Digestive Anatomy: Why We Feed Horses the Way We Do

Digestive Anatomy: Why We Feed Horses the Way We Do


So, I don’t know how often you have thought about the horses
digestive system, I think about it quite a lot. Hi, I’m Dr. Carrie Williams the Equine Extension specialist at
Rutgers University and the Equine Science center. I specialize in equine nutrition. Now, the horse’s digestive system actually has a lot
of similarities to our own digestive tract but they also have a lot of differences. Their small intestine is one of the main similarities
it’s very long, just like ours is and has the same function and that function is to absorb a
lot of the nutrients same as ours are fats, protein, vitamins, minerals and some carbohydrates. Now, the stomach has both similarities and differences. Some of the similarities include that it is used to secrete a lot of
digestive juices hydrochloric acid and some enzymes that will help break down the food as the horse eats, same as ours. However, the horse has a second portion to their stomach the non-glandular portion which is only used to help push food through the digestive system. Now, the main difference in a horse is their large intestine. It is located in the back half of the horse, it consists of
three main parts the cecum and the large and small colon. It serves as the main reservoir for fermentation, which
helps them ferment hay that she is eating. Unlike us we don’t really have a whole lot of hay in
our diet, so we are actually not able or not needed to use any of the fermentation like the horses are. So, if you are interested in learning more about the horses digestive
system and why we feed them the way we do you can log on to our webinar you can register or to
watch the archive of the webinar you can go to myhorseuniversity.com or if you just want to learn about
horse nutrition you can go to www.eXtension.org/horses.

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