Digestive function

Digestive Function

Grain free and low NSC feeds for improved digestive functions and nutrient absorption, while maintaining insulin sensitivity and gut function.

Why are modern horses getting sick

Have you ever wondered why it is that what we feed our horses can so easily and so often make them sick or change their behaviour? Many common equine diseases and problems including colic, tying-up, laminitis, cushing's syndrome, acidosis, poor appetite, unruly behaviour, poor performance and developmental orthopaedic diseases are all caused by, exacerbated by or can be linked back somehow to what we are feeding our horses. We can find at least some of the answers to this question when we look at what horses eat in their natural environment and what we feed our horses in their somewhat artificial, domesticated environment. First we must ask ourselves, how is what a horse eats in it natural environment different to what a horse eat in a closely managed domesticated environment different? Read More

Equine Metabolic Syndrome

Equine metabolic disorders - particularly Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS) and insulin resistance? have received a lot of attention in the Equine press of late.  EMS is the name that has been adopted to describe conditions including peripheral Cushing's syndrome, pseudo-Cushing's syndrome, hypothyroidism, and insulin resistance syndrome. Less common names included omental Cushing's syndrome or central obesity.  EMS  is characterised mostly by insulin resistance. Read More

Acidosis, is there an alternative to starch

Before domestication, wild horses grazed a diet of mixed pasture species; Horses have upper and lower teeth which allow them to select a variety of fresh, leafy herbage wherever possible.  Since horses have small stomachs, wild horses spend about 65% of their time trickle feeding, ie eating small meals often. With changing seasons, pastures mature and grasses form seed heads which also become part of their diets. The seeds of these natural pastures were small, contained a little amount of starch, and were consumed over the course of a day, not in single feeds.  This diet was well suited wild horses, when their only demands were to maintain body condition and occasionally run from predators. Read More

Importance of fibre

Fibre is made up of several different types of carbohydrate and is the carbohydrate that horses cannot digest in their small intestine, but rather ferment in their hindgut. Fibre is called many different names, including "structural carbohydrate", bulk, roughage, crude fibre... the list goes on. Note that some fibre is indigestible, and it is this fibre that passes in the faeces. Fibre plays 3 major and very important roles in the diet of horses.

Gastric Ulcers in Horses

Gastric ulcers are lesions that are found in the stomach. The stomach of the horse is made up of two regions, the upper "squamous" region which has a thin cell wall lining and the lower "glandular" region which has thick cell wall lining. Horses were designed to eat fibrous plants, and were not designed to eat large amounts of high grain (high NSC >12) diets. NSC is the sugar and starch or Non Structural Carbohydrate in the food. Food flows through the oesophagus and enters the upper region of the stomach where the pH is usually 5-6 ie not very acidic. The very soluble proteins and carbohydrates are broken down here by the enzymes in the saliva. The food then passes to the very acidic glandular region, where it is aggressively broken down by the gastric acids. Read More