The Equine Gut

If you were to fill a horse’s stomach with liquid, approximately how much would it hold?

The answer to this question is significant for horse owners. The average sized horse’s stomach holds 2.5 gallons, while extremely large horses can hold up to 4.

Horse owners should understand this to get a better feel for how to feed a horse. Some studies have shown that colic risk increased 70% when whole grains (such as oats or corn) are fed.. Horses eating pelleted feeds and sweet feeds are also at increased risk for colic compared to horses on a 100% hay or grazing diet.. Horses were designed to consume forage at their own pace all day long, not large meals twice per day.

Of course barn life does not lend itself well to such a lifestyle. So what can you do to decrease your barn horse’s risk of colicking? Feed as much hay as you can throughout the day. If you must supplement your hay with something, choose a high quality, reputable, forage based feed (such as Kalm & EZ, Nutrena Safechoice, or Triple Crown) and spread the feedings out over at least 3 meals per day. Horses should not be fed more than 3 pounds at a time with a few exceptions.

For more information on feeding to reduce the risk of colic, click on the following links:

Leave a Reply