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[RC] elyte weight - Ridecamp Guest

Please Reply to: ti tivers@xxxxxxx or ridecamp@xxxxxxxxxxxxx

I have seen a recomendation by Ridgeway and Merlin that for a 100 mile ride
traveling at about 11mph the horse will require about 2lbs (1kg) of
electrolytes. I've also done the maths myself based on reported sweat volumes
and electrolyte concentrations in sweat - sure enough it seems right. But it
sounds like a large amount to me.

Yea, it is a HUGE amount.  A horse will replace much of what he loses in
food, if he is a good eater.  In addition to calculating the projected
losses in sweat, you also need to calculate what your horse is aprt to
eat during that time.  Many horses eat so much more on a ride that they
will adequately replace their e-lyte loss in food.  Some others need a
bit more help, but NOWHERE near what their sweat losses are.

I personally think that we have a tendency to go so far overboard
administering electrolytes that we are causing other problems.  I don't
e-lyte any of my horses unless they reach a point that they tell me they
are in need of some--by wanting to lick salt blocks back at the trailer,
etc.  I've ridden several horses that I have not e-lyted at all, and
that showed no interest in e-lytes, even when ridden quite
competitively.  I realize that this does not work for all horses, but I
firmly believe that we need to be thinking of replacing small
increments, not the massive doses that many horses are receiving.


This is correct. In setting a world record for 100 miles in the Abu Dhabi 
desert we used 2 ounces of elytes at every VC and mid-loop of every long loop. 
Even that may have been too much. Some highly competitive EU riders are using 
no elytes at all.

The best studies on elyte replacement have been done in human sport and those 
studies often warn of overdoing both water and elyte loading. High 
concentrations of salts will draw water out of the circulation, adding to any 
dehydration problem. On the other hand, overhydration tends to be a bigger 
problem than dehydration in many cases.

If you are going to properly elyte and hydrate a horse, the first thing you 
need to know is how much weight the horse is losing during the exercise--for 
that you need a scale. The next thing you have to consider is how much water 
the horse is consuming--has to be measured in order to get the necessary salt 
intake properly calculated.

Remember that a good portion of weight lost during a 100 is glycogen 
depletion--not salt depletion.

Bottom line is don't go crazy with any theories no matter who proclaims them. 
The level of accurate knowledge in equine athletic nutrition is very low across 
the board. Observe what appears to be working for competitive riders and sneak 
up on those dosages gradually with your own horse. When you have a horse 
performing at optimum, in your estimation, don't fix what ain't broke just 
because some Grand Poobah has a big untested theory floating around out there.



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