Blog post written in collaboration with GLS Foder/Saracen Denmark
For me there are a few different things I focus on when starting to train a young horse. First of all, I look at the diet of the horse. I want the horse to build muscles, but it needs to be a slow build so that you avoid injuries. So for my younger horses I typically feed them something like Saracen Show Improver. This is like the foundation for training my young horses, because this means that they get the stamina and health they need to continue working over time. And on top of avoiding injuries with building muscles slowly, it also means that the horse actually has time to “get used” to its own body, how it’s growing, changing and becoming stronger.
In the Show Improver there’s actually a little bit of starch, because it’s specifically made for horses building muscle. For my horses that works really well, but as Thomas says in the video – it might make some horses a bit too lit and crazy. That’s also why I think it’s important to say that you really need to take the time to actually look at what you’re feeding your horse. Just because I use Show Improver for (some of) my younger horses, that doesn’t mean that’s right for your horse.
A lot of the time people will ask me for advice on what to feed their horse, and then ask “but what do you feed Cassidy?”. It’s good to ask for advice, but I think that it’s also so so important to consider the needs of your horse, talk to some experts, and figure out what works for them. There aren’t that many horses that work at the level Cassidy does, even if we’ve cut down on the amount he trains now that he's older. He’s really a top-trained athlete and the only way to really see if Re-Leve is right for your horse is to talk to the experts at Saracen and to try it out yourself. What I personally really like about Re-Leve is that it’s very low in sugar and starch.
It’s been really important for me to find a feed low in starch and sugar because those two things just aren’t very good for the horses (or humans) and the energy levels are much more up and down. What I’ve noticed with new horses I get in is that when they start on something like Re-Leve, they’re much more ready for their training. Even if we increase the intensity of their training, after some time on this feed they start out much better the next day because they don’t have the same acid build-up in their muscles. So really think about that when you choose feed for your horse – if you have a horse that really has some intense training sessions, then you need to choose a feed that also helps prevent acid building up in their bodies.
So the top tips for choosing the right feed for your horse is:
- Look at your horse: age, energy levels, training intensity and family tree are some things that give a good indication of what type of feed your horse needs
- Look at the ingredients: Some feeds are very high in sugar which gives your horse a lot of energy short term, but might not be really good over a longer period of time
- Talk to some experts! They can help you figure out what your horse needs based on age and what your goals are.
- And lastly, just try things out!