Charity owners Pam and Kevin Atkinson
work hard and support former racehorses leaving the racing industry or horses that have already left, and need a safe environment in which they can adjust in becoming an ideal riding partner and enjoy a new beginning.
The organisation is supported by British Horse Feeds who supply Fibre-Beet
, a BETA
approved feed for equines prone to gastric ulcers as part of a balanced diet.
Back in 2017, British Horse Feeds commissioned a scoping study to be conducted at New Beginnings on some of their horses to see the effects of feeding Fibre-Beet to horses that had gastric ulcers.
Amongst horses and most commonly occurring in racehorses, gastric ulcers (also known as EGUS) are a welfare, health and performance concern.
Feeding high levels of starch is a major cause. Bacteria in the stomach ferment the starch forming lactic acid which increases the acidity of the stomach and this encourages the growth of acid-loving bacteria. The bacteria can penetrate the mucus lining especially in areas where stressful conditions compromise mucin secretion and infect the stomach wall. The infection leads to ulceration and this can lead to perforation. Additionally, releasing a highly acidic mix into the small intestine can overwhelm the buffering capacity of the gut and allow infection to progress along its length.
High levels of pectins and surfactants can help maintain the mucus linings of the gut whilst the structural fibre absorbs excess stomach acid – helping combat the conditions for ulceration and other stress symptoms.
Fibre-Beet is a super-fibre conditioning feed formulated to contain all the benefits of Speedi-Beet with added high quality alfalfa for optimum condition and quality protein for muscle tone and function.
The highly degradable fibre sources in Fibre-Beet provide optimum fermentation patterns to help keep the digestive system healthy.
Fibre-Beet when fermented produces high levels of butyric acid, which aids the function of the cells of the gut wall, and low levels of lactic acid, making it an ideal alkaline feed.
The trial was conducted over a 14 month period, using seven Thoroughbreds from New Beginnings, based on their expertise and in-house recommendations on history, condition and behaviour.
Seven horses were chosen; one had clear signs of gastric ulcers after the first scope. The others six were investigated within weeks of being brought into New Beginnings.
All the horses have come from different backgrounds but their diet was kept unanimously the same when staying at New Beginnings – based around a grazing, hay and fibre feed diet.
Six of the horses were given Fibre-Beet after the initial endoscope and the seventh horse first received a course of Omeprazole as its ulcers were more severe than observed in the others. Subsequent endoscopes were done at two to three month intervals to see the effects of Fibre-Beet on the ulcers.
The areas that were studied were the Squamous Mucosa at the greater curvature and lesser curvature areas and at the Glandular Mucosa.
Across the board most horses had Grade 2/3 ulcers at the Squamous Mucosa, but Horse One, a seven-year-old gelding, also had linear regions of inflammation in the pyloric antrum and six-year-old gelding, Horse Two had focal mild hyperaemia around the pylorus.
Horse Three, an eight-year-old gelding, predominantly had issues at the Glandular Mucosa which had linear reddening and numerous small focal bleeding ulcers in the pyloric antrum.
Out of all the horses Horse Four, an eight-year-old (gelding) was the only horse that needed assistance with medication after the first scope due to having large Grade 3 ulcers at the greater curvature, plus Grade 2 lesions at the lesser curvature. As well there was a small bleeding ulcer at the lesser curvature in the Glandular Mucosa which is when the treatment with Omerprazole was recommended.
It was only after the second scope two months later where the medication was no longer needed and Horse Four would only be using Fibre-Beet for the rest of the study and by the third scope the greater and lesser curvatures were normal with full healing of the previous squamous lesions.
All horses only needed to be scoped three times, apart from the mare, Horse Five, which was scoped for a fourth time due to the lesser curvature needing a longer period to heal. By the fourth scope the ulcer improved.
Overall, all horses ulcerations improved in the time frame of this study. Only one horse required an Omeprazole treatment due to the severity of the squamous ulceration which was likely to be causing pain after the first scope.
There is enough evidence here to show that Fibre-Beet along with a beneficial feeding regime can help to restore gastric integrity.
For further information on Fibre-Beet contact a member of the team on 01765 680300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Middle image shows the Glandular Mucosa region before and after the study with Horse One.
Bottom right image shows the Glandular Mucosa area before and after the study with Horse Three.