I own a Dutch Warmblood gelding that weighs about 1,400 pounds (640 kilograms). He spends about nine hours outside and the remaining time in a stall. He is exercised almost daily for at least 30 minutes but no longer than an hour. He is fed oat hay, grass hay, and a grain mixture twice per day. Though no full-blown ulcerative lesions were found on gastroscopy, a few hot spots were noted, and he was treated with a prescription ulcer medication. I want to make sure his hindgut is as healthy as his stomach is. Please tell me about hindgut buffers.
Hindgut acidosis is most frequently a problem among horses that are fed high-grain diets or those given access to certain lush pasture grasses. Because the quantity of certain sugars in these feedstuffs cannot be digested normally in the small intestine, they pass on to the hindgut. While the hindgut is a wondrous environment for the digestion of fiber, it is not the ideal place for the digestion of sugars. As these sugars are processed in the hindgut, their end products are extremely acidic and certain beneficial microorganisms die off, making the environment ripe for acidosis, or a drop in pH. (Learn more about hindgut acidosis here.) Hindgut acidosis can lead to certain management issues in horses: inappetence, colonic ulcers, recurrent mild colic, stable vices such as cribbing and stall-walking, and decreased performance.
A hindgut buffer keeps the pH of the hindgut at a desirable range, preventing shifts in the fragile microbial population. By maintaining a steady microbial environment, horses are able to digest forages most efficiently. A critical features of any equine hindgut buffer is time-release technology. Encapsulation ensures that the buffer is delivered to the hindgut, where it is needed. Without encapsulation, the buffer would be ineffective by the time in reached the far end of the gastrointestinal tract. EquiShure is a research-proven, time-released hindgut buffer.
Another product available in the United States, RiteTrac, supports total gastrointestinal health by providing antacids and coating agents for the stomch and EquiShure for the hindgut.