In their natural environment, horses spend more time chewing than they do anything else – a whopping 16-20 hrs a day… more than any other domestic hoofed animal! Whether they are eating or not, horses constantly secrete stomach acid, and their saliva, which is brought on by chewing, contains bicarbonate and acts as a natural buffer. If chewing time is limited, these gastric acids can accumulate in the horse’s empty stomach, which can lead to gastric ulcers. High fibre ingredients like pasture, hays and fibre based feeds also buffer this strong acid, and form a floating mat in the stomach, which acts like a lid to help stop the acid splashing around.
The time horses spend chewing plays and incredibly important role in the health of the digestive tract and a horse’s mental wellbeing. When consuming 1kg of hay and long stem fibre feeds, horses will chew approximately 3000 – 4500 times, taking around 40 minutes. For 1kg grain, the number of chews reduces to 800-1000 times and around 10 minutes, and for 1kg of sweet feeds and grain based pellets, the number of chews goes down to 350-500 times and about 5 minutes.
All Johnson’s Natural Formula feeds are based on high fibre ingredients, which is not ground up into a powder, but kept as a long stem, so horses are encouraged to chew, just as they are designed to.
Blog republished with permission from Johnson’s Natural Formula.