There are three core principles when aiming to stimulate muscle development, and these principles largely apply across species:
- Positive Energy Balance: In simple terms there must be more calories going in than are being spent otherwise there isn’t sufficient energy to ‘fuel’ exercise, recovery, or muscle development.
- Increasing Plain of Exercise: The body is adapted to do what it has always done, so muscle development will only be stimulated if there’s an increase in demand, which can be achieved through frequency, intensity, duration and type of exercise. Best practice is to have a thought for this as part of a long-term plan, with gradual increases over time that allow for adaptation without compromising recovery. It’s easy to overdo a regime if increasing across all these factors at once, so care must be taken in the planning of a strategy.
- Quality Protein: The ‘building blocks’ for protein synthesis and tissue development must be in sufficient quantity, otherwise it’s not possible to repair or produce tissue. It’s not enough to look at overall protein, as all amino acids are not built equal and there are only a handful of essential amino acids that can be used for this process – hence emphasis on quality protein, not just quantity.
It's essential that all these factors are reviewed together as muscle development will only be achieved when all three are correct.
It’s also essential to adequately manage the recovery process to avoid muscle soreness, and to improve the effectiveness of training and feeding regime. Just like in humans when you hit the gym in the first week of January after a long Christmas break, it’s possible for horses to suffer from ‘DOMS’ (delayed onset muscle soreness) and it’s easy for us to forget that they need consideration for recovery just as much as they do for consideration of the exercise that they do.
Muscle Builder and Muscle Aid can be used individually or in combination to assist with muscle development and recovery:
- Muscle Builder has been formulated to support the development of muscle of horses in work
- Muscle Aid has been formulated to support muscle health and general muscle wellbeing of horses in hard work, or those with muscle problems
Muscle Builder contains Lysine, Leucine and HMB. This product has been designed to promote muscle growth, by combining the essential amino acid Lysine with key branch chain amino acid Leucine. Lastly, HMB is included to help reduce muscle break down and soreness which can hinder muscle development.
Muscle Aid contains L-carnitine, Astaxanthin, Vitamin E, Organic selenium and HMB. This product has been designed to promote muscle health and an effective recovery from exercise. The combination of powerful antioxidants and HMB offers cutting edge support for the equine athlete prone to muscle soreness.
Which do I choose?
- Young weak horse struggling with training regime: Muscle Builder
- Older horse returning to work following a break: Muscle Builder
- Horse with a myopathy: Muscle Aid
- Horse which has a history of tying up: Muscle Aid
- Maximum support for muscle soreness: Muscle Aid + Muscle Builder
Not sure what may be best for your horse? Get in touch with our nutrition team to discuss!
Table 1: Daily Costs and Inclusion Rates of Muscle Builder and Muscle Aid
|Muscle Builder (g per 27.6g per day, for 500kg horse for maintenance)
|Muscle Builder (g per 55.2g per day, for 500kg horse for muscle growth)
|Muscle Aid (g per 36g per day, for 500kg horse)
|Active Ingredient Knowledge
|Branched chain amino acid that promotes protein synthesis which is needed for muscle growth.
|A metabolite of leucine that is thought to reduce muscle breakdown via a negative feedback mechanism.
|The first rate limiting essential amino acid, which together with leucine are the primary amino acids present in muscle tissue
|A good source of protein that promotes palatability
|A study found feeding L-Carnitine in combination with Astaxanthin to horses reduced muscles enzymes in blood samples following exercise.
|Natural Vitamin E (IU)
|Vitamin E is an essential antioxidant which is incorporated into cell membranes to protect cells from free radical damage.
|A nutraceutical with powerful antioxidant properties that together with L-carnitine has been shown to reduce muscle enzymes in bloods samples following exercise.
|Organic Selenium (mg)
|Needed to produce the most vital intra-cellular antioxidant Glutathione Peroxidase.
|Cost per small tub
|Tub Size (kg net weight)
|Number Days Supply
|Cost per day
(cost of tub divided by number of days supply)