The high intensity sport of campdrafting places great physical demands on campdraft horses. In order to excel in the upper levels of competition, a well managed diet, training and healthcare regime will assist in supporting your horse’s performance.
Firstly, your horse’s diet must provide them with the energy they need to train, compete and recover at their optimum. A balanced ration should include unlimited access to forage, with low-sugar, high-fibre concentrates or supplements added for horses in regular training and competition.
To ensure your horse maintains a healthy body weight, you should routinely check their body condition score. For horses in moderate to intense work, a body condition score of 4.5-5 is recommended. A campdraft horse in this healthy range will have lean muscle mass and minimal fatty deposits.
Secondly, campdraft horses are required to be agile and sure-footed. Training should integrate exercises to test your horse’s responses, including stopping and turning at speed, along with opportunities to practice working cattle.
Shorter exercise sessions several times per week are best to keep your horse fit and engaged in their work. Training should include low intensity exercise, like trail riding, and at least one day of rest per week. Be sure to always warm up and warm down your horse, including on the day of competition, to assist in preventing injury.
Finally, maintaining your horse’s health is essential to improving their performance. Routine dental and hoof care, along with worming and vaccinations, ensure that your horse can perform at their peak. You should document your horse’s vital signs on a regular basis, so you can easily identify any change that warrants a check up by your veterinarian. Remember, prevention is always better than cure.