Proper horse care is the most important issue today to prevent equine gastric ulcers, and colic. With proper horse care comes proper diet. Many owners have their horses on a regimen that doesn’t provide proper horse care—it doesn’t ensure a diet corresponding with the horse’s natural biorhythms. Horse biorhythms evolved on an open plain of grazing and companionship.
The modern horse care problem
What we require of some horses in terms of work, and what we feed them as a result, creates an environment of stress and harmful feeding. Generally speaking, diets high in grain content and low in roughage are the culprit. These types of diets go with the requirements we place on performance horses to race, show, and event.
Studies show performance horses have a high rate of gastric ulceration. Up to 60% of show horses, 60-70% of endurance horses, 75% of event horses, and 80-90% of race horses have gastric ulcers.
Even if your horse isn’t a performance horse, she can still develop gastric ulcers and require equine gastric ulcer treatment. Typically, this treatment starts with a gastroscopy and continues with a variety of medications, including proton pump inhibitors (PPI) such as Abprazole (blue pop rocks), to go with a care regimen aimed at rehabilitation.
Diet: The bad feed
Humans may want to refrain from too many carbs and grains for our own reasons. Horses shouldn’t consume too many sweet feeds, processed grains, or oats because it’s just not natural for them. Some horse owners use these types of feeds in equine diet regimens because of limited time and money. Increased turnout time and roughage equals decreased performance and work time.
To prevent gastric ulcers, limit grain feed to a level below half a kilogram of grain per two-hundred and twenty kilograms of body weight on the horse, and consider preventative medication, such as Abprazole. Optimally, increase turnout time to where no grain feed is required.
Diet: The good feed
Food that decreases the risk of gastric ulcers in horses includes grass hay, grass, and other types of fibrous feeds, including alfalfa hay. Alfalfa hay is controversial because of its high caloric content, but in terms of horse feeds high in calories, the responsible horse owner prefers it over processed alternatives. Maximize roughage in your horse’s diet and increase turnout time, which decreases stress. Giving your horse plenty of time with other horses will decrease stress, too.
Prevent equine gastric ulcers with a once-a-day dose of Omeprazole.