NUTRITION: Top Line



The topline of the horse refers to the muscle cover over the top of the horse’s neck, back, loin, and croup. Performance horses require well-developed toplines to provide balance and strength. Many factors contribute to the horse’s topline or lack of it, including nutrition, conformation, age, exercise, disease, and chronic back issues. Nutritional factors include body condition, because as the amount of fat tissue increases it will add depth to the horse’s topline as well. However, if we provide enough calories to maintain a body condition of 5 (moderate) or more in a horse that is in regular work, and don’t supply enough quality protein, the topline can be inadequate to provide optimal muscular performance.


Protein quality depends on essential amino acids. The three most important amino acids, also known as limiting amino acids, for the horse are lysine, threonine, and methionine. Growing horses and horses in work need more of these amino acids for muscle growth and repair. They are called limiting amino acids because if they are not provided in the diet, they can’t be synthesized at an adequate amount in the body, and muscle growth may be limited.


Many mature horses in work are provided large amounts of hay and pasture. Adequate body condition can be maintained with primarily forage, but in many cases topline can be improved with a simple feeding change. Conventional horse feeds or concentrates are designed to meet nutrient requirements when fed at a minimal amount of 0.5% of body weight daily. Many sport horses are fed less than this amount because of their more efficient metabolism and large amounts of forage fed. This results in shortfalls in amino acids, minerals, and vitamins in the horse’s diet. Because the digestion of protein or absorption of essential amino acids for forages is less than half of concentrates, it results in inadequate essential amino acid intake.


Feeding a few pounds per day of a regular horse feed won’t provide adequate essential amino acids for many active horses, and a good topline will not be achieved. The way to ensure an adequate supply of essential amino acids is to include an energy dense balancer pellet in your horse’s diet, like Pink Rose Organix Equine Boost & Balance. Balancer pellets are designed to meet the protein, mineral, and vitamin requirements when fed at small amounts along with a long stem fiber source (hay or pasture). A balancer pellet will provide the required amount of essential amino acids to your horse’s diet, and you should see an improvement of the topline in 45-60 days.


Pink Rose Organix Equine Boost & Balance is a USDA Certified Organic feed for an optimized digestive system and healthy hindgut. A delicious, prescriptive blend of organic proteins, oils, and fiber that works with your pasture or hay to boost digestive efficiency and balance the diet. Boost & Balance focuses on hindgut function; driving animal health, attitude, and positive, cool energy!