Building muscles in horses begins by providing sufficient calories to: 1) maintain non-muscle tissue, 2) repair muscle damage caused by training and 3) build new muscle tissue. Legumes such as alfalfa hay or soybeans as well as supplements like Pavo Muscle Build provide excellent sources of protein that will assist this process.
Amino acids form the basis for muscle building, making diet an integral factor. A horse’s ability to gain muscle depends on consuming enough quality protein in their diet – including sources like lucerne hay, lupins and soybean meal. Feeds containing high percentages of protein should be avoided as they could contain low quality forms which do not offer all essential amino acids for building muscles.
Varying exercises used to develop your horse’s topline muscles is also key, as this helps avoid overstraining certain areas and foster new muscle growth. Trotting poles, cavalettis and walking up and down hills all aid in building topline.
A strong topline allows horses to keep their back up and round as they move, creating powerful gaits with more relaxed movement overall. Furthermore, having such a muscled top line makes carrying riders easier while also decreasing injury risks.
As training demands increase, so should dietary protein intake. This can be accomplished either through feeding a higher-quality concentrate feed with adequate amounts of protein or supplementing their diet with an additional product like Pavo MuscleBuild (see below), specifically tailored to supply essential amino acids for muscle building.
Muscles only function correctly when exercised regularly, making this an integral component of training in general and having a significant effect on how a horse moves. A healthy, well-muscled top line makes it easier for horses to coil their muscles when moving forward.
To build muscle, resistance exercises must be conducted with care to stimulate and strengthen individual muscles. While there are various resistance exercises that may be used, starting slowly and increasing intensity gradually to avoid overtraining or any potential damage to a horse’s joints is best practice.
As part of their recovery, horses need time between exercise sessions to rest their muscles. Exercising can strain muscles and generate waste products which need to be eliminated from the body – leaving no time for recovery could prove dangerous to its wellbeing.
To maximize muscle growth in horses, they require the correct nutrients in their diet. Quality pasture, hay and balancer pellets provide essential proteins needed for muscle building. Horses who need extra support with muscle growth such as young horses just starting training or sport horses coming off a rest period may benefit from supplementation like Pavo MuscleBuild which contains high levels of protein thanks to whey powder which acts as “bodybuilding food”, providing essential amino acids which build proteins and muscle tissue.
As is well-known, muscles require energy in the form of protein. A horse’s body produces amino acids for energy; however, high-quality feed like hay or muesli may provide additional protein. Quality depends upon type and source: for instance, diets consisting largely of cereal grains restrict lysine levels significantly reducing muscle building efforts for your horse.
Stress level of horses is also an important consideration. Horses in pain will not build muscle; when stressed, their bodies may create protective mechanisms which inhibit certain muscle cells from working efficiently and cause protective mechanisms to kick in as a form of protection from working efficiently. Muscle cells need consistent exercise stimulation in order to work more efficiently.
An in good physical condition horse is more effective at carrying its rider and less prone to injury. An equine nutritionist might advise adding weight or strengthening muscles for horses which have lost muscle tone due to pregnancy or exercise; or in cases where their condition needs improvement.
Pavo FibreBeet in combination with Pavo MuscleBuild is an excellent way to support your horse’s muscle growth. This supplement contains whey powder – well known in bodybuilding – as well as the amino acid complex L-carnitine which aids energy conversion in muscle cells and increases endurance, plus beta-alanine which prevents formation of lactic acid.
Horses can develop muscle through many means. Lunging and mounted exercise are crucial, but there is much more that can be done to strengthen the back and hindquarters. Lateral exercises like riding through curved poles or doing longe line work the muscles in the hindquarters and encourage long, low stance from your horse – ideal for developing their tummy muscles and getting his hind legs tracking up under him for improved balance both on the ground and when riding.
Reining back can also help strengthen the iliopsoas muscles (found in your horse’s back and abdomen) through concentric and eccentric contractions, making for effective training sessions for these muscle fibers when followed by fast trot starts – think of it like “plyometrics” for horses!
Walking up hills can also provide your horse with great exercise to strengthen both his back legs and his lungs.
Consistency is key when it comes to exercising your horse and developing its topline. To maximise gains from any training session, give him a post-workout protein supplement tailored specifically towards those muscles you’ve worked – this will promote optimal gains as well as aid his recovery process.