Home / Pony Gastric Ulcers

Did you know....

Ponies in their natural habitat spend 60% of their time feeding whereas stabled horses spend just 10% of their time feeding?

This meal based feeding, as opposed to 'trickle feeding' can cause gastric splashing and increase the risk of gastric ulcers and colic.

How? Saliva in horses is only produced whilst chewing and is important as a natural buffer to stomach acid. Long periods without forage leads to a lack of protective saliva. Forage itself also provides a protective mat in the stomach to prevent acid splashing.

How does it show itself?

Gastric splashing can lead to gastric ulcers. Intensive feeding can also lead to obesity and laminitis.

Why does it matter?

Gastric ulcers can be extremely uncomfortable and often need treatment, obesity can impair quality of life and performance.

How can Haygain help?

The Haygain Forager slows the rate of feeding to imitiate natural grazing, reducing the risk of colic, obesity and laminitis.

It also provides a more natural feeding position to help drain the respiratory tract and prevent muscle tension in the back and neck, and stops cross-contamination of forage and bedding, and saves time and money in stable cleaning.

Why Not Soaking?

Soaking hay in water wets airborne particles to keep down dust, but there are a number of obvious disadvantages to this method:

  • It is a physically arduous, cold, wet and messy task
  • It uses 60-100 litres of water
  • Soaking leaves live micro-organisms in the hay; these quickly multiply, particularly in warm, damp conditions, thereby compromising the hygienic quality of the forage
  • Soaking hay reduces respirable particles but leaches nutrients out of the forage and, as with partial steaming, bacteria levels increase by two to five-fold. This produces poor quality, more contaminated forage which can raise the risk of enteritis and colic. High losses of WSC, protein and minerals occur when hay is soaked for as little as 10 minutes
  • These nutrients in the waste water produce a post-soak liquid 9 times more polluting than raw sewage which must not be disposed of in storm drains.