Before answering the question, the effect of roughage and the effect of concentrate feed will first be described. Horses are naturally grazers, who eat small amounts of fiber-rich roughage for many hours a day. Horses and ponies have a small stomach, a relatively short small intestine and a large blind and large intestine. Fiber-rich feed stays relatively short in the stomach and then flows to the small intestine. Enzymes break down the proteins, fats, and easily digestible carbohydrates. The remains of these fibers flow to the blind and large intestine and are nourished for the bacterial flora there. The end products of this degradation, volatile fatty acids, use the horse again as an energy source. Because of the eating habits and the time needed to digest the fiber, there is always food in the small intestine and there are small snacks of food through the stomach every day for 14 to 16 hours a day.
Concentrate food provides unhealthy intestinal flora
Concentrate feed stays in the stomach longer than roughage. There are no fibers in concentrate and it does not contribute to healthy intestinal flora. In the stomach there are bacteria that produce volatile fatty acids. The composition of the volatile fatty acids is different in the breakdown of starch and sugars than in fibers. Too many grains, starch and sugar-rich concentrates provide a very acidic stomach content. This also has to do with the fact that horses chew less on concentrate than on roughage. As a result, less saliva is created to facilitate swallowing and to promote the mixing of stomach and intestinal juices. In addition, the saliva lowers the acidity in the stomach.
When a horse does not produce a slight labor performance, the horse can perform well on roughage only. You can then choose for a good quality hay or pre-drying pit. The assortment of Hartog has the Gras-mix and the Compact Grass these roughages are good replacements for hay or roughage and they are always consistent in quality.
Replacing concentrate with Lucerne mix
The concentrate can be replaced by Lucerne-mix. The Lucerne mix contains all necessary daily building materials that a horse and / or pony needs. It contains the daily requirement for vitamins, minerals, trace elements and amino acids. You can replace the concentrate with two 10-liter buckets per day. If you press the bucket well, there can be two kilos. This can be supplemented with hay, pre-dried silage, grass mix or Compact Grass.
A mineral lick can always be hung in the box or whey of the horse. The horse or pony will use this when there is a shortage of minerals. Besides the Lucerne mix, it is not necessary to feed other food supplements.
A stable virtue is an undesirable behavior. Weaving, hitting the door, cribbing, sucking air, gnawing wood or walking around are all examples of this. Often it occurs in young animals. Getting horses out of this is very difficult or even impossible. The behavior in almost all cases has to do with frustration or discomfort and therefore with less well-being of the horse.
The power supply does not have to do with all stall vices, but it does play an important role in the development of it. In that context, stomach ulcers can not be left unmentioned. For both, a good ration and avoiding stress can prevent a lot of suffering. Horses are naturally grazers, who eat small amounts of fiber-rich material for many hours a day. They have a small stomach, a relatively short small intestine and a large blind and large intestine. Fiber-rich food remains relatively short in the stomach and flows to the small intestine. Enzymes break down the proteins, fats and easily digestible carbohydrates. The remains and the fibers flow to the blind and large intestine and are fed to the bacterial flora there. The end products of this degradation, volatile fatty acids, use the horse again as an energy source. Because of the eating habits and the time needed to digest fiber, there is always food in the gut and sixteen to eighteen hours a day nourishment of food through the stomach. By chewing fiber-rich food, the horse makes saliva, which facilitates swallowing and promotes mixing with stomach and intestinal juices. In addition, this saliva lowers the acidity in the stomach.
