Healthy Gut, Healthy Horse

Healthy Gut, Healthy Horse

Some people worry about how their horse will cope with winter, whereas for others it’s a chance to get that summer weight off.  Whether looking to maintain or gain weight then it’s vital that the gut is in optimum health.  If their digestive system is struggling, their coat is unlikely to gleam, their hooves can be in poor condition and weight loss, loose droppings and problems as wide ranging as laminitis, gastric ulcers and even colic can become a concern. These issues can often raise their head as winter drags on and the fresh grass and spring sun seems a long way off.

The horse has evolved to trickle feed for 16 – 18 hours a day on a variety of forages to provide themselves with enough nutrients to survive.  Unfortunately, modern feeding practices are unlikely to follow this pattern and winter routines can make it even more difficult to achieve this.  More typically they provide large irregular meals, based on cereals with restricted access to forages, and in certain circumstances long periods of time with no forages available. This can result in problems directly affecting the digestive system such as colic, digestive upsets such as loose droppings and gastric ulcers, but can include laminitis and EMS, stress, poor performance and stereotypies.

To help improve the digestive health of our equines the most important element of their diet is forage.  Basing the diet on a minimum forage intake of 1.5% of bodyweight, provides the optimum amount of fibre.

In addition to providing enough forage, the diet should be balanced with vitamins, minerals and trace elements and ingredients to support optimum gut health. Key ingredients to look out for include Mucilage, Prebiotics and Probiotics which all help to support the digestive system, read on to find out more…

Mucilage, or soluble fibre

Can be particularly beneficial in a horse with inflamed mucous membranes and absorbs moisture within the stomach and can form a soothing layer, reducing the effect of excess acid on the stomach wall which may reduce the risk of gastric ulcers.  Slippery Elm and Seaweed Meal are two sources of mucilage to look out for.

A prebiotic yeast extract (containing MOS, Mannanoligosaccharides)

Will help to flush pathogens out of the gut and Beta-glucans will help to stimulate the growth of beneficial bacteria resulting in a healthier balance of bacteria in the gut.

Probiotics are live yeasts based on Saccharomyces cerevisiae which are functional in the hindgut. They pass through the stomach and small intestine and help to maintain healthy hindgut function and reduce the risk of digestive discomfort.  They cannot colonise the hindgut and so need to be fed daily for sustained benefits.

Horslyx Pro Digest Balancer has been formulated to support optimum digestive health from the stomach to the hindgut and includes these key ingredients of mucilage (slippery elm and seaweed meal), prebiotics and probiotics.

Pro Digest Balancer will also balance the nutrient deficiencies in forage and grazing with an optimum level of vitamins, minerals and trace elements plus the above key ingredients in a single tub. The spiced apple flavouring encourages even the fussiest of feeders and the action of licking enhances saliva production which helps buffer stomach acidity. With increased magnesium levels and a low starch content, Pro Digest Balancer is suitable for any equine, but is especially suited for those prone to digestive upsets.  In addition, the free access lick encourages a natural trickle feeding pattern that allows the horse to self-regulate and consume Horslyx as and when they need it leading to better digestion, less stress and a happier, healthier horse.

Pro Digest Balancer is available from selected Carr’s Billington Country Stores in 650g, 5kg, 15kg and 40kg sizes.  For further information visit