A common misconception about topline is that it can be improved through exercise alone.
Lack of exercise – or the wrong type of work ‑ is often blamed for a poor topline.
While exercise will certainly alter existing muscles, building new muscles is a different story. The nutritional building blocks of muscle (essential amino acids) must be present in sufficient quantities and balanced with adequate calories to rebuild or augment muscle tissue.
In fact, if a horse is worked hard but his diet lacks sufficient amino acids, existing muscle mass can shrink. This can be a slippery slope in some situations, and as muscle atrophy sets in, the belief is that the horse needs to work even harder when in fact the fuel is not present (in the form of nutrition) to help support and repair tissue that is broken down with exercise.
Just like human athletes, athletic equine partners need more essential amino acids than maintenance horses to maximize the effects of training and allow the horse to look and feel its best.
Certain exercises are thought to improve topline include hill work, backing exercises, and those that encourage the horse to collect and arc the body.
These exercises can help condition muscles, but only if the diet is supporting the muscles through proper nutrition. Before you put your horse into a conditioning program, be sure that your diet is in balance and you’ll be much happier with the results.
To determine what nutrition best fits your horse’s needs, take the Topline Balance assessment for a customized nutrition plan.
Assessing Your Horse’s Topline – A horse’s topline — the muscles that support the spine, from neck to hindquarters — plays an important role in how a horse performs, looks and feels.
But identifying and assessing this area does take a few steps, so we’ve provided some easy guidance!
Click below to visit ToplineBalance.com and do an online assessment, with customized feeding recommendations specific to your horse’s needs!
Having a healthy topline is important for all horses whether they are pleasure horses, show horses or pets. If you go to the gym you will see everyone from the extreme athlete to people recovering from injuries to stay-at-home-moms and elderly people working toward a healthy and strong core for overall health. Horses are similar in that they need a strong core in order for the rest of their bodies to work to properly.
It’s been said that a healthy topline is the key to overall horse health and 7 out of 10 American Association of Equine Practitioners agree. The rest of your horse’s body can’t work to its maximum potential if his core isn’t strong. Even if you have an idle horse that’s recovering from injury or has had the winter off he will come back into work more safely and quickly if you keep up with a balanced diet that’s supportive of his topline health while he’s taking a break.
No matter what job your horse has, he will be feeling and/or performing his best if his overall health is the best it can be. That all starts with a diet that is supportive of his topline. Your lesson horses and trail horses may work just as hard as the elite show jumpers and you as their care taker want them feeling and looking their best no matter what their job is. Even the retired horse will age more gracefully and without compromising stature if their topline is maintained through diet.
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein which provide for the building of muscle supporting the topline. Feeding a feed that is specifically formulated to support these muscles in the correct ratios for your horse is the best way to support his overall health. Nutrena has solutions for all types of horses; the senior, the athlete, the easy keeper, and the maintenance horse with our SafeChoice and ProForce lines as well as with our Empower Topline Balance diet balancer. Talk with an equine specialist today to help determine the best feeding program for your horse to help support a strong and healthy topline.
To learn more, visit ToplineBalance.com.