Some facts about low starch diet for horses
A horse’s digestive system has functioned primarily on fiber for thousands of years. Naturally this formed the basis of much of their diet in the wild and is more than sufficient to keep them healthy.
However, some veterinarians and other experts recommend low starch diets for horses primarily since their domestication. Because they now are subject to the rigorous of intensive competition and training, we have dramatically changed their natural diets to provide them with additional fuel for performance.
Starch is primarily made of complex chains of molecules, most of which are glucose that have been tightly packed into granules. The primary source of starch in a horse’s diet are cereal grains. The danger of overfeeding these seeds to your horses can cause colic, stomach ulcers, different metabolic or digestive disorders, excitability and fluctuating energy levels. All of this is because domesticated horses’ digestive systems have yet to strengthen to cope with these elevated starch levels. The solution is to carefully monitor your horse’s diet or even consider a low starch diet for horses.
The most important thing you need to know about how your first digest starch is that it happens in the small intestine and the stomach. Because horses have relatively compact stomachs if you overfeed them, the stomach is incapable of digesting the starch you provided with and this will flow to their hind gut where issues arise. Overexposure to starch can kill the healthy bacteria in this area of your horse’s gut, resulting in bacterial populations being severely disrupted, leaving too much more serious diseases.
The most effective way to continue to provide your horse with the energy boost provided by starch but to minimise the danger attached is to heat or cook the grains beforehand. This increases your horse’s ability to digest the starch, meaning more of it can be quickly absorbed and your small intestine.