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Equine Nutrition and Digestion

An active horse is a healthy horse. In this Farm Walk and Talk video with AgriAware, Crea English, an equine lecturer in Kildalton College talks to about the equine nutrition and the equine digestive system.

The equine digestive system is monogastric - meaning it has just one stomach. This is unlike a ruminant digestive system that contains 4 stomachs.

Wild horses graze for between 16-18 hours a day ingesting a variety of grasses and roaming form water source to water source. A wild horse can clock up on average 20k steps a day in the wild. 

Through selective breeding programs, humans have influenced the evolution of the horse. To ensure the horses systems are working at optimum levels we have to mimic their natural life but in the stables. Horses are trickle feeders, they must be fed little and often and with a high % of roughage. 

Digestive System 

A horse's digestive system is around 100 feet long. Digestion for horses starts at the mouth. The food is moved from the back of the mouth and into the stomach through the esophagus and from there to the stomach. A horses stomach is a similar shape to rugby ball. Food then travels fromthe stomach to the small intestine and from there to the large intestine  where fiber rich foods such as haylage are broken down. Get more information in the video below.

View more Farm Walk and Talk videos here