Discussion between Gayle Ecker and Bonnie Snodgrass...relayed through Teddy Lancaster

Teddy: I vote for Perform 'N Win...ask Gayle Ecker herself....the person who did the research and developed it.... (Gayle, help!!)

Gayle: Yes, I worked with Mike Lindinger to develop the Perform'N Win at the University of Guelph as part of the post-graduate research requirements. I developed this for a very specific reason. With over five years of research, studying over 500 horses, and over 15 events, it was blindingly obvious that many, many of the electrolytes were not doing the job for endurance and eventing horses. Most of them were not designed for "healthy, exercising" horses, but rather horses with a disease process. The electrolyte losses are very different. We tapped into the latest research on human sports drinks and as important, the oral rehydration solutions used on children suffering from dehydration/starvation as quick absorption is paramount for
effectiveness and recovery. With the research we found that the horses recovered plasma volume faster and the potassium was entering the muscle faster with the Perform'N Win when measured with radioisotopes in the muscle. The gastric emptying was also very fast and we could detect it in the blood in as little as 10 minutes, with max rates at 30-45'.

Bonnie: I rode in and completed an easy 25 mile ECTRA ride this past Saturday. The temps were in the 80's by start time and hit mid 90's by mid-day. The humidity was extremely high.

Gayle: This is a potentially lethal combination at this level. Especially for horses that are not highly fit, or are not acclimatized (few would be), or if remnants of the winter coat were still on the horse. Plus most people don't cool the horse out enough as they underestimate the effect of humidity on the horse. Even a fit, acclimatized horse is unable to cool itself under these conditions (takes a long time and temperature increase in the blood is scary!) as we found out with our Olympic research on heat stress in horses.

Bonnie: There is nothing on the label as to ingredients/quantities and I'm really wondering if I should switch
electrolyte brands so I am using one with a known content.

Gayle: Contact the manufacturer and ask them for the ingredients and the research behind the development of the product. That will help you assess the quality of the supplement.

Bonnie: electrolyte brands, contents, quantities of contents per oz and your suggestions for dosages during these hot, humid rides. I live in the sticky mid-Atlantic area and must deal with this weather in order to compete.

Gayle: This is difficult as there are so many factors here. Be careful about using "recipes" on any horse as there are way too many things that are different. Instead, if you want to learn and progress in the sport and do the best for your horse, then take time to understand the theory behind the use of electrolytes. Here are some notes I made for another rider.
Have a great ride season,
Gayle Ecker
Bonnie: My horse is doing realy well on the Perform'N Win but I wanted to check with you about the dosage.

Gayle: I'm glad that wrote to me and asked this question. If your horse is doing well on this level of dosing, then carry on. I would think your horse is eating well during the ride too. For many horses, one ounce per hour would not be enough as the PNW has the energy sources in it as well as the electrolytes. Most horses are doing well with 2-4 ounces per hour depending on the speed (higher sweat losses,and less time to absorb from stomach), the heat(higher sweat losses), the humidity(higher sweat losses, lower gut function), how much they eat during the ride (good eaters may need less electrolytes), what they eat during the ride (easily digested forms of carbohydrates like beet pulp or extruded products mean they are getting more electrolytes too, except usually not enough sodium just from the feed), and the type of electrolyte product (how available the electrolytes are to the horse, not all are bioavailable), and transport stress (pre-existing dehydration and electrolyte deficit), weight of saddle and rider (heavier means more work per mile), type and build of horse (high strung or bulky muscles), were they pre-loaded with electrolytes prior to starting the ride (start to drink sooner and absorb more electrolytes earlier in the ride, so less need to play catch up), etc. etc., etc. So when people ask me how much, do you see my dilemma? :) If you think about dosing an amount for the next hour, this can help you keep the horse balanced. For example, you preload with 2-4 ounces split into two doses prior to the start. This will get most horses to the first vetcheck (depending on all those factors). When the horse comes in and drinks, then give the electrolytes for the next hour of the ride. If the temperature is going up, or this part of the ride is through sand, then you may need to give a bit more for this hour. The horse comes to the vetcheck and drinks, and you give some for the next hour. During this vetcheck though, the horse has extra time to eat an extruded product or beet pulp and the next part of the trail, you are going to slow down for a bit. Then the horse may not need as much as what you gave at the last vetcheck, unless you
know the conditions will be getting tougher as you go and then stick to the same amount. Do you see where I am going with this? Many people decide that they will give 2 ounces each vetcheck, but so many conditions change during the ride and if we want to do better with our horse, we need to be flexible too. Also, with the PNW, you should see improvements in hydration after 30-45' of consuming electrolytes and water (unless the horse was A before). This is when the peak absorption should have been and if there is no change, then there is a need for more water and electrolytes. If you can guage the one ounce per liter of water consumed, there is little risk of causing problems, as there would be if you were giving more than one ounce
for every liter of water consumed.

Bonnie: I'm careful about dosing before a trailer trip; the night before a race and during (provided regular drinking takes place and the horse is running comfortably) etc.

Gayle: This is usually a very effective practice for most horses as it keeps them drinking. When they are drinking well, there is less risk in giving electrolytes.

Bonnie: But does the 1 oz. of powder an hour mixed in a syringe sound like too much accompanied by drinking out of their 5 gal. pails with 1 or 2 oz. mixed in there as well?

Gayle: No, actually, if they are getting one ounce by syringe and another 1-2 from the bucket, then they are probably where they should be until you start going faster, or it is hotter, or food intake, etc.

Bonnie: Can too much put them out of balance or does it just exit the system?

Gayle: Yes, there can be two problems. I do a talk called OverElectrolyted or UnderWatered? Both have their problems and the balance is the optimal situation. Too much water when electrolyte-depleted, and this dilutes the blood and can cause a horse to have a problem. I have some case studies where the horse was not receiving much electrolytes and had a long drink. When I pulled the blood again, the plasma concentrations had dropped considerably. The rider chose not to give electrolytes for fear the horse would not eat, and within half an hour, they were calling for the vet. Fluids with electrolytes administered and the horse looked just fine 90' later! Balance! Too much electrolytes with a horse that is not drinking can cause the water
to be pulled into the gut. The water is pulled by the osmotic draw of the salts, and pulls fluid from the other tissues, namely the muscles (heart could be included). Dehydrated cells don't work well, as the water is
critical for the metabolic reactions. Again, Balance is needed!

Bonnie: thanks so much for all the help. It has been invaluable for me.

Gayle: Your welcome! Hope this was helpful for understanding the theory behind the supplementation. I know it is a difficult area for many people, but relying on a "recipe" for dosing will never take you as far as supplementing according to the conditions. I have people calling me that say, "Well I gave him what he always gets, and he got into trouble! It must be the electrolytes/clover/new feed/maple leaves, (insert your favourite target here)" What they don't take into account is the fact that the horse did not drink well on the trailer because his buddy was not there, the feed store ran out of their usual feed, so they are using something else, the beet pulp was low, so they did not use as much, the new groom did not add as much water to the beet pulp as usual, the weather was not hot but is was very
humid,............. VBG!