Horses mean a lot to Ilona Mäkinen ‒ they are a way of life. Horses have defined the family’s daily lives for more than 25 years. With both ups and downs, their lives revolve around horses.
There have been over dozens of horses in our stable over the years and currently there are 15 of them. All of them are trotting horses, most of which are horses in training or competing, and two of which are breeding mares. Our days revolve completely around horses. We take good care of them at home, so that they can perform as well as possible in training and racing. Training and caring for horses is a form of problem solving. Sports horses usually have the type of problems that we humans can solve, in order to get to the best possible result.
My son Esa and Sämpylä
Graceful Swamp and Ilona Mäkinen
You can think of a horse as a kind of battery. I strive to recharge the battery with positive care and of course all the necessary complementary feeds, whilst trying to get out all the negative charge from the battery, like stress, stomach problems or muscle cramps
For the past six years, the stables’ horses have run more than a million euros from the racetracks. The stable’s outstanding star is our Derby-winning Graceful Swamp, better known as Sämpylä, that dominated almost all age classes in races. With 29 victories in 36 races, the winnings were over 400 000 euros. Other great successes over the years have been for example Global Option ‒ with 32 wins and a record of 11,6aly, Classic St Pat ‒ with 31 wins and a record of 11,1aly and the top of the line mare Demi De Veluwe ‒ with a high end record of 11,7ake (2100m autostart. Demi already has four foals, so we’re really looking forward to future trotting races. We also have one Sipori-related Finnhorse in the stable, 3-year-old Itte Juokales, that seems to be a very promising beginner.
The biggest secret to our success over the years has been that we’ve kept our horses fit and healthy throughout the season. Racehorses need various nutrition supplements in addition to good quality hay, oats and complete feed. Sometimes we take breaks as well to let the horse’s body cleanse and to maintain the supplements effectiveness.
Vitamin E-, B-, D- and C are the most important
Demi de Veluwe and foal Dodii (Summer 2019)
The horse is naturally a pray animal. Only five minutes after birth they’re already standing up, and after another five, they’re already running. The more a horse trains and spends energy, the more important the overall nutrition intake is, as well as muscle maintenance and rest ‒ just like humans. Timing the diet and using the right complementary feeds are also important factors to consider before and after strains, during an illness and during recovery.
Ilona Mäkinen feeding Graceful Swamp. Photographer: Erkki Kivistö
I use vitamin E for muscular sports horses throughout the year and more intensified during wintertime when the horses are not grazing. Vitamin B is very important for racehorses, which we give regularly and in effective doses. The intake of amino acids and vitamin B is intensified whenever competitions approaches. I’ve fed Vimix Plus and Vimepros products, which have higher vitamin B values than usual. These are great products for the starting period and for recovery. Vitamin D is added during the winter and vitamin C is given in two-week periods, followed by one-week pause. Vitamin C is useful during autumn when the immune system needs strengthening.
I’ve used a liquid product equal to Equi-Haemolyn before to improve the immune system and blood counts. Hoof’s product seems to have a higher additive level and is tens of euros more affordable. It has been very effective and the horses have enjoyed it as well.
Over the years, the importance of a racehorse’s stomach and intestines well-being has constantly been emphasized. It gets more attention and good quality nutrition supplements are used to keep them healthy. You can tell by the horse’s inner and outer general appearance, as well as on the performance, when the stomach and intestines are healthy.
I’ve used Hoof’s Vizyme especially when there have been problems with the stomach and before transportation. It’s been nice to notice that the horses have not been stressed at all after that. We’ve given Hoof’s Calphovit complementary feed especially to foals. It seems to be tasty, since they gladly eat it, and we don’t have to give as much of it as we would have to of other products.
I´ve used Hoof’s products in our stable since the beginning of 2020. It feels like these products are very effective. Small amounts are sufficient, since the products have a high level of active ingredient concentrations. The quality-price ratio is also on point. It’s important for competing racehorses that Hoofs products have no withdrawal period. The products smell good and apparently taste good as well, since the horses happily eat it.
I gladly recommend Hoof’s quality products
Ilona Mäkinen, Trotting coach and horsecarer