They can lose up to 10-15 L of sweat per hour when exercising and often continue to sweat during the cool-down period. Resting horses may sweat freely in their yard or paddock during the summer months particularly if they are rugged or do not have access to shade.
Electrolyte powders such as HUMIDIMIX® and STRESSALYTE® are designed to provide a balanced daily intake of electrolytes to supplement dietary levels and can be added daily to the feed of horses in regular work. As excess electrolytes are rapidly excreted in the urine, it is best to feed half the dose in the morning feed and half in the evening feed to get optimum benefits from daily supplementation.
HUMIDIMIX is a daily electrolyte supplement specifically formulated for horses that lose large volumes of sweat i.e. heavy sweaters as a result of working at moderate speeds for prolonged periods of time, particularly during warm weather. Regular heavy sweating not only depletes electrolyte stores but also leads to blood “alkalosis”. This is due to a greater loss of chloride in sweat compared to sodium. This disproportionate loss of chloride leads to an increase in blood bicarbonate levels causing the blood to become alkaline.
Alkalosis can result in poor performance, excessive “blowing” after fast work, uncharacteristic nervousness and an increased risk of tying-up. It is most common in pacers but can also occur in other hard-working performance horses. In order to correct alkalosis, HUMIDIMIX contains much higher levels of chloride, potassium and magnesium than many other electrolyte supplements. HUMIDIMIX is also an acidic mixture which helps neutralise the blood alkalosis. HUMIDIMIX is recommended for pacers, endurance horses, eventers, dressage horses, stockhorses, polocrosse horses and other horses that sweats heavily on a regular basis such as thoroughbred horses racing in tropical conditions.
STRESSALYTE is a daily electrolyte supplement designed specifically for light sweaters such as thoroughbred racehorses. Gallopers do not sweat as heavily as many other types of horse as they usually work for short periods of time in the cool of the early morning. However, they do work at high intensities which leads to the production of large amounts of lactic acid in their muscles during sprint exercises. Lactic acid released from muscles causes a drop in blood pH or “acidosis” which leads to muscle fatigue, soreness and stiffness. Lactic acidosis may also contribute to tying-up in some horses. In addition to replacing the major electrolytes lost in sweat, STRESSALYTE also contains two alkaline salts – citrate and bicarbonate – which help to buffer the acids produced by fast work. These buffers work both in the blood and within the muscle cells to neutralise acidity.
Liquid electrolytes such as RECHARGE® are ideal for use after prolonged exercise or long distance transport. In addition to rapidly replacing lost body salts, they also encourage drinking to replace lost body fluids and correct dehydration. This is very important as dehydrated horses often lose their thirst response and do not drink adequate amounts to replace their fluid losses. Dehydration also leads to a loss of appetite, which makes it even more difficult for horses to replace their electrolyte losses.
Paste electrolytes such as BECTYL® paste are ideal for use after long distance transport and particularly for quick overall recovery after strenuous exercise. Transportation for example may cause horses to arrive at an event site already in a mild state of fluid and electrolyte depletion from the stress and strain of traveling. Some horses also don't drink or eat as well while on the road. And in hot weather, a horse sweats for the duration of the transport, especially if the trailer is not well-insulated.
A dose of BECTYL paste is a quick and efficient way to assist in replacing these lost electrolytes and in encouraging your horse to drink and recover quicker. BECTYL is a unique paste supplement of key minerals including magnesium, B-group vitamins, vitamin E and citrate, scientifically balanced to aid in the rehydration and recovery process in exercising horses.
Electrolytes play a vital role in the horse’s body function and supplementing with a complete electrolyte which contains the right balance for the requirement of the horse is crucial.