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Can What You Feed Your Horse Build Muscle?

Updated: Nov 15, 2022

We all know that how we feed and manage our horse's diet can help to gain or lose weight... but what about muscle development? Can what we feed a horse impact his ability to build strong and healthy muscle?

The aim of feeding is to supply a balanced diet - get this right and you'll have a happy, healthy horse. Forage should make up the bulk of the horse's diet and then your bucket feed makes up for any shortfalls in the forage essentially balances what's missing in the forage.

However, there are times when your horse needs additional nutritional support - for example when he needs to gain condition. Also, can what you feed your horse help to build muscle as part of a rehabilitation programme? This is the subject independent Registered Equine Nutritionist Clare Macleod will be covering at the Horses Inside Out Conference in February 2023.

Nutrition for Rehab and Body Rebuilding

"Nutrition isn't everything, but there's nothing without it," says Clare.

This statement is especially true when it comes to nutrition for rebuilding the body. It's important to realise that nutrition alone will never build a strong, resilient, conditioned body - it's a correct training programme that will do that. However, nutrition provides the essential building blocks that are then put in place by the exercise programme.

In her presentation, Clare will clarify the key aspects of nutrition that support rehabilitation and body building after injury or time off. Also, what are the important factors and how to ensure we supply them in the diet.

"Nutrition is the fuel that drives the exercise that rebuilds the body," explains Clare.

"Although it's movement (exercise) that builds muscle, bones and joints - nutrition provides both the fuel for this process, and the building blocks for strong resilient body tissue."

Are supplements the way forward?

When you have a horse that's coming back into work after some time off, you may consider using one of the many supplements that claim to help build muscle. Clare will delve into the current evidence for the myriad of supplements that claim to build topline and support muscle development. This valuable information will help you decide whether it's worthwhile feeding a targeted supplement to build condition and muscle is worthwhile, or not.

Maintaining a healthy body and mind

Having your horse on box rest or on restricted exercise can be hugely challenging - balancing maintaining a healthy body condition and a healthy mind. Clare will be sharing her practical tips to your horse cope with both the physical and mental challenges when he's movement-restricted. Clare's easy to understand advice will help affected horses stay healthy in body and mind.

Empowering Horse Owners

On a day to day basis Clare spends most of her time helping horse owners who want to care for their horses to the best of their ability.

"Most clients come to me for consultancy because they are uncertain or confused about what is the best thing to feed their horse. There's nothing more satisfying than hearing back from a client who's put your advice into action and there's been a successful outcome. Just knowing that I've been able boost their knowledge and confidence around feeding and health makes my job worth while," says Clare.

Join us and Clare either online or in person at the Horses Inside Out Conference 2023.

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