Posted in  Master Your Horse's Environment  on  28 February, 2014 by  Debs Crosoer

How often do you consider your horse’s digestion? We all spend a lot of time worrying about whether our horses are getting good nutrition, but we tend to focus on what we’re feeding them.

We test the grass, maybe even the soil
We test the hay
We spend hours looking at the nutritional charts on feed packets and websites
We spend even more hours researching supplements
We discuss it on forums, on facebook, in tack shops, with vets, bodyworks, farriers, trimmers, friends, even those annoying know-it-alls on the yard.

We love love love love to think about nutrition and it’s really important to us that we’re giving our horses the best we can.

But what about the digestion. That’s on the inside; we can’t really see it or measure it. We certainly don’t have to buy it, or put in it a bucket every day. It’s out of sight out of mind very often…

I mean – we have enough on our minds making sure the micronutrients are right and trying to figure out if we should be following the ‘feed calcium to calm you horse’, or ‘feed magnesium to calm your horse’ advice…

(BTW – get your magnesium/calcium balance right and your horse won’t be nutty (from a Mg or Ca deficiency – he might be nutty for another reason though) because in fact neither of these things calm a horse, a deficiency of either can however cause stressed behaviour to manifest. But this isn’t supposed to be about nutrition!! See how easy it is to get distracted!!!)

We just don’t really get to interact with the digestion much (and why does that make me think of a cartoony ‘being swallowed by a whale’ scene – weird!) but it’s really important!!

You can have perfectly balanced nutrition, but if the digestion isn’t working efficiently, then what goes in your horse’s mouth isn’t getting in to the blood stream. Nutrition isn’t important in the bucket. It’s all about what gets to the cells…

Bucket >digestion>bloodstream>cells

Now there is one thing you do (probably) that is interacting with the digestion. Mucking out, and poo picking. That’s as close to the digestion as we get… I’ll leave it up to you to decide if that’s a good thing or a bad one 🙂

There are some external indicators as to how well your horses digestion is working. I go over the questions you should ask yourself and how to evaluate your horses digestive system in the Digestion Health Check. Come and join us in the facebook group… it’s free and we’re lovely in there 🙂

You’ll find the Digestion Health Check in the Academy free resources

If you’re interested in other articles on digestion…

How much time and effort do you spend making sure your horse’s nutrition is right?
Have you considered the efficiency of the digestion?
What do you use as a guide to whether or not your horse is eating right?

Tell me in the comments below or over on the facebook page.

The Healthy Horse: Feeding and Nutrition

We Are What We Eat

It's easy to see why diet is so important. The body is always regenerating, it needs good nutrition to be able to build healthy cells. Nutrition is such a confusing subject though!

There's so much advice, and so many different choices, how are you ever supposed to figure out what's right for your horse?

About the author

Debs is a practicing Equine Podiatrist with over 15 years experience, author, and educator.

She’s here to show you how to simplify your horse’s management painlessly so you feel in control and have a straightforward system that works for you.

When she’s not working you can find her playing with her own horses, watching geeky sci-fi or baking epic cakes.

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