To prevent digestive ulcers in horses, you must first understand the primary reasons why the ulcers developed in the first place.
Modern horse feeds and regimes are extremely different from the way horses live natuarally which exposes them to problems with the digestive system and digestive ulcers.
Here are some of the reasons why most owners face problems with equine ulcers:
- Limited access to forage & fibre.
- Feeding the horse large meals 2-3 times each day
- Feeding highly processed meals
- Training, competition and travel
The best way to keep your horses ulcer-free for a long period of time is to address the root causes of ulcers.
Stopping ulcers from forming should start with reviewing how you feed your horses.
The horse’s digestive tract is built to harness energy from the process of digestion of structural fibers inside the colon with assistance from beneficial microorganisms. These structural fibers are forages such as grass, beet pulp, and hay.
Unfortunately, top-quality forages may not be the choice of many horse owners as feeds especially when the horse needs more energy to allow for training and exercise.
High starchy feeds (like grains) can be too much for the digestive tract and feeding large meals few times a day could cause digestive ulcers.
Another thing you can do is to feed small meals multiple times a day. If your horse needs grain for energy, it’s better if you feed small meals several times a day instead of giving large meals twice a day. You could also increase the horse’s chewing time since chewing liberates saliva which is a natural acid-neutralizing substance. You can do this by mixing chopped hay with the grain meals.