Spring Ahead… and Improve Your Horse’s Digestion

Horse in the pasture on a spring day

Your horse’s digestion needs some supplement support during spring! Spring, while a great time for birds chirping and flowers blooming, can create a world of problems for your horse’s health. His digestive system is at risk for disturbances, and a proper care routine coupled with selective feeds and supplements can support him through spring’s transitions.

Many horses ramp up their exercise levels as the days get warmer and longer. This changes their daily routine, and it changes your horse’s body as he gets used to the new demands of spring training! Spring time also means vaccinations, dental floatings, and perhaps some new shoes as the footing changes. If you go to horse shows or clinics, trailering is an added stress on your horse. All of these factors can create stress in your horse’s life and digestive system.

Spring is also a time for feed changes. Many barns are nearing the end of the winter hay supply which often contains hay that is questionable at best and moldy and dangerous at worst. A new supply of hay is often from a different cutting, and many horses are sensitive to this change. Switching hay can be done over a week or so to minimize distress to your horse.

No spring would be complete without lush green grass, the most tempting of all horse foods. While it’s glorious to watch our horses scarf up the spring grass, it’s dangerous in two ways the horse’s digestive system is not used to the grass, and the extra sugars can cause laminitis. Using a grazing muzzle acclimates your horse to grazing on the new grass.

You may also find that your horse needs some extra calories in the spring as his exercise level ramps up. Getting him fit and prepared for the show season or any other summer horse fun may require additional fortified feeds and supplements to help protect from spring changes that may upset your horse’s digestion.

When you are transitioning you horse into exercise, or you are changing his routine, his diet, taking road trips to shows, protecting his gut is key. You need to address the stomach, which can suffer from ulcers during stressful times. The small intestine is also at risk, and is the location of nutrient absorption. Finally, in the last stage of the digestion process, the hind gut ferments food, and it is crucial for adequate “good bug” bacterial flora in the large intestine to improve protein and fiber digestion for efficient/effective absorption of nutrients. Supplementation with ingredients that contain prebiotics, glutamine, and digestion specific enzymes are key here. Diamond V© fermented yeast is very effective at boosting the immune function and provides a terrific food source for those hindgut “friendly” bacteria.

The bottom line for horses is that spring is stress! Their routines are changing, as well as their food sources. This affects the three parts of your horse’s entire digestive system! Your horse can be greatly helped with the proper digestive supplements, like Grand Digest, so support the changes that spring can bring. Then you can thoroughly enjoy the warm weather and green scenery!

by Liv Gude

Liv Gude is that Founder of Professional Equine Grooms, which she started after years of grooming for Olympic riders.  Liv shares her experiences and knowledge about caring for International horses so that others can learn, ask questions, and interact.  She enjoys her own horses, yoga, and the beach.