Natural Equine Health Solutions

Optim Equine brings a unique approach to optimising horse health, wellbeing and performance.

Combining scientific evidence-based medicine with traditional naturopathic practices, Optim Equine delivers the most effective and beneficial health outcomes for your horse.

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2 days ago

Optim Equine

It’s not just WHAT you feed a horse that influences it’s health, performance and recovery, but how they are fed...GRAZING, FORAGE AND STRESS IN PERFORMANCE AND RACEHORSES

It is well understood that performance and racehorses are subject to significant amounts of stress. This stress in and of itself can result in sub-optimal or poor performance in our horses. Not to mention the myriad of flow on effects, not limited to, but including the gastrointestinal system, the immune system, and the production and function of neurotransmitters (influencing temperament and behaviour).

What is easily forgotten is that stress affecting performance does not necessarily have to originate from sources associated with training or the competitive event. Read that sentence again.

Performance and racehorses are exposed to a range of stressors most of which relate to the way they are kept and managed (this is largely dictated by training regimes or convenience for owners).These are stressful because they affect the behavioural needs of the horse as a species.

Behavioural needs are species-specific highly motivated behaviours that are performed by an animal and more often than not have a functional role. The horse has some physiological ‘need’ to perform the behaviour. Foraging is a primary example of this. In a natural environment, forage is generally available ad libitum with up to 70% of the day spent eating. For horses, the reduction of eating time to two meals per day can meet the nutritional requirements of the animal, but is unlikely to meet the animal’s behavioural need to forage. In the competition horse, restriction of behavioural needs induces a chronic stress response in the animal which will subsequently prevent optimal individual performance.

Some of the most basic feeding and management practices have the most profound influence on your horse’s wellbeing and performance. Before rushing in to add the latest fad supplement to your horse’s feed or purchasing the next fancy piece of tack or equipment, focus on what important basics you can implement.
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5 days ago

Optim Equine

GRAZING, FORAGE AND STRESS IN PERFORMANCE AND RACEHORSES

It is well understood that performance and racehorses are subject to significant amounts of stress. This stress in and of itself can result in sub-optimal or poor performance in our horses. Not to mention the myriad of flow on effects, not limited to, but including the gastrointestinal system, the immune system, and the production and function of neurotransmitters (influencing temperament and behaviour).

What is easily forgotten is that stress affecting performance does not necessarily have to originate from sources associated with training or the competitive event. Read that sentence again.

Performance and racehorses are exposed to a range of stressors most of which relate to the way they are kept and managed (this is largely dictated by training regimes or convenience for owners).These are stressful because they affect the behavioural needs of the horse as a species.

Behavioural needs are species-specific highly motivated behaviours that are performed by an animal and more often than not have a functional role. The horse has some physiological ‘need’ to perform the behaviour. Foraging is a primary example of this. In a natural environment, forage is generally available ad libitum with up to 70% of the day spent eating. For horses, the reduction of eating time to two meals per day can meet the nutritional requirements of the animal, but is unlikely to meet the animal’s behavioural need to forage. In the competition horse, restriction of behavioural needs induces a chronic stress response in the animal which will subsequently prevent optimal individual performance.

Some of the most basic feeding and management practices have the most profound influence on your horse’s wellbeing and performance. Before rushing in to add the latest fad supplement to your horse’s feed or purchasing the next fancy piece of tack or equipment, focus on what important basics you can implement.
...

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2 weeks ago

Optim Equine

***TENDON INJURIES, ICE & REHABILITATION***

Bringing a horse back from a tendon injury to return to full athletic performance takes time, patience and dedication. The speed of repair and renewal of tendon tissue is much slower than that of other tissues within the body such as bone or muscle. This is partly due to the poor blood supply tendons have.

The application of ice is certainly of benefit in reducing acute inflammation and swelling, and may be indicated as part of a treatment program in the acute phase of injury. However, when the horse is ready for rehabilitation and gradual return to exercise, the use of ice may be contraindicated. Ice slows the tendon’s metabolic response to exercise and impairs blood flow (remembering that blood flow to tendons is generally poor as it is). This blood flow is needed for fibre repair. Thus, in order to promote optimal tendon fibre repair, there may be significant benefit in avoiding the use of ice in training. Icing a horse’s legs after work may in fact be working against the goal you are trying to achieve: i.e. promoting optimal recovery and tissue adaptation.
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3 weeks ago

Optim Equine

S-A-L-T

Salt is made up of the minerals sodium and chloride and is an essential yet often overlooked/forgotten component of the horse’s diet.

If you aren’t providing supplemental salt to your horse or pony’s diet, they are most likely falling short of their needs. Although many processed feeds and balancers contain sodium and chloride, they are generally very low in these minerals and fail to meet a horse’s daily requirements of them.

Sodium and chloride each play crucial roles within the body. Sodium is involved in central nervous system function (including nerve impulse transmission), transporting numerous substances such as glucose across cell membranes, and muscle cell activation. In addition, it is a key electrolyte involved in maintaining body fluids’ acid-base balance and osmotic pressure regulation.

Similarly, chloride plays an important role in acid-base and osmotic regulation. Chloride additionally is essential for normal digestive function in the horse, being a component of bile and hydrochloric acid in the stomach.

Sometimes the simplest inclusions in a horse’s diet make the most significant difference.
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#horsesofinstagram #horsenutrition #horsehealth #performancehorses #ottb #thoroughbreds #warmbloodsofinstagram #dressage #showjumping #eventinghorse #horseracing #horseriding
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1 month ago

Optim Equine

THE IMPORTANCE OF A SOLID FOUNDATION & GETTING THE BASICS RIGHT

With border restrictions now largely eased in Australia, I am fortunate enough to be back down in Tassie, seeing many of my clients again in the flesh!

This past weekend, I enjoyed attending several horse events over a variety of disciplines and catching up with some terrific people who are the life and soul of the equestrian industry. These people are passionate in what they do: having a real love of their horses and wanting the best for horses, riders and those involved in their respective equestrian disciplines.

When chatting to many of these people, I found myself having a sense of deja vu. Despite the different equestrian disciplines, many times I was having variations on the same topics of conversation. These were largely based upon the longevity of horses (or more specifically the lack thereof), wanting quick results/solutions to any real or perceived performance or behavioural problems in the horse, wanting to be instantly ‘competition ready’ - often without doing the necessary groundwork/training, or not giving the required training due respect. Wanting to compete in every competition on the calendar- regardless of how their horse is in terms of health, fitness, soundness and readiness. Having a ‘magic’ supplement or medication to turn to when their desired competition results/horse’s behaviour wasn’t naturally forthcoming. The influence of social media and peers when recommending supplements/feeds- often without solid understanding, grounding or basis for what they are using or promoting.

You can have the best saddle, the fanciest tack, the most expensive horse, be constantly injecting its joints and feeding it all the supplements in the world- but if you don’t get the foundations right (the required and appropriate quality ridden work on your horse, appropriate basic feeding strategies, a mindset focused on the longterm approach)— then nothing you do will be sustainable.

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