A healthy horse starts with a healthy gut. We at Cavalor firmly believe this. Did you know that, with just a few simple things to keep in mind, you can prevent many intestinal problems like colic? Read about our 6 ways to prevent equine digestive problems here.
1. Horses like routine
Establish a fixed daily routine. Horses are creatures of habit. Changes to their environment (feed, yard, training) can result in a disturbed intestinal flora causing colic or diarrhea. They don’t mind eating the same feed every day. Unlike us humans, horses don’t get bored with the “same old thing”. By giving your horse a routine, you create peace in his mind and in his gut!
2. Changes coming soon? Preparation is key
Moving yard or changes to diet or management are sometimes necessary or unavoidable, so carry these out with preparation and thought. For example: In the spring, plan the transition to pasture gradually. Like with other feed changes, it is best to spread the transition out over 7 to 10 days.
3. No fasting
In their natural habitat, horses graze on forage all day long, and because of this the stomach constantly produces gastric acid. To prevent this acid from attacking the stomach lining, the stomach must be kept full which can be done by feeding the horse many (small) portions of forage throughout the day. A hay net or slow feeder can help to ensure that your horse doesn’t finish eating too quickly. This is good for his gastrointestinal health.
4. Roughage first, then concentrates
Good and sufficient forage makes up the basis of every ration. Feed your horse forage about 30 minutes to an hour before feeding him concentrates. Eating forage will produce lots of saliva, which will buffer and neutralize gastric acid.
5. Don’t bulk up with concentrates
Does your horse need a little more bulk? More concentrates may not be the solution; on the contrary, these can disturb the gut flora and cause digestive problems. In many cases, it provides lots of “quick” energy. Does your horse need more body mass? First, check your forage: does it contain enough nutrients? If necessary, supplement the ration with a high-fat balancer, like Cavalor VitAmino. Looking for advice? Talk to a nutritionist to configure the right ration for your horse, or calculate your horse’s needs yourself with mycavalor.
6. Less is more
Don’t overdo it with concentrates. Most horses don’t need a lot of concentrate feed. Start from the needs of your horse, in line with our motto, “feed as they need”. Also, divide concentrate feeds over several meals. It has been scientifically proven that horses are better off with several smaller meals per day, as their stomachs and small intestines are relatively small. Smaller portions of concentrates per meal ensure slower emptying of the stomach and better digestion in the small intestine. This will reduce glucose and insulin spikes in the blood and prevent the passage of undigested starches into the large intestine.
Interested in learning more about gut health?