Why is fibre such a crucial component of a horse’s diet?
Fibre is the main source of energy for horses. Horses are “hindgut fermenters” - that is, the bacteria in their hindgut is what digests most of their food. Fibre that is broken down and digested in the hindgut creates energy for the horse!
Fibre also keeps a horse’s gut nice and full. Roughage (grass, hay, chaff and other high fibre feeds) has the important task of bulking out a horse’s feed and ensuring the gut stays full. If the gut remains empty, it is more prone to twisting and causing colic.
A horse’s gut is also always producing gastric acid. Without the bulk of fibre filling the gut, there is no buffer for the acid which can lead to ulcers forming in the horse’s gastrointestinal lining. Chewing materials such as hay and other roughage causes the horse to produce a lot of saliva, which is a great buffer for the acid in the gut.
Hemp seed hulls are a great addition to a horse’s daily feed to ensure that they have their dose of fibre to keep their gut healthy and functioning as it should!