Why You Should Care About Stomach Comfort

Don't undo your hard work of keeping your horse comfortable by giving him something that's hard on his stomach.

This article is part of our Comfort Awareness Campaign brought to you by Bute-Less.

If you’re trying to manage comfortable movement in your horse, don’t undo your hard work by picking a supplement that is hard on the stomach. Opt for something that is formulated for daily use. Look for a support supplement that is made to be gentle on the stomach. Why is stomach comfort so important? Let’s take a look.

Don’t undo your hard work of keeping your horse comfortable, by giving him something hard on his stomach. Mani/adobe.stock.com

Quick Facts

Are you familiar with the remarkable statistics regarding the equine digestive system? If we were to stretch out the entire length of the digestive tract, it would measure approximately 100 feet.

Relative to his size, your horse possesses a relatively compact stomach. Although digestion initiates here, the stomach isn’t designed for extended food retention.

Upon departure from the stomach, ingested food proceeds to the small intestine, the site of primary nutrient absorption. Anything undigested in the small intestine progresses to the hind gut, encompassing the cecum and large intestine, where microbial fermentation takes place. This is a crucial stage where feed material may linger for extended periods. The naturally occurring bacteria in the hind gut engage in fermentation and the breakdown of plant fiber, extracting optimal nutrition from the diet.

Challenges may arise when a horse consumes food too quick, inadequately chews his feed, or receives excessive portions in one sitting. In any of these scenarios, the potential for heightened fermentation and gas production emerges, which can impede healthy digestive function.

Why Consider Stomach Comfort?

When choosing supplements, feeds, or anything you are introducing to your horse, consider their stomach comfort. A comfortable stomach can be directly linked to your horse’s behavior and emotional disposition. Discomfort caused by improper feeding practices or unsuitable feed choices can lead to irritability, restlessness, and even behavioral problems. Horses may exhibit signs of discomfort during grooming, riding, or handling, as his unease affects his overall temperament.

[Grouchy When Grooming? Read This.]

Quick Tips for Stomach Comfort

Consistency: Aim for regular feeding schedules and consistent types of forage and feed to avoid abrupt changes that can disrupt digestion.

Quality Forage: Prioritize good-quality forage as the foundation of your horse’s diet. It promotes healthy digestion and helps prevent gastric issues. Provide ample turnout if possible, and time for your horse to graze and move around.

Gradual Changes: If you need to change your horse’s diet, do so gradually over a week or more to allow his digestive system to adapt.

Hydration: Ensure your horse has access to clean, fresh water at all times to support proper digestion.

Quality Supplements: If you are looking to support comfortable movement in your performance or senior horse, look for a quality supplement that is gentle on the stomach. Natural ingredients like Devil’s Claw, Yucca, and B12 are all great additions for comfort support. Be sure to read labels thoroughly, to understand usage and limitations.

[What IS Devil’s Claw?]

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