The horse's stomach is a large, delicate and pretty badly designed organ! The routine of the majority of racehorses, and over 60% of sport horses, means that many horses do not enjoy a healthy digestive system. There are plenty of ways to support a healthy gut in your horse. Wherever possible, to imitate their natural trickle feeding, horses should be turned out to graze for as long as possible. When horses are stabled, they should be fed a diet high in fibre and with minimal concentrates. Feeds should be small and as frequent as possible. A horse should not be worked on a completely empty stomach, feeding half a scoop of dry chaff before exercise is ideal. And, of course avoiding changes of routine and stressful situations, is helpful to all horses.
Horses frequently stabled, subject to routine changes and/or to stress may have an unhappy gut, which is manifested by poor appetite, weight loss, lethargy, objection to girthing, mood swings, being nervy and/or stressy. In addition to the best feeding regime you can implement, you can also use some of nature’s own best products to encourage a healthy digestive system – and a happy horse!
Certain herbs can provide a light and soothing layer to the stomach without inhibiting natural acid secretion production, which is important for healthy digestion in a horse. A natural product can be fed long-term at a maintenance level but can also be effective to re-establish a healthy gut after a course of aggressive drugs.
Aloe Vera is high in digestible fibre, which gives it the properties of lowering bowel transit time, absorbing toxins in the bowel and which combines well with Slippery Elm for best results. Seabuckthorn has an amazing profile of anti-oxidants, vitamins C, E and A as well as a number of B vitamins, including folic acid and B6, amino acids and minerals. Seabuckthorn is also high in all of the omega oils, 3, 6, 7 and 9, which help to support the fine mucosal membranes and cell structure, It contains serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps with stress, which can cause digestive issues. Oatseed also helps with stress. Fennel aids appetite and digestion. Liquorice extract contains pigments known as flavanoids which work on gastric secretions. It also has anti-fungal activity against pathogens such as candida albicans, which can overgrow and disrupt the delicate balance of bacteria in the horse’s intestine. Peppermint helps reduce gassy build-ups which are common during stress.
The omega content of Seabuckthorn is also beneficial for coat quality, hoof growth, joints and immunity.
"I was at my wits end with my 5 year old gelding and was even considering selling him when I saw Ulsa-Soothe on display at Blair Atholl and thought I'd give it a try. I'd tried everything else anyway! I noticed a difference in him within a week and couldn't believe it. I even took him on a hack which I never had the confidence to do with him before as I was unsure of his behaviour, and he didn't bat an eyelid. I would recommend this product to anyone with a nervy animal and will continue to use this for the foreseeable future." Liz S
 Mitchell RD. Prevalence of gastric ulcers in hunter/jumper and dressage horses evaluated for poor performance. Association for Equine Sports Medicine September 2001.