consists of hay alone will not give your horse the energy it needs to run hard and fast, Canadian Horse Journal reports. A frequent series of small, varied, grain-based meals that have a high concentration of fats, protein and carbohydrates is more appropriate. Feeding your horse grains high in starches four to five hours before the race helps it utilize more energy. Additionally, giving your horse all-natural horse products about two hours prior to an event can also help support healthy metabolic functions, provided that doing so does not go against regulations of the event in question. Feeding your horse all-natural supplements that contain components of Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) in the days leading up to the event have been clinically studied to help stamina, performance and recovery.
Make sure your horse can breathe
According to the American Physiological Society, a running horse takes one breath with each step, inhaling and exhaling about 80 liters of air per second. If something inhibits your horse’s breathing, even if it is just a cough, his performance will take a nosedive. Any condition that seems to prevent your horse from breathing properly should be investigated by a veterinarian.
Unfortunately, sometimes your horse will come down with a chronic cough a few days before your event. In that case, try horse health care products designed to aid in suppressing coughs. Look for ones with menthol to soothe the throat and eucalyptus, an expectorant, to aid breathing passages.
The right diet and training program helps your horse run its fastest. Throw some high-quality horse products in the mix to support metabolism and breathing, and the two of you will be well-prepared for race day.
Finish Line’s all-natural breathing aid, Air Power, and the energy supplements, Stretch Run and Stretch Run Plus, are popular products for horses that compete in speed events.