As humans, we think our horses are just like us… For us, running on a full stomach is uncomfortable, so we think it must be for our horses too.
But the opposite is true! Working a horse on an empty stomach is painful and over time will cause ulceration!
Our human stomach switches on acid production when we eat. And it switches off when we stop eating. But our horses’ acid production is ON 24/7!
So if we let them get an empty stomach, what they end up with is a stomach full of strong, burning acid (see diagram, right).
If you ride your horse on an empty stomach, the strong acid from the lower section of the stomach splashes up and burns ulcers into the upper section of the stomach.
The result, pain! And anxious, sour, ‘hyperactive’, and generally undesirable behaviour. Plus loss of appetite, weight loss and a leaking gut which can lead to systemic inflammation. So what can you do?
Simple. And if you don’t normally feed alfalfa to your horse, his usual hay will do. This one simple change is creating a huge welfare shift for horses everywhere!
Try it, your horse will quickly show you that it is better for him to work with a full stomach!