Statistics on Performance Horses
The fact is 60% of show horses have stomach ulcers. Furthermore as many as 90% of racehorses have stomach ulcers. Approximately one-third of all adult horses that are kept in stalls develop mild cases of ulcers.
The facts are in. If you own a performance horse, you have to deal with the fact that they are highly prone to develop stomach ulcers. While these ulcers can range from very mild to absolutely devastating, they should always be taken seriously. It is not difficult by any means for a mild ulcer to become something that is considerably more life-threatening.
Performance Horses And Stomach Ulcers
There are a few reasons as to why performance horses are so likely to develop stomach ulcers. One of the biggest reasons involves diet. Horses are typically grazing animals, but this is not something that is always available to performance horses. Many performance horses are put on a diet that is built more around the concept of actual meals, rather than on natural grazing. The combination of dry hay and concentrates are often utilized, which in of itself can cause problems. When the meal plan is combined with the concentrates, gastric pH levels drop, and the cells of the stomach and intestine areas become damaged.
The training regimen of a performance horse can also cause problems, particularly in the form of mild-to-severe stomach ulcers. Stress caused by training can amp up the release of corticosteroids while diminishing the amount of healthy blood flow to the stomach lining. This can create a plethora of problems with the horse's natural abilities to take care of itself, which in turn can lead to more significant degrees of damage from stomach acid.
Stress from constant travel can also certainly play a role in the development of stomach ulcers. If your horse is exercising too much, not grazing enough, and is subject to a life that is constantly spent in trailers or stalls, they can become highly prone to stomach ulcers. Adding mirrors to stalls and trailers have been shown to reduce stress levels in horses. More time for grazing has also been proven to help a great deal. Try to give your horse a life that minimizes major changes to their routine as much as you possibly can.