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Kentucky Equine Research Reports on the Importance of Hydration in Performance Horses

Kentucky Equine Research (KER) released a research report on the toll that water loss and electrolyte imbalance takes on performance horses. One study revealed that during a Three Day Event with mild environmental conditions, horses lost an average of 18.4 liters of water during the cross-country phase. Such significant water loss leads to electrolyte imbalances and slows down the recovery time needed after intense exercise, including racing, eventing, or endurance riding. In extreme cases, this type of water loss can lead to more serious problems such as tying up, where horses experience stiff, painful muscles in the back and rear.

According to the report, although it is theoretically possible to manage electrolyte balance with proper forage, most high performance horses require additional measures, including electrolyte supplements or pre-hydrating methods. One way to pre-hydrate is to include chia seeds in a horse’s diet. Chia seeds are high in fiber, and they absorb 10-12 times their own weight in water. Nutritionist Sara Vance explains how integrating soaked chia seeds into your feed regimen can help prolong hydration and retain electrolytes in body fluids. These benefits support better endurance and faster recovery for equine athletes.

Hydration is a constant concern within the entire industry, as even those horses performing under light to moderate working conditions can suffer from its effects. KER explains that maintaining proper hydration and electrolyte balance not only helps to strengthen equine performance, it improves their longevity.

Our goal at US Chia is to help horse owners achieve and maintain the best possible health for their animals. To read more about chia's nutrients and benefits, check out our US Chia Benefits page. To purchase our all-natural chia seeds, visit our online store.