Why We Feed Horse Supplements

 

 

  • Horses are social animals and have a traditional social organization; harem, mother matriarch, stallion, etc. They need to be in groups, and to interact with others. Being separated causes stress.

 

  • Horses are browsing grazers. They naturally eat a grass-based diet and they would spend most of the day feeding on a little and often basis. This forage diet is consistent with little change. This natural feeding regime is very sympathetic to the structure of a horse’s digestive tract. Horses produce strong stomach acids on a constant basis. Horses have a regulated appetite and do not become obese in their natural state.

 

  • Horses are athletes. Their flight instinct is highly developed, and the horse is naturally curious. A horse would naturally cover 20-30 miles/day. Domesticated horses live a very different lifestyle. They spend long hours confined in stalls or small paddocks, often separated from their peers, with limited access to the open space and grazing. Sport horses are subject to intensive exercise or intensive breeding programs. They are also subject to regular transportation for competition or racing. Moreover, modern feeding practices, such as meal feeding, are not well suited to the horse digestive tract, its relatively small stomach being designed for trickle feeding. In the same way, the use of concentrate and high starch diet is creating a digestive stress and is at the opposite of the horse natural feeding habit and digestive function.

 

  • Altogether, these practices will have a great impact on the horse welfare, as indicated by unwanted behavior: weaving, box walking, biting. Most of these behaviors being often associated to boredom.Ultimately,

 

 

  • Based on the anatomy of its digestive tract, the horse is classified as a non-ruminant herbivore. the digestive tract can be imagined as being divided into two main sections: the stomach and small intestine ,which can be compared to any monogastric’s digestive tract. A well-developed hindgut, which harbors a rich complex microflora and could be compared to a rumen in terms of fermentative capacity. While the food remains a relatively short time in the stomach and small intestine, the hindgut concentrates most of digestive transit time and plays a key role in the digestion plant cell walls thanks to a rich and specific microflora (yeast and bacteria).

 

 The digestive process begins in the mouth, with thorough chewing of food (mastication) to reduce the particle size before swallowing. Thorough chewing helps produces Saliva which helps to lubricate passage of the food bolus, it is rich in bicarbonate, which help to protect the vulnerable areas of the stomach from the acids produced during digestion. In the acidic conditions of the stomach, food is mixed thoroughly and the breakdown by digestive enzymes begins. The small intestine is the major site for the enzymatic digestion of starch, sugars, protein and fats, and for the absorption of many minerals such as calcium, zinc, copper and the fat-soluble vitamins. Passage through the small intestine is followed by movement into the hindgut complex, which consists of a caecum and large and small colon. the volume of the horse’s hindgut is huge in comparison to the rest of the digestive tract (see fig. 1). the colon alone represents around 50% of the total GI Tract volume. Once food reaches the hindgut its rate of passage slows considerably, and it may spend up to 72 hours in the hindgut, the site of microbial fiber digestion.

Marsyt, Inc

54 Brown St

Elizabethtown, PA 17022

410-241-1981

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---TriplePerformanceEquine.com’s supplements are never intended to replace the care of your veterinarian and an equine nutritionist.  It is not our expertise, scope or business model to diagnose or treat illness or injury. Please consult your veterinarian, nutritionist and trainer. The best care for your horse is the result of open communication between all members of its medical team.---