To avoid the triggers we need to feed for the GIT as well as the horse. Gut-fill is important, but it must be mainly fibre or forage. The physical presence of fibre generates saliva through chewing, soaks up excess stomach acid and allows the gut contents to be pushed along its length through muscular contraction (peristalsis). This avoids twisting (torsion), build-up of gas and pushes foreign bodies into the rectum and away. As it is a constant delivery system, dietary stresses are minimized and gut physiology optimized.
The presence of fibre ensures a good hindgut population of microbes that maintain the correct environment; overfeeding of starch and protein can upset this balance (as the small intestine cannot cope with excess nutrients) as they will alter the balance in the hindgut resulting in microbial death and endotoxins.
Additionally, there are components within fibre that have other effects. Pectins – soluble fibre held within the structural matrix - can bind to and reinforce the mucosal layer that protects the gut from acid attack in the stomach and microbial attack along the GIT.
However, it is not always possible to provide forage continuously, for a number of reasons; as stated above there are stress factors which disrupt feeding and it may be that there is insufficient energy in a forage diet for a number of activities.
This is where super fibres have a role. With a significantly higher fermentation rate in the hindgut than hay or grass, they can supply additional energy as well as the favourable aspects of fibre. In fact, in addition to their high energy values, both Speedi-Beet
have significant levels of soluble fibres that can support the horse’s mucus lining, as well as having high acid binding capacity. This means these products can help mop up excess acid and so have a role in optimizing both stomach and general gut function.
It is these properties that have allowed both Speedi-Beet and Fibre-Beet to be awarded the Gastric Ulcer Feed Assurance Mark
by the British Equestrian Trade Association making the both suitable for horses and ponies prone to equine gastric ulcer syndrome (EGUS) as part of a balanced diet.