Ever been told that your horse has a hay belly and needs to lose weight? Well, relax! He’s not fat, he just has gas. In fact, gas production is normal and healthy. It indicates that your horse is getting enough hay for hindgut microbial fermentation to occur. A distended abdomen is often referred to as a “hay belly” to describe an overweight horse, even when the rest of his body is normal, but fat does not accumulate extensively on the horse’s lower abdomen (belly).
Horse owners who deliberately limit hay consumption and replace it with cereal grain to avoid a hay belly are doing their horses a disservice, and increasing the risk of colic and laminitis. Forage should be the foundation of any horse’s diet. It is vital for the health of the hindgut microbes, and hence, the health of your horse.
For more equine nutrition information from Dr. Getty, visit GettyEquineNutrition.com