Water Alone, Can Cause More Harm
| Nick Bergren
Most of you know, there is a fine balance of water and electrolytes needed, for appropriate cooling of a horse’s body. An imbalance or a depletion of electrolytes, can lead to premature muscle-fatigue, reduced stamina, muscle cramps, poor exercise recovery, tying up, and thumps.
Horses sweat at very high rates (up to 3 to 4 gallons per hour!) which is great for keeping their body from over-heating, but the downside is the heavy loss of electrolytes and body fluids. So what are electrolytes exactly? — They’re minerals that are dissolved in body fluids, and are vital for a wide range of body functions such as the regulation of all body fluids, nerve impulses, muscle health, heart function, movement of food and water through the gut, and the filtering of waste through the kidney and liver. You probably know that sodium is somehow involved, but what else, and what do they do?
- Sodium (27% ) helps balance the body water levels and maintain blood pressure.
- Chloride (56%) is required to maintain the balance of acids and bases.
- Potassium (15%) helps balance the fluid inside the cells and is vital for optimum muscle, heart, and kidney function. Potassium loss decreases muscles’ strength, tone, and ability to contract.
- Calcium is essential for maintaining normal, controlled skeletal and heart muscle contractions and excessive losses can result in a condition called ‘heaves’. Calcium also builds bones and teeth and contributes to normal function of heart, nerves, muscle and blood clotting.
- Magnesium is important for normal muscle function, bone formation, and reducing nervous behavior.
With each electrolyte having a specific function, an imbalance or a loss of a particular electrolyte can affect the horse in a variety of ways, and it’s good to familiarize yourself with symptoms. For example, the loss of sodium, chloride, potassium, or magnesium greatly disrupts the functioning of nerve and muscle tissue. The loss of both sodium and potassium rapidly decreases thirst and appetite and so actually delays re-hydration. The loss of calcium and magnesium can lead to ‘thumps’.
Preloading of electrolytes, 1-4 hours before competition, can increase time of reaching fatigue, by up to 23%. However, if they’re administered any earlier, the extra nutrients will simply be excreted, before they’re needed.
When administering electrolytes, it is vital that they be administered with water. Administering large single doses of electrolytes, such as an oral paste, can cause further dehydration. Likewise, trying to rehydrate a horse with water alone will also delay the hydration process. The body monitors and controls fluid volume by responding to the sodium concentration of body fluids. A decrease in sodium concentration due to electrolyte loss will signal to the horse that it is not thirsty. Giving water to a horse that has just undergone a lot of sweating will dilute the sodium concentrations further and cause the horse to stop drinking.
This is where Electrolyte Powders and Horse Quenchercome in, to save the day! Electrolyte powders are created to mix with water, to replenish your horse’s mineral levels. But what if your horse won’t drink? Well, you lead them to it, and Horse Quencher will make them drink it! — No, really!
We’ve all had that one horse that refuses to drink when in a new barn, when the water tastes different, when the weather changes, when traveling…Wouldn’t it be nice to get your horse to drink water on command? Add Horse Quencher to water, stir, and serve. It has a 99% acceptance rate, and it’s 100% guaranteed. Horse Quencher is not an electrolyte supplement, but it pairs well with them, and horses love it! I know it sounds a little far-fetched, so go ahead, read the reviews and testimonies!