Monday, February 28, 2011

Electrolytes 101

The electrolyte panel at the ECTRA Annual Convention was the reason I got out of bed on my one day off of the week and drove to New London.

Electrolytes confuse me and I know that figuring out electrolytes is one of the keys to doing better with John at the rides.

I took six pages of notes, have a ton more questions and the lead to some great reading material that will better help me understand electrolytes.

Here is a brief synopsis:

- Horses with a potassium deficiency will have trouble pulsing down. This might be a key to helping John pulse down (that and getting him to relax and focus which I think is a bigger piece of the puzzle than potassium)

- Horses do not have a thirst reflex like we do - you know when you feel thirsty after working. That is why we give them electrolytes, so that they get thirsty and drink.

- The US Endurance team over-electrolyted their horses at one competition in Dubai (many years ago) and ended up having horses that were way too hydrated and nearly passed out. Its important to know your horse and the climate you are competing in before electrolyting.

- Having several types of free choice salt available is important to horses.

- Horses conditioning and working at home probably do not need electrolytes - just during competition.

- I'm going to start giving the electrolyte Lyte-Now within two miles of the hold/finish of rides I am on - this was the recommendation of one of the panelists who has competed for years.

Long story in a condensed version. I learned a lot and still have a lot more to learn!

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