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Exercise on an emtpy stomach?

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suz

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I was wondering if I should be exercising my guy on an empty stomach (well, with just his vitamins - no hay) or should I let him eat some grass and/or hay about an hour before round penning/lunging?

Thanks.

p.s. Empty stomach means in the morning first thing before any hay, just some vitamins, maybe some grass.
 
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minih

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We have been coming in from work in the afternoons and exercising our show horses on empty stomachs and we do not feed them until about 30 minutes after their workout. They have only had a little hay during the day and that is in the morning. Have not had any problems for about 7 or 8 years doing this.
 

kaykay

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We never excercise on an empty belly. They always have a little something. If you read articles on ulcers this is a big cause. The stomach acid eats away at the belly with hard exercise on an empty belly. This is just my personal opinion and everyone has to do what they are comfortable with
 

Marty

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Touchy subject because you are in Florida where you have such heat going on too that factors in.

Like right after their breakfast or dinner grain feedings? No.

What I did in Florida was after their grain I would give them plenty of time to digest that but also give them hay to nibble on as well thoughout the day so their stomachs would never really be completely empty. Sure I would take them out to exercise while they were eating hay. Just not do it on a gut full of grain. I always found myself having to cool them out twice as long as the exercise session down there. A pain, but necessary.
 

Kim

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I do prefer not to work my horses on an empty stomach, although when I have to, it certainly hasn't caused any problems. The horses are at my parents' house, and on the evenings I go there to work them, I will call my mom to see if she's home and available to go out and throw them about half of their dinner hay a couple hours before I will be there.

I do notice a difference in their energy levels and willingness to work if they've eaten prior, and overall, I seem to have better results with a training session if they have had something to eat since their morning feeding.
 

Margo_C-T

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Actually, current research supports what Kaykay said-that it is not a good idea for horses to do significant work on an empty stomach, for the reasons she cited.

If you consider how a horse's digestive system is set up, this makes sense to me. Now, shortly after a FULL feed, or a signficant grain/concentrate feed? No, a horse should NOT be asked to work hard....but there is published evidence now that if it's been HOURS since a horse had anything to eat, it would be best to give a light (hay) feed an hour or so ahead of the time you'll be working the horse, so that there IS something for the stomach acid to 'work on' ( besides the inner lining of the stomach )while the horse is worked. The horse will most likely feel better, have a better attitude and ability to focus, too.

When I was showing, I NEVER took a food (or water--even worse!)-deprived horse into the ring to show, as I have heard and seen some do. It is unkind to the horse, and may well be downright dangerous to their intestinal, and therefore, their overall, health. The harder the workout, the more important proper consideration to this, and to a proper cooldown afterwards, becomes.

Margo
 

Charlotte

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I'm glad to see the advocates of not working horses hard on an empty stomach. Besides the ulcer issues as mentioned, low blood sugar symptoms may show up and some of those can be severe and dangerous. The symptoms can be anything from low energy and lack of desire to work to collapse and seisure like activity.

Of course a horse isn't likely to feel real energetic with a big belly full of hay either. (he might rather take a nap!) We just have to work out a compromise feeding schedule.

Charlotte
 

ThreeCFarm

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I try not to work horses on an empty stomach either, due to ulcers and a lack of energy as compared to working a horse that has eaten. I wouldn't think working a horse on an empty stomach every now and then would cause a problem, it would be doing it all the time. I usually work my horses in the morning, so they get their grain and I go ahead and put their morning hay in their stall too. I wait an hour, then go back and work them.
 

Leeana

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Well i normally either work the horses right before i turn them out in the morning (about 11am), after breakfast or when i bring them in at night (they are in a drylot, but do have hay spread out to "graze" on). Really depends upon how the day is going, i try to avoide working them on a emty stomach but i also do not work them right after eating either. I give them some time.
 
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