We have already learned about how forage and consistency can play a huge part in your horse’s diet and ability to avoid colic. Next up is one specifically for those horses on the road at horse shows or events…
Turnout or Exercise
Keeping the body moving is also vital to maintaining a good gut feeling. Have you ever eaten too much at dinner, and then had to take a walk to feel better? Sometimes just walking around can help “get things going.” A study done at the University of Nottingham in England suggested horses left in stalls had a lower intestinal motility, meaning food was retained in the gut longer than those left on pasture 24/7. Therefore, horses with more turnout or exercise have smoother digestive patterns and are less likely to have digestive upset.
Bottom line? Turn out your horse as much as possible! If you feed in the pasture, it is also a good idea to space out hay bales and place water troughs away from the gate, forcing horses to walk around frequently while turned out. If turnout is limited, like it usually is during competitions, make sure to give your horse some type of exercise each day—whether it is riding, lunging, hand-walking, or grazing. These small things can make all the difference when preventing digestive upset. If symptoms of colic arise, it is also wise to get the horse up and hand-walking to help resolve the digestive upset.
Tune in next week for another colic prevention tip to keep your horse at its best!