Equine Health & Horse Supplements

- Why Protein?
- By Kate Kuhle BAppSC (Hons)

The nutritional requirements of the equine athlete vary hugely with the type and intensity of work being performed. However, regardless of the type of work, the biggest factor affecting sound muscle development, healthy nerve function and coat and body conditioning is the type and quality of protein that your horse is receiving from his diet.

Increased protein intake in performance horses will support muscle development, reduce muscle damage, support joints and connective tissue and increase recovery rate. A high quality protein intake from 0 – 24 months of age is essential for strong and correct bone development.  Pregnant and lactating mares have a significantly higher requirement for dietary protein due to the huge protein demand of growing a foal in-utero or producing up to 20 litres of milk each day for a feeding foal.

Protein is made up of over 20 different essential amino acids; these are the building blocks of healthy muscle, skin, hooves and hair.  Each animal species requires specific amino acids in order to grow, develop and reproduce and these are known as essential amino acids. In horses these essential amino acids are Leucine, Lysine and Arginine.  Dietary protein for horses is usually supplied in the form of Soybean meal, Copra meal, Rice Bran or skim milk powder.  While all of these are good sources of bulk protein they do not always contain the type and amount of essential amino acids required for optimum muscle development in the horse and can also have a very high fat content.

Recently, studies into the body building benefits of concentrated protein supplements derived from Whey, a by-product of cheese making, and Soy have show that these concentrates contain very high levels of the equine essential amino acids Leucine, Lysine and Arginine.  Supplementing the performance horses diet with high quality Whey and Soy protein concentrates and isolates, such as those found in the  ePro® Equine Professional muscle building product range, ensures that the essential amino acids required for optimum muscle development and recovery are readily available from the feed.  This gives the horse the best possible building blocks to repair and grow muscle, resulting in stronger, bigger body and topline muscle; shorter post- exercise recovery time and lower risk of tying up.

There are a range of Epro products available to purchase through Horseland.