Why You Should Never Ride Your Horse on an Empty Stomach
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Why You Should Never Ride Your Horse on an Empty Stomach

October 21, 2019


– Gastric ulcers, they’re
a painful condition of the horse’s stomach and they’re caused when we leave horses off feed for long periods of time and they’re made worse when you exercise horses with an empty stomach. G’day, I’m Nerida and this is
Poet and we’re from FeedXL.com and we thought we would just drop by today and show you what happens
in your horse’s stomach when they’re off feed
for long periods of time. So, horses are very different to us. We’re meal feeders and we eat food in distinct meals throughout a day, so our gastric acid secretion switches on when we start eating and it switches off when we stop eating, but a horse, because it
evolved as a grazing animal and was continuously
eating, they never developed an on-off switch for their
gastric acid production so their stomach is secreting
acid 24 hours a day, regardless of whether
they’re eating or not. So, what I wanted to do, I’ve built you some very expensive models of the horse’s stomach
using empty milk bottles and I wanted to show you what happens when you exercise a horse
on an empty stomach. So, if you look at this milk bottle, I’ve drawn a black line
to signify the change between the lower stomach
and the upper stomach. The lower part of the
stomach was smart enough to protect itself from acid because it knew that the acid
was going to be down there, so there’s thick mucus
that’s secreted there to protect it from
being burnt by the acid. The top part of the stomach, however, because a horse’s stomach was always full when it was evolving, it never saw the need to
actually protect itself from the acid that was in the
lower part of the stomach, so it’s totally unprotected from the acid. Now, if you leave a horse off
feed for four or five hours, the stomach’s going to be completely empty but it’s going to have secreted this huge pool of acid down there, which is perfectly okay for
horses standing totally still and not tensing its stomach muscles, but whose horse stands totally still? So, what happens is, I have this pool of acid down in the bottom and when they start to move a little bit, it starts to splash around. So, you imagine a horse walking, a horse trotting, a horse cantering and you can see that
acid is just splashing up onto the top part of the stomach and it’s going to start
burning holes in the top and creating gastric ulcers. Now the reason why we say always keep your horses stomach full and never, ever exercise your
horse on an empty stomach is because if you’ve got
fiber inside that stomach, one, you’ve had the horse create saliva, which means the acid won’t be as acidic, so it won’t be as burning
if it does splash around and the second and most
important thing is, the fiber actually acts as a barrier for that acid splashing around. So, this milk bottle has got lucerne chaff or alfalfa chaff in it and it’s got exactly the
same amount of fluid in there but I can shake that
bottle as much as I’d like and the fluid can’t move
beyond that lower section, so it doesn’t actually get
up above that black line and start to burn the
top part of the stomach. Now, I know it’s a pretty
simplistic demonstration but it’s literally bringing
the horse’s stomach outside its body so you
can see what’s going on. So, please don’t do this. Please don’t ride your
horse on an empty stomach because that is what is happening inside. Keep your horse’s stomach full of fiber, you’ll have all this beautiful
saliva inside the stomach keeping the pH a little bit higher than it would otherwise be and
the acid just can’t splash. It’s a good thing, isn’t it Poet-man.

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