It is no secret that the way we keep our horses has vastly changed compared to how they have evolved. Horses are natural grazers with a need for fibre to encourage efficient digestive function. Horses are considered trickle feeders due to their lack of a Gall Bladder. This is responsible for the storage and release of bile. Due to their lack of a Gall Bladder, bile is constantly released into the small intestine to be used to break down food regardless of whether there is food there or not. Many websites suggest horses should be consuming food for 17 hours a day, although this can be difficult to achieve due to other commitments, weight and routine.
The 10 golden rules of feeding are to help owners provide optimum digestion for horses to keep them well. The rules are:
- Make sure the horse always has access to clean and fresh water- this is one of the horse’s rights and is necessary for survival. It is important that in drastic temperature changes the water source is kept at ambient temperature.
- Feed little and often- as a horse is a natural grazer, it is not designed to process large carbohydrate meals. Chaff will aid in slowing the horse down as well as acting as a source of forage which is beneficial to the digestive system.
- Feed according to need- seek advice from a nutritionalist about what feed is most appropriate for your horse.
- Measure feed- many of us are guilty for just using a Stubbs scoop although the most effective way is by weighing the feed.
- Quality of feed- check that feed is not dusty, out of date or mouldy.
- Feed at the same time- horses are animals of routine and being fed at the same time every day will also aid digestive function.
- Make changes gradually- the horse’s stomach is highly sensitive and any changes both with concentrated meals and forage. This can be aided by the use of a gut balancer.
- Don’t exercise for an hour following a concentrated meal.
- Feed LOTS of fibre!! It is soo good for them and their gut function. It will protect your horse from developing gastric ulcers as well as supporting digestive function.
- Feed according to work- this seems obvious but isn’t always. Many owners still overfeed and under exercise their horses putting them at risk of obesity and disease.
My horses are fed Protexin gut balancer despite being totally different horses with different needs. I’ve found that they always eat their feeds, so it must taste nice! It contains a probiotic and prebiotic. Probiotics are a living organism whilst prebiotics serve as the food for microgranisms. They are both involved in the fermentation of fibre which takes place in the hind gut. It is suitable to use as an everyday supplement as well as aiding in times of stress or changing of the horses diet- although Protexin do a Quick Fix syringe for these instances.
Why did I start using Protexin?
Both hose have different reasons why I started them on Protexin.
Guinness- he is 17 now and I have found that recently I have just had to start “looking after him” a bit more. He has recently had a bit of trouble passing droppings, not colic as such but just trying to go and ending up with just bits of liquid coming out. I feed him haylage (as he is special and coughs on even soaked hay!) and Pure Fibre Balance, we also have sufficient grazing. I have found that since putting him on Protexin, he has become more regular in his droppings and no longer struggles!
Milo- he is such a stress head, always on edge and just generally anxious! Now, I would not have thought a gut balancer could help a horse like this. If someone presented me with these issues I would advise a calmer. However, after the Protexin rep came in and gave me some advice at work, I thought I should try it. Since feeding Protexin gut balancer, he as been so much calmer and more settled with only a few understandable stress moments!
Both of my horses look in great condition and have beautiful coat condition (if I do say so myself!) Gut balancers are for all horses. We keep horses in a way which is not natural and can affect the horse’s sensitive digestive system. To restore optimum function and to keep your horse comfortable, I would highly recommend Protexin.