Behavior

How Digestive Comfort Affects a Horse’s Temperament

A horse’s attitude may not just be a reflection of its temperament, mood or how it’s handled. It very well may be a sign of its digestive health. In fact, when horses feel good and get the nutrients they need, they tend to be happier and more willing partners…just like us.
A comfortable horse is a happier horse that enjoys being with you. And a relaxed, willing work partner is only possible with a healthy mind and body. Here are just a few examples of how your horse’s attitude can be impacted by a digestive issue.

attitude

Attitude: Resistance and Poor Ground Manners

Do you want your horse to keep his ears up and respond positively when being handled? Do you like your horse when he’s excited and ready to go when you saddle him up? Too often, common ground manners are punished as bad habits–but sometimes digestive health is the answer.

The lifestyle of performance horses can work against good digestive health. When they are stalled more than a few hours a day, fed processed feeds to meet energy needs, and worked hard, the natural functioning of the gut is affected. It can be as simple as starch reaching the hindgut, modifying the balance in the hindgut, and raising the acidity level.
If you were dealing with any of that, you would do what you could to get out of working, too. But when your gut is functioning properly, you not only get the nutrients and energy you need to perform, your mind is clear and your mood is good so you’re ready and willing to work. Your horse is no different.
girthing

Girthy Horses: Hindgut Sensitivity

Girthy horses – grouchiness, kicking, biting, or even falling down when tightening the girth–is a pretty common complaint among horse owners. For some horses with bad habits of biting and kicking, grouchy is putting it mildly.

The stomach is relatively small and sits higher up in the horse’s gut–nowhere near where we tighten the girth. Actually, it’s the colon, part of the hindgut that reaches up into the horse’s belly near the girth.

cribbing

Barn Vice: Cribbing and the Stomach

Cribbing is notorious in the equestrian industry as either a learned or genetic behavior. Prevailing thought says bring one cribber into a barn and pretty soon you’ll have a barn-full. However, studies have also shown that cribbing can have its roots in the stomach.

When horses have large meals just a few times a day, they spend huge chunks of the day with nothing to eat. But their digestive tracts are designed for a constant influx of high-forage foods. One key reason is that the steady supply of small amounts of grass and hay buffer the acids in the stomach and keep the levels balanced. And when horses suck air while holding onto a solid object with their teeth, also known as cribbing, it helps to relieve discomfort.


Condition the Gut to Support a Positive Temperament

When no amount of patience and training is doing the trick to keep your horse happy and manageable, consider the benefits of a healthy digestive tract.

By maintaining the healthy structure and function of the digestive system, your horse is happy, healthy and willing (and able) to perform to potential.

SUCCEED gives you real results by delivering specialized nutrients that target the healthy structure and function of the entire digestive system.

Try SUCCEED Digestive Conditioning Program® and see how you can get the relationship – and the results – with your horse that you’ve always wanted.