Grand Meadows Cares Series: Will Equine Gastric Ulcers Blight Your Show Season Success?

by Nikki Alvin-Smith

A British event rider appearing as a contestant on the very funny British TV show, “Come Dine With Me,” (find it free on TUBI), quoted an equestrian mantra that resonated with me as a fellow competitive rider:

“We win our ribbons at home; we just go to shows to collect them.”

There is truth to this statement. Consider how much hard work horse trainers across multiple disciplines put into training horses for competition. To win qualifying classes and showcase improvement in the show ring it is necessary to master the task for whatever level or type of equestrian discipline competition is anticipated, at home, before adding the stress of the showground environment.

The trouble is, as we increase the workload and add the inevitable stress to our horse’s lifestyles with more time spent behind bars in stables and on the road during show season, we also increase our equines’ exposure to other horses and environments and hence the possibility for infections. The extra level of stress our horses are subjected to the more likely it is that our noble beasts will suffer adverse medical conditions, such as the sadly all too common, equine gastric ulcer syndrome {EGUS}.

While the only way to know for sure if your horse is suffering with this issue is an endoscopic exam, there are subtle signs that horse owners should be aware of that can creep into the horse health equation such as a reluctant attitude to work, poor appetite and decreased performance. Horses may exhibit a dull coat, be girthy to saddle up, grind their teeth and generally seem not themselves. Signs of a clinical low-grade colic can easily be missed.

But there is a simple way to set the performance horse up for success and to get ahead of the EGUS issue and mitigate the likelihood of it occurring or recurring if it has been an unwanted visitor to your horse’s digestive system before.

Finding Time

Preventative treatments for horse health don’t have to be hard to find time to manage. Experienced horse trainers realize that their equines’ health is often a complex task to regulate especially with when striving to attain peak performance at a specific time. Add in the vagaries of the seemingly unending ability for horses to injure themselves at the 11th hour before a major event plus the need for careful management of the combination of needs to show and the struggle to reach full potential at the right time and the level of supervision needed can become intensely difficult to manage. Between completing show paperwork online, obtaining required vet clearances, loading trailers with tack and equipment, feed needs and packing, attire for show and trotting up for vet checks for rider, and the inevitable increased tension that life at the showgrounds presents everything becomes a sincere challenge. And the horse hasn’t even entered the ring yet!

The equine partner in this endeavor, will feel a certain level of his own angst or stress throughout these proceedings. And while he’s not texting and forwarding emails from A to B, or cleaning show stalls and lugging bales of shavings about, he is likely nonetheless to be experiencing butterflies in his stomach. A heightened sense of nervousness, attention to his surroundings and the need to ‘take it all in’ can overwhelm even the most stalwart equine character.

Get Ahead of the Game

The best way to mitigate the likely health bumps in the track that such tension can cause for your horse, is to ensure that he has a healthy microbiome. Your horse’s microbiome is found in his small and large intestines, but is also active in his lungs, skin and nasal passages. This throng of fungi, viruses, bacteria and other microorganisms have to be kept healthy in order to properly break down feed, medications, supplements and absorb them.

Plus, also very importantly, a healthy microbiome aids the immune system providing invaluable support. When your horse is under stress he is necessarily more prone to infection and contagious disease. Exposure to viruses or bacteria can obviously compromise his health, so a strong immune system helps keep your horse healthy and safe.

The Way to Saddle Up for Success

 The recent advent of the availability of Grand Postbiotic has unleashed a significant benefit in regard to adding another layer of protection to our hopefully healthy horses, by optimizing their digestive processes through several notable features. These bioactive compounds are shown to act as a barrier to harmful bacteria and their support of intestinal health also includes a performance critical aid, they increase blood oxygen levels and reduce recovery times from lactic acid accumulation. An edge that can help any horse perform better.

Grand Meadows owner, Nick Hartog, a veteran of the feed supplement industry and of course a leading manufacturer of same, explains postbiotics and the digestive system in his blogs and fireside chats. A great resource for those horse owners that seek a better understanding of just how critical a role the horse’s digestive system plays in optimizing its health.

It’s true to say that as equestrian competitors, we do win ribbons at home. The preparation for success encompasses all aspects of horse training and horse care. From soaking or steaming hay to remove microbes for lung health, to upgrading feeding regimes (which doesn’t necessarily mean adding more grain), to formulating the best exercise program and interval training our horses mental and physical health, the building of an equine athlete takes applied knowledge and a lot of love and attention.

Giving your horse a leg up to allow him to have the best chance of maintaining good health throughout the hectic competitive season comes down to you. And while collecting those ribbons at the showgrounds is great, the real icing on the cake when you halt for the photographer on your dancing noble beast, is knowing you’ve done the best for your beloved equine partner by feeding him what he needs to succeed. Enjoy that mental victory lap, whether you win the class or not.

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 About Grand Meadows: Founded in 1989 by visionary Angela Slater, Grand Meadows is a leading horse health product and equine supplement manufacturer driven by the guiding principle of providing affordable, extremely high-quality science-backed horse products to help ensure horses look and feel their best.

For the past 35 years the company’s mission has been honored and developed further, by President Nick Hartog, who among other accomplishments is one of the founding members and current board member of the National Animal Supplement Council (NASC), an organization that has a profound impact on the safety, transparency, and legitimacy of the animal supplement industry.

Grand Meadow products are widely used and trusted across the entire horse community from Olympic medal winning competitors and successful horse racing trainers to backyard horse owners. Their equine supplements are highly regarded for their excellent quality resourced ingredients and completely accurate labelling and effective formulations. Learn more at

Grand Meadows, Orange, CA
Media Contact:
Tel: 607 434 4470

Photos are available on request.

About Nikki Alvin-Smith:
Content Creator | PR Partner | Seasoned Writer | Brand Builder |
Major Marketer| Journalist|
Blogger| Ghostwriter|
PR Marketing Specialist/Strategist|
British American|
Grand Prix Dressage
Competitor/Coach/ Clinician|

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