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Is your horse at risk for an ulcer?

Julie Frykman

Posted on March 03 2019

Evolution did not intend for horses to live like we keep them today. Their bodies evolved to slowly walk and graze for the majority of their day with a dose of snoozing and/or running from predators (or the shadow that looked like a predator :).

Here are a few modern day stressors that could leave you dealing with an ulcer:

  1. Limited grazing due to a small paddock and/or stall time. Thus, large twice daily feedings.
  2. Excessive grain consumption due to trying to make up for the lack of vitamins and minerals lacking in dry forage, rather than fresh pasture.
  3. Regular riding or training sessions. This is especially stressing on an empty stomach.
  4. Change in the mixture of the forage fed.
  5. Lack of movement due to stall confinement.
  6. Stress to the immune system due to trailering.
  7. Pecking order change due to herd additions or deletions.

One, or all, of these ulcer risks are present for every horse today. Small changes to these risks can be beneficial to your equine. For instance, periodic feedings throughout the day, supplements to less grain consumption to meet the needs of vitamins and minerals, giving your horse forage prior to riding or training sessions, more frequent time outside for stalled horses, and ulcer prevention supplements prior to trailering. Obviously, if you can not alter the amount of time they spend out in a large field to roam, ride less (why else would we own them), or ensure their herd mates stay the same until the day they die, then you will need to work with your vet to discuss options to orally provide support to your horse. 

We hope this blog post has given you some ideas for ways you can personally support your horse to lessen his risk for ulcers. 

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