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horses that quit - clarification of blood analysis post

I've received a few comments to my original post on
this subject that made me realize I may have given the
wrong impression - I'd like to clarify a few points on
the blood analysis that was performed during the pre-ride
and on the subject in general:

The analysis was done for the purpose of research. The 
results/information were available during the ride for 
those that wanted it, but I do not believe it was used 
by anybody for the purpose of racing a faster race. 
It produced some very interesting scenarios regarding
electrolyte balance, dehydration and blood sugar - but
I don't think that any of this can correct mistakes that
may have been made during a ride, or alter the outcome of
a race. 

For the most part it comes down to the natural ability
of the horse, the level of conditioning and preparation,
and the pacing/strategy that a rider chooses. (plus a lot of luck,
but that's another topic...:)

There is not that much variation in the things we give
our horses during a competition - electroytes, water,
hay, grain, carbs, bran, etc - these things may help a horse do
the best that they can, but the real difference is in the
horse - and in the rider. Some horses can maintain a higher
level of hydration, some horses are more efficient at
utilizing energy reserves, some horse are capable of amazing
speed - some are not, and never will be, no matter what their level of
conditioning. And some riders are better than others
at optimizing a horse's performance on a given day.

No amount of blood testing and analysis will change this.
We can learn more about our horse's needs and deficiencies
by seeing what is happening when things go wrong, but I firmly
believe there's not much we can do in the course of a ride
to change or improve the horse's ability to perform.

I mentioned the wrist glucometers - yes, it would be interesting
to see what is going on, and give us numerical feedback on what our
horse's energy level is. But - really - the horse will tell
us exactly what his energy level is - is he forging? a little
dull? not trotting out with pizazz? less willing to catch
the horse in front, or stay with his partner? not eating
well at holds? We can slow down the pace, spend more time
at holds resting and eating, give electrolytes and probiotics,
but unless there is some modern
miracle food that I don't know of, there's no quick fix
for a tired or dehydrated horse. And knowing exactly what the
problem is/was may help a little next time, but it won't
reverse the existing situation, and it won't change a horse's
natural ability or level of fitness.

So in summary - I'm not advocating blood analysis during
an event to improve a horse's performance. Know your horse - 
ride, ask, listen, watch others, ride, ride, ride - 


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