Journal of animal physiology and animal nutrition

Feeding practice and influence on selected blood parameters in show jumping horses competing in Switzerland.

PMID 25354150


The aim of this study was to compare the nutritional management of show jumping horses in practice with recommendations from the literature. Additionally, the effects of these feeding practices on several blood metabolic parameters before and after exercise were studied. Blood samples were collected in the field from 27 different horses at 71 trials on the level M1 to S2 show jumping competitions in Switzerland and questionnaires on feeding practice of the studied horses were evaluated. The questionnaires revealed that during training and on tournament days horses received on average 3.1 kg of concentrate per day (min. 2.0 kg, max. 6.6 kg) divided into two to three meals. The horses were fed on average 6.9 kg of roughage per day (min. 4.0 kg, max. 13.0 kg). Additionally, it was observed that the horses received the last meal on average 6 h 10 min (min. 1 h 50 min, max. 12 h 30 min) before the start of the first show jumping turn, respectively, 7 h 30 min (min 1 h 50 min, max. 13 h 0 min) before the second turn. Seven horses (35%) had access to hay waiting in the trailer between two turns. The statistical analysis revealed no significant influence of the concentrate feeding time point on lactate, triglyceride and insulin levels, but a significant influence on free fatty acids (FFA) and blood glucose concentrations. Roughage feeding of the show jumping horses 2-4 h prior to exercise revealed the most remarkable changes in blood parameters during the show jumping course. These results received under field conditions should be approved in future under standardized conditions.