Trust Your Guts. Eat Chaffhaye.
One of the most important things we as equine caretakers can do is understand how the anatomy of a horse works. By understanding its design, we recognize that the gastrointestinal tract is the epicenter of a horse’s health – and that if we feed our horses according to how their system is designed, we can prevent issues such as colic, ulcers, and even laminitis.
The Digestive System
A horse’s digestive tract is made up of two guts. The foregut – the stomach and small intestine –is responsible for breaking down starches, sugars, proteins, and fats. The hindgut – the large colon, small colon, and cecum – is where billions of microbes digest fibers and keep the immune system strong.
A horse’s stomach produces acid throughout the day and night. Without a steady supply of forage, there is nothing for the acid to act on, resulting in ulcers developing over time. The cecum is an organ that stores billions of microbes that aid in energy production. As the energy house of the horse, it must always be full to function properly. If the pH levels of the microbes within are too high or too low, a horse can develop laminitis or colic, and if there is no way for the materials inside to exit, the horse will store sand, dirt, and other harmful substances. The reason why sand–clearing cleanses are so common in Southern California is that there is so much dust and sand around.
Why does this matter?
When we understand how a horse’s body is designed and feed our horses in sync with this design, we prevent disease. By paying attention and being mindful, we honor our partners and deepen our bond with them. We must always remember that pastured or stable horses are still domesticated animals, and these animals rely on us to understand what’s best for them.
About a year ago, we were introduced to Chaffhaye – a fermented alfalfa and probiotic that’ssuper digestible and loaded with enzymes and microflora that aid in the absorption of nutrients.It’s high in fiber and an excellent source of protein, making the product ideal for lactating and gestating mares, growing animals, and senior and working horses. Chaffhaye is also a perfect choice for goats, llamas, deer, and camelids. Chaffhaye is a small yet growing company based in Texas.
We give Chaffhaye to our senior horse, Hickory, who is a hard keeper and prone to laminitis. Adding this product to his daily routine has helped him maintain a healthy weight and a strong immune and digestive system.