Horse health is important to every horse owner, especially team ropers. You have a significant financial and emotional investment in your horse. You’ve spent thousands of dollars and thousands of hours caring for and training it.
Your horse depends on you to stay healthy. Healthy horses perform better, and that could make all the difference in the ring.
Your Roping Horse Is an Athlete
The first step to instituting a top-level wellness program for your roping horse is to understand that you aren’t simply caring for an animal — you’re building an athlete.
The horse goes from stationary to sprinting, reacting to rider cues and pulling a heavy steer all within an extremely short time frame. This action is repeated throughout the years. For horses to have the acceleration needed to beat the competition and to remain in top form over the years, they need the right fuel.
A Balanced Diet
Horse health starts with a thoughtful, balanced diet. For performance horses, this is even more critical. You should feed your horse approximately 2 percent of its body weight. Always feed based on weight, not volume.
Also make sure your horse is getting the right balance of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Consider your horse’s feed sources carefully. Too many grains can stress the digestive tract. Pellet feed options fulfill most of your horse’s need for carbohydrates and fats to use for energy.
Alfalfa hay and grass usually fulfill your horse’s need for protein. Spending on protein supplements isn’t usually worth it. Even though roping horses may need slightly more protein, any excess beyond that does not boost performance.
Without considering all the fluids lost through sweat from roping exercise, horses need at least 10 to 20 gallons of water every day. Depending on the temperature, humidity and daily work effort, this can increase exponentially. Sufficient water is one of the most important parts of a horse’s diet.
Vitamin and mineral supplements aren’t an adequate substitute for a healthy diet, but they can make it easier for the horse to absorb nutrients. Supplements can help stimulate appetite and increase metabolic function. However, it’s wise to consult with a professional to ensure you’re not over-supplementing your horse, which can be toxic.
Your horse may have specific nutritional needs that aren’t met by making dietary changes alone. Products that target specific issues, such as joint health, may be the right addition to your performance horse’s diet.
For horse tack, grooming supplies and supplements, you can depend on Frontier Trailers & Roping Supply. We are focused on helping you enhance horse health and earn your next team roping win.