Nutrient Absorption

Mare and foal grazing
Being healthy is more than just not being sick. It means all systems are functioning optimally – starting with equine nutrition. Improving nutrient absorption is one key way to help even a healthy horse function even better. When your horse can get all it needs out of its food, its overall wellness will improve as will its ability to be that partner you’ve always wanted.

Equine Nutrition Affects Overall Health

Horses are able to get a large portion of their nutrition from good quality grass and hay. Small amounts of grain or supplements may be necessary to provide nutrients that are sometimes missing from different grasses. And how well – or not – horses absorb the nutrients from their feed affects several key factors of a horse’s health and performance ability:

  • Ability to recover quickly from exercise

For all of these reasons, it’s important to ensure that your horse is getting all it can from the food it eats.

How Nutrients are Digested and Absorbed

Absorbing Vitamins, Fat, and Protein

It’s fairly easy for horses to digest fat, protein, and vitamins, all of which happens in the small intestine. Proteins are broken down into their smaller components called amino acids, and then absorbed into the bloodstream along with these other nutrients.

Digesting Sugars: Easy

Horses obtain sugar from both pasture grasses and from processed or hard feed. The simple sugars in both are readily digestible and are primarily digested in the small intestine.

Digesting Starches: Hard

Starch is more structurally complex than sugar, making it more difficult for the horse to digest. A major component of cereal grains, starch makes up 50% of oats and around 70% of corn.

Horses can digest some types of starches more readily than others. And depending on factors such as the type of starch, transit time through the small intestine, and availability of starch-digesting enzymes, some starch may reach the hindgut undigested.

Fermenting Fiber for Energy

Nutrients are absorbed in the span of a few hours as they pass through the small intestine. Everything that remains then makes its way to the hindgut where it ferments for as long as 2-3 days.

At this point, all that should be left is the fiber from forage. It ferments in the cecum and is absorbed in the colon, providing the horse’s primary source of energy.

Supporting Nutrient Absorption With SUCCEED®

Lifestyle factors common to modern performance horses can affect a horse’s GI function, including the digestion and absorption of nutrients. You want to ensure that your horse is absorbing enough fat and protein to maintain his weight. The horse might be lethargic and lazy because it’s not getting enough of the all-important VFAs produced by fermenting fiber. Or, energy-providing grains are passing through the small intestines too quickly to be fully digested and absorbed.

SUCCEED Digestive Conditioning Program® is formulated from nutritional ingredients that aid digestive function. It supports nutrient absorption with:

Oat Oil (polar lipids)


The oat oil in SUCCEED is rich in Polar Lipids, fat molecules that can help strengthen intestinal tissue in the gut and provide a conduit for getting nutrients into the bloodstream.

Oat Flour



Oat flour is rich in Beta glucan, which helps moderate transit time in digestion. This allows for more efficient digestion in the small intestines and for moderating sugar in the bloodstream.

Irradiated Dried Yeast



Irradiated dried yeast contains two extracts of yeast that support a healthy hindgut and natural immunity in horses and also encourage the growth of intestinal villi.




L-Glutamine is an amino acid that provides fuel to muscles. It also supports the immune cells in the horse’s intestinal mucosa (the lining of the gut).




L-Threonine is an essential amino acid, supports the production of mucin, necessary for the production of mucus that lubricates the GI tract lining.

SUCCEED Veterinary Formula includes all the same beneficial ingredients as original SUCCEED, plus additional nutrients for superior support of the healthy structure and function of the equine digestive tract. It comes backed by the SUCCEED Healthy Gut Commitment.

Improve your horse’s ability to get the most from its feed.  See where you can buy SUCCEED.