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help building top line

Moderators: crossspur, gotothewhip
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Last activity 2013-12-11 12:44 PM
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Reg. Nov 2013
Posted 2013-11-16 7:55 PM
Subject: help building top line


Posts: 20
Bought a horse a couple months ago n he has completely fallen off at his top line, started feeding a higher protein feed to help but anyone have any other suggestions, help!!! Need to build up about 2 inch

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Reg. Feb 2013
Posted 2013-11-17 8:07 PM
Subject: RE: help building top line

Married to a Louie Lover

Posts: 3303
What does his workout regime look like?

Topline is aided by feed, but it is muscle after all. Long and low work, getting his hocks up under himself lifting his shoulders, then lateral work, circle work, etc. Hills if you have them are great for building butt muscle.
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Cowgirl Kat
Reg. Aug 2013
Posted 2013-11-18 3:20 PM
Subject: RE: help building top line

Elite Veteran

Posts: 999
Location: Sunny So Cal
THE Muscle Mass will help build it
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Reg. Oct 2007
Posted 2013-11-20 12:07 AM
Subject: RE: help building top line


Posts: 1990
Location: Warsaw, VA
Muscle takes amino acids to build. If the diet isn't high enough in amino acids, with lysine being at the top of the list, it does not matter how hard the horse is worked, how correctly he's worked, he will not, can not, build his topline to his genetic potential. It takes enough amino acids (ie lysine) to have muscle development appropriate for the amount of work..
?I give added Lysine and Animal Elemen Detox....
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coastal rider
Reg. Apr 2006
Posted 2013-12-11 12:44 PM
Subject: RE: help building top line


Posts: 139
Location: Abbotsford B.C. Canada
I suggest that as some mentioned you need to feed this horse up but you actually should consider using a combination feed that has protein (lysine as mentioned is part of that ) but what a lot of people forget is that good muscling takes a good supply of energy in the form of sugar and starch so in your training you can build the muscle protein and the muscle glycogen.  Glycogen is the energy source used for instant energy and horses like barrel horses need to have their muscles loaded with glycogen. Glycogen is the storage form of glucose (gas in the tank) and is made up of glcuose units hooked together like starch. as a metter of fact it is called animal starch.

You will have a hard time building that muscle unless you use a feed like a yearling growing grain ration at about 5-8 lbs a day plus good hay and do not be afraid to use 50% alfalf hay.  This way you will do what a thoroughbred breeder does and truly fit this horse up so it can run. Then you add in the long slow distance exercise with lots of trotting and gradually add in the speed work and now you are good to go.

People forget that horses like barrel horses do their work at such high speed when racing they actually probably do not burn fat aerobically with oxygen,  they switch to using this glycogen and burn it so fast without oxygen, it produces la. Also, a horse is not like a human and they cannot quickly reload muscle glycogen. 

If they get excited that raises heart rate and once heart rate is over 155 they move from burning fat to burning this glycogen so a nervous horse is further running down his muscle glycogen and he starts to get that wrung out angular look over time. He may fool you because some of these horses love to run and they will literally run on pure guts and heart but that just aggravates the situation even more and eventually they hit the wall and run out of gas.

A further point is that your fitting up can increase the heart size and capacity and plasma volume so the horse can deliver more oxygen and that delays the switch to burning glycogen and uses more fat. The problem is fat has lots more calories but takes more time to mobilize, and can only be burned aerobically. 

It takes a horse 72 hours to reload his muscle glycogen while it only takes a human 24 hours. They need some sugar and starch to do this.

So I suggest you feed this horse from the inside out with 5-8 lbs/day  of a colt growing ration that has a sweet feed component and if he gets too wild maybe dial in a bit lower sugar diet, but try and fit him out.  Do the riding to increase aerobic capacity. The glycogen will be burmed aerobically  at a lower hr of 155 or less, producing water and co2 and so will the fat which is great. Once the heart rate is over 155 he burns the glycogen mainly and produces lactic acid which burns the muscles and causes fatigue.  Endurance horses can go all day on a fat and fiber diet, because there is little la produced .  It is different for  a barrel horse especially  in full racing and travel and with the excitement element. It is all about the heart rate and fitness .

One last point, a dehydrated horse will not reload muscle glycogen well because it is stored as a hydrated  compound. Use an electrolyte program and warm water in winter.

I think you need a diet makeover and hopefully this will give you some idaes to talk to your feed supplier about. Speak to their nutrition expert directly.

Coastal Rider

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