Why improved training and care of horses is pivotal to the future of racing .

When looking for a facility to house their horses, horse trainers still tend to assess traditional training centres first.

One of the most important things they’ll assess is the track. After all, this is the place the horse will be training from a racing standpoint. Yet whilst we believe the track is important, it serves a limited purpose in the modern day, and in fact just like a boxer who has finished the sparring part of their training camp, the closer the horse gets to racing – the less they require the track. 

Why it’s time to take advantage of modern science

One of the greatest advancements in sports science is the acknowledgement that to achieve maximum performance, certain muscle groups have to be developed more than others. We believe that the actual training routines of the horse should therefore be diversified far more than they currently are.

In general, horses should be participating in as much as six or seven different workout activities. Horses love to work, but because of the way the horse’s mind functions and their ability to focus on only one thing at a time, if we don’t constantly present new mental challenges then the likelihood of maximizing a horse’s physical performance is substantially reduced.

The treadmill: a race horse’s best friend

The most powerful device for a race horse is a treadmill. Actually, it’s a variety of treadmills – each of which offer a unique quality and have different physical and mental effects on the horse.

Some treadmills beneficial to race horses include:

  • Manual treadmills – where the horse, through its own motion, moves the belts.

    • Jogging treadmills – where the grade can be modified and resistance levels increased or decreased, simultaneously focusing muscle development in different areas of the horse.
    • Water treadmills – which offer a more resistant-type workout and positively impact the horse’s muscle development. 
    • High-speed treadmill – the most important treadmill of all. The high-speed treadmill allows trainers to train horses at full race speed on a consistent, forgiving surface. This helps not only maximize anaerobic training, but most importantly, all data can be recorded as reference points for future training sessions and the horse’s general development. The high-speed treadmill’s sophisticated sensor programs can also identify lameness which a human eye would never be able to see.

Understanding a horse’s physiological behaviour

In order to understand the horse’s ability, we must understand its physiological structure and limitations.

It never ceases to amaze how few trainers know their horse’s maximum heart rate or lactate levels after a training session. It’s the combination of these factors and others that give you the baseline for not only understanding a horse’s ability, but also on their progress during training.

Physiological data is thus crucial when both peaking and retaining a horse’s performance. In more personal terms, as horses can’t speak the data becomes their voice.

Prioritizing a horse’s diet

One of the most important parts of training a horse is their diet – and yet ninety-nine percent of all trainers feed their horses off-the-shelf food.

You would think the manufacturers of performance horse food would make great products. But whilst these foods have an ample balance of good nutrition, economics and convenience, the very best diets should actually consist of the highest quality foods in their freshest, purest forms – with a blend of ingredients that fluctuates dependent on whereabouts the horse is at in their training and racing cycle. 

The combination of good feed and weight management utilizing real electronic scales can keep a horse extremely healthy and fit for long periods of time. Furthermore, the right nutrition for performance horses would consist of multiple meals spread out throughout the day – allowing the horse to properly absorb and digest their food while maintaining consistent levels of glucose.

Maximising nutrition through supplement products

In conjunction with good nutrition is a strong supplement program. The truth is, most off-the-shelf supplement products fall short of providing true value for the horse. Not because the developers don’t understand what needs to happen, but rather due to price restrictions.

Typically, manufactured products go through multiple levels of distribution, with each level marking up the product and thus making it unaffordable for many trainers. The developers of these products know this and because of that, they must work harder to ensure their end price can be justified. 

At Exceed Equine, to resolve this we have actually built our own lab. It features our own PhD expert and we purchase all our supplements in large bulk packaging which combines high levels of nutrition and feed in one. 

How we can use technology to aid a horse’s sleep and lung capacity

Horses typically require 2 to 2.5 hours of REM sleep per night. To help a horse achieve this, the right atmosphere has to be provided. Living in a stall is not a natural environment for a horse, and so its important that steps are taken to utilize certain technologies that can aid horses in their sleeping patterns.

In this sense, it’s not amiss to state that most trainers take the barn environment for granted. But the fact the horse spends 85% to 90% of his time in that stall means we must do everything we can to make sure they feel as comfortable as possible when in there.

At Exceed Equine, we have the capabilities to instal advanced sound and bedding technologies a horse’s barn. Furthermore, we can place any horse in a comfort zone they can trust – helping them to achieve the required levels of sleep while simultaneously resting joints, ligaments and the horse’s body as a whole.

A horse’s performance is also significantly enhanced or restricted by its lung function and capacity. Therefore, it’s crucial to utilize technologies to protect the horse’s lungs and maximize its oxygen production. In conjunction with this, advanced technologies that mirror altitude training or hypoxic training can further strengthen a horse’s heart and lung capacity while enhancing their production of red blood cells. 

Looking ahead to the future of horse racing and training

Although horse racing is a sport that goes back many years and carries a lot of beautiful traditions, unless we adapt like human athletes have adapted, not only do we prohibit a horse’s performance, but we can actually hurt it and limit its racing career.

Aspects such as illegal enhanced performance drugs are obviously despicable from a moral standpoint and highly detrimental to a horse’s physiology. The overall care and welfare of the horse should always take priority – and when we incorporate better science we greatly improve the horse’s health, not only during their racing career but in their second career when they retire from racing. 

Find out more about the horse racing revolution by contacting us