The other day, a rider came to us. Her show horse had been struggling with recurring gastric ulcers for years on end. She felt guilty towards her horse: Every few months she needed to treat it with a medicine that cured the ulcers, but couldn’t do a thing against the underlying causes. To go on like this was out of the question. So she started to look for natural alternatives.
Many riders out there feel the same. There is a lot of suspicion when it comes to medical treatment. And many are asking themselves if less drastic preventive measures could help instead. Something is wrong, when so many horses are chronically ill. Do you want to give your horse high doses of medicine knowing that the problem will eventually come back? Can you be sure your horse is really fine with that? Soon, you start doubting everything: Maybe, taking your horse to shows is not such a great idea after all. It could be wise to look for another horse that is better able to deal with stress.
Then again, that doesn’t look like a great option, either. After all, a lot of show horses seem to attract stomach trouble. There is a dilemma here: As riders, we want to prove ourselves while making sure our horses are as well as they possibly can. So, is medication really the only solution, or is there a natural way?
There is no simple answer to this question. When the horse is already suffering from gastric ulcers, only the 1K medical treatment your veterinarian prescribes can cure it.
That said, you can start to help your horse much earlier: Gastric ulcers occur when there is too much excess acid in your horse’s stomach. If you manage to buffer the stomach acid in time, you can prevent ulcers before they start growing. Optimizing the feeding is key to achieve this. For instance, you can mix natural supplements with the regular rations. If this is done over a longer period of time, it can very effectively neutralize excess stomach acid.