Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Horse Health Care: Time for a Gut Check

Horse health care really begins in the gut, so if you're not sure how strong your horse health care program is, it's time for a gut check.

While I was doling out feed to my horses this morning, I was reflecting on the number of horse health issues related to the gut.

For instance, did you know that:

- the beneficial bacteria in your horse's gut are responsible for producing the biotin necessary for healthy hooves, mane, and tail?

- the beneficial bacteria in your horse's gut are his first line of immune defense?

- poor functioning of your horse's stomach, small intestine, or large intestine can lead to ulcers, colic, weight loss, leaky gut, food allergies, skin conditions, and more?

In other words, a healthy gut equals a healthy horse. An unhealthy gut equals an unhealthy horse. Pretty simple, right?

Taking Care of Your Horse's Gut
The basics of horse health care when it comes to your horse's gut boil down to keeping the populations of friendly bacteria that live in your horse's gut alive and healthy. There's a lot of science behind it and you can learn more by visiting the Holistic Horsekeeping website (look under Resources and go to the Articles section). But for a basic no-frills approach that works well for a zen cowgirl like me, I think about feeding:

- plenty of hay or beet pulp (keeps stomach acid from causing ulcers)
- daily acidophilus and bifidus to keep the friendly bacteria population high
- enzymes to horses who have difficulty with digestion and assimilation
- vitamins, minerals, trace minerals from blue-green algae and antioxidants from this special antioxidant juice to heal any ulceration in the gut

And whoa! Before you go screaming off into the night thinking this is too complicated, consider my simple formula for "horse goo" that takes care of all of these requirements (aside from hay, of course). Get the recipe here.

Keep it simple and always ride your horse in the direction it's going, as they say!

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