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Re: *another* Electrolyting Post

> P.S. (to my last electrolyting post)  Susan, I am curious.  In two
> different studies I've heard that the people running the research guessed
> the winner early on. I've never heard them substantiate their claims as
> to choosing the winner, but I'd love to see the numbers.  There's so many
> variables...lameness, missing turns, bad equitation, maybe it's a well
> hydrated flat land horse on a mountain trail or visa versa.  I had a hard
> time completely accepting those claims.

I haven't heard that, I'd love to see the numbers, too.  When I was doing
the Tevis condition score research, I wrote down a list of horses that I
thought would complete versus get pulled before 60 miles, and I was about
90% right, but I sure as hell couldn't have predicted the winner.  Just as
you say, there are a bunch of variables to take into account.

 Does this mean it was the horse
> who stayed closest to it's average weight / hydration during the ride?  I
> think I read once with runners there's sort of an "optimum running
> hydration" that's a little lighter than just standing around.  Is the
> goal for these horses to be really water logged?    Just doesn't seem
> comfortable to me, but if that's what the horses who are winning are
> doing my ears are open.

Laurie Lawrence from Univ of KY did some work at the '92 ROC or somesuch
that showed horses did better that held their weight throughout the ride.  I
think that is just an indicator of how well the horse inherently eats and
drinks throughout the day, plus undoubtedly some thought and planning on the
part of the rider to provide eating and drinking opportunities.  So it's
kind of a chicken or the egg kind of thing.  A horse that eats and drinks is
undoubtedly going to be better hydrated, have better gut motility, probably
not be getting substrate-depleted and is going to have better blood flow
throughout the body, including to the organs and muscles (I know that sounds
funny, but it's true).  And a horse with all that going for him is going to
be a hard horse to beat if he otherwise has the right stuff.

So this is just speculation, but yeah, there are things you can look at in a
chem panel and from the weight scale to determine how well the horse is
taking care of himself, versus another horse that's running out of
groceries.  Could I predict a *winner* just based on that, wow, that would
be a good trick.  I don't think so, but maybe just pick out the horses that
will do well if nothing else catches on fire.

I don't think horses need to start really waterlogged, although I'm not sure
the human hydration levels necessarily apply the same way to horses---horses
produce alot more sweat, have alot more muscle mass and heat to dissipate
and so IMO need more reserve than humans.  From the data we've seen, most
horses don't start a ride water-logged, they're actually a bit dehydrated.
If they don't kick in and start drinking well early on, they're potentially
in trouble fairly early (ie, maybe 35-45 miles).  I think if you just do
everything you can to make sure the horse starts fully hydrated, that's a
big advantage over those that haven't.  Beet pulp/fiber the week before the
ride, e'lyting beforehand, plenty of hay the night before, flavoring the
water, whatever---they're all good tricks that'll fill up the tanks without
'waterlogging' the pony. :-)

Susan G

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