I have decided that horse feeding is very much like gardening. The secret of a thriving garden is in the soil. In the case of a successful holistic horse health program, the secret is the digestive tract. This fact came to me when I recently made a trip to my local, organic garden store.
I stopped into the store with a plan and a shopping list of supplies I wanted. After visiting for just a few minutes with the young woman working the checkout counter I came to understand how little I understood about having a healthy organic garden.
I explained how I was planning to grow everything in containers because I had to protect my plants from free range chickens. I went on about how I was making my own soil using topsoil mixed with sand, horse and goat manure. She listened patiently and then very politely educated me about the difference between growing in the ground verses in a container. In a container, it seems, you need much more fertile soil with additives to prevent settling.
Wow! I left the store with so much more appreciation for the science of building healthy soil. Improved soil is alive with bacteria, fungi and yeasts. Healthy soil is packed with nutrients, drains well but does not dry out too quickly. Healthy soil breaks down nutrients into a form that plants can easily take into their root system. On the other hand, everyday dirt is not alive and does not nourish plants in the same way.
If we want our horses to thrive, then like the garden soil, we have to have a horse feeding program that supports healthy digestion. Pre and probiotics supply the horse with the beneficial bacteria he needs to create a healthy digestive tract. Pre and probiotics contribute to maintaining the proper pH needed for assimilation of nutrients and destruction of pathogens. They fill in spaces between the digestive cells so worms and other parasites can’t get established. They produce B vitamins which are then absorbed by the horse. The level of pre and probiotics in the digestive tract of the horse is the horse feeding secret between his gut performing like healthy soil or just plain dirt.
Prebiotics do not actually contain bacteria but they support the growth of beneficial bacteria. Actual bacteria(probiotics) may be needed if your horse has been under major stress or been treated with antibiotics or other drugs. Pre and probiotics may need to be combined with digestive tract protectors, such as Succeed, Stomach Soother, Aloe, slippery elm or marshmallow if digestive issues are already present.
We have a variety of pre and probiotic products along with digestive protectors in our Digestive Product section of the store. Daily packets of algae, enzymes and probiotics or a powdered algae and probiotic blend are also excellent pre and probiotic products. Let me know if, after reading the product descriptions, you are not sure which is best for your horse. Madalyn
For those of you new to holistic horse health, you can get a great education from our Holistic Horsekeeping ebook