The Equine Digestive System: Food Factory

The horse’s digestive system is designed for the free-grazing animal. The digestive system is designed to process small amounts of food frequently and convert the food into nutrients that can be absorbed to produce energy. Because owners have busy schedules, the horse no longer is able to eat small amounts of frequently. Instead, he usually is fed a large quantity of food, sometimes just once a day. The larger amount of food can cause problems such as colic.

Understanding the equine digestive system can make your horse healthier and give you fewer worries about gastric upset. This 10th installment of the anatomy and physiology series examines the horse’s digestive system. We provide the horse owner and caretaker with a look at how this “factory” is designed and how it functions.