The stomach of the horse continuously produces stomach acid. It seems, regardless of the feeding regime, that the acidity in the stomach in the morning hours (01.00-09.00) is the lowest and the stomach acid production the highest. Do not eat a horse for a long time, then there is a very acidic content in the stomach. The development of a stomach ulcer starts with this. An ulcer develops when the mucous membrane of the stomach starts to become inflamed and becomes thinner. This protective layer prevents damage to the acid on the rest of the stomach wall. Apart from not eating, more factors are known that together cause stomach ulcers. Stress, the composition of concentrate, the portion size of concentrate and perhaps even movement. Horses that get stomach ulcers often come out of a stressful situation. Long-term trips and heavy training, for example (sport horses). Or weaning foals, especially if they are abruptly removed from the mare and only come to stand. Stress reduces the resistance and the stomach wall can be affected by the acid. A ration of lots of concentrate and little roughage gives a chance of stomach ulcers; concentrates remain longer in the stomach than roughage. In the stomach there are bacteria that produce volatile fatty acids. The composition of these volatile fatty acids is different in the breakdown of starches and sugars, than in fibers. The amount of volatile fatty acids and the species influences the development of stomach ulcers. Cereals, starch and sugar-rich concentrates ensure that the stomach contents become even more acidic. The more so because horses do not chew longer on these feed materials and thus make less saliva. Finally, there are research results that indicate that movements of the horse have an effect on getting stomach ulcers. In race horses it has been measured that the acid content of the stomach moves during the rengalop and ends up in the non-acidic stomach part and causes damage there. It is a fact that eighty to ninety of the race horses have stomach ulcers. These horses often receive a very high-feed ration and are often under stress.
Cribbing and sucking air
These two vices often go together. The light sucking is not always clearly visible, but often present. The horse puts his teeth on an edge, tightens muscles in his neck or neck and draws in air. The air does not enter the lungs but he swallows, as it were. The air stays in the esophagus for a moment and then goes back outside again. Incidentally, not all cribbebters also air pistons, the other way it usually goes together. Horses that suck cribbites and suck air probably try to make saliva. It can be caused by a lack of chewing behavior. A horse only makes saliva with chewing. You see horses do especially after eating concentrate. A horse chews only a little on concentrates and thus makes little saliva. In short, a horse may be cribbed by an uncomfortable feeling after eating concentrated food. In horses with a stomach ulcer you also see that after eating concentrated food you sometimes have colic symptoms and therefore have pain. Barn vices often occur in young foals that are weaned. Stress is then inevitable. If this is accompanied by a lot of concentrated feed and little roughage, these are the right conditions for the development of stable vices. Do not forget the period in which young horses are taken in training. They are sometimes alone in the stable for the first time, receive a lot of concentrate and all changes and black workouts cause stress. And so there are many more situations that meet these conditions. Cribbing and air sucking gives a certain satisfaction, this makes the horse relax and that is the positive incentive to continue with it. Once learned and confirmed, this behavior is very difficult to change again. Not all horses that have stomach ulcers also exhibit crib bites or vice versa. This can be completely separate from each other.
In air sucking, it is not so that the air goes through the entire gastrointestinal tract. This has been assumed for a long time because horses often have digestive problems with this stall pupil and gas accumulation occurs. With certain research techniques, people know that the air does not get any further than the esophagus. The crib biting and air sucking has the consequence that the flow of food through the intestines slows down. This changes the digestion of the feed and / or the gas discharge that occurs during the digestion. The digestion of the food can also be adversely affected by stomach ulcers. The stomach provides a pre-digestion of the feed. If this pre-digestion is partly omitted, this has consequences for the digestion in the small intestine and the large intestine. All in all, both 'disorders' can cause digestive problems. Many horses that suck air or have stomach ulcers regularly develop colic. All the more reason to prevent these ailments.
Horses must be able to chew. Avoid periods longer than eight hours without food. Make sure that every horse and every foal receives rough food and eats. Give foals in a herd of sufficient eating places with always fresh and good roughage. Give the concentrate in small portions. This reduces the production of volatile fatty acids in the stomach. Therefore, you should feed more often per day if the horse really needs so much concentrate. Remember that there are other energy sources such as extra fibers or vegetable oil that can replace part of the concentrate. Limit the amount for an adult horse up to two kilos at a time. Give a foal no more than one kilo at a time. It is interesting that the addition of lucerne positive effects in the prevention of stomach ulcers. Both the high calcium content and the protein in lucerne have a buffering effect, ie they provide a less acidic stomach content. If you add some lucerne to the concentrate, this also has the advantage that the horse has to chew longer and thus makes more saliva. Finally, it appears that grazing gives the best results in the healing of stomach ulcers and the prevention of crib bites. Probably also because outdoor grazing relaxes and of course gives the most natural food pattern. Due to the high feed value of our grasslands, it is often impossible to give horses continuous grazing and at the same time keep them in good condition. But a few hours a day should be possible for every horse.
Extra information: Bron Paardenweekblad “De Hoefslag” www.dehoefslag.nl
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