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Ep. 074: How to Prevent Gastric Issues by Supporting the Horse's Gut Microbiome

On this episode, co-host Katy Starr and guest expert Dr. Stephen Duren, PhD, MS, PAS discuss healing a horse’s damaged digestive system with a grain-free solution.

Episode Notes

On this episode, co-host Katy Starr and guest expert Dr. Stephen Duren, PhD, MS, PAS discuss healing a horse’s damaged digestive system including:


  • Different ways horses can have a compromised or damaged digestive system and how to heal it
  • Preventative solutions to minimize gastric ulcers in horses
  • How an unstable microbiome can impact multiple functions of the horse’s body


An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure – meaning it is easier (and most often cheaper!) to do what you can to keep something from happening in the first place rather than try to fix or repair the issue after it has happened. 


What if you could give your horse exactly what its digestive system requires while simultaneously preventing other potential issues from occurring while you’re at it? You won’t want to miss out on this conversation!


Have a topic idea or feedback to share? We want to connect with you! Email

Katy Starr (00:01):

Hi, I'm Katy.

Dr. Tania Cubitt (00:02):

And I'm Dr. Cubitt. We're going Beyond the Barn. Come join us on this journey as we bust equine and livestock nutrition myths and interview some of the most intriguing experts in the country.

Katy Starr (00:15):

We'll go behind the scenes of how premium Western quality forage is grown and brought to your favorite farm and ranch retail store. We're so glad you're here. 

Welcome back to another episode of Beyond the Barn. And Dr. Duren, we have you back with us today and we're excited to have you.

Dr. Stephen Duren (00:36):

Got lucky, lucky listeners.

Katy Starr (00:38):

It's going to be a great, great conversation. Just as a reminder before we kind of get started with this, any of the topics that we cover on the Beyond the Barn podcast are more generalized and not specific to any individual horse or any specific situation. So be sure to always work with your veterinarian and nutritionist before making any drastic changes to your horse's feed program. Or you can reach out and talk directly with Dr. Cubitt or Dr. Duren on any specifics that you would like to know through Standlee. So Dr. Duren, on our last episode you talked about the horse's digestive system, how of all the things we feed our horses, its main function is to digest forage, which will lead us into today's discussion. So listeners, if you haven't had a chance to listen to that episode yet, please check out episode 73 for some more foundational information to kind of lead us into also this conversation today. Today's focus will be more on horses that are struggling with gastric ulcers and issues that tend to stem back to the horse's gut microbiome and the stomach and the rest of the digestive system. So Dr. Duren, what are some of the ways that horses can have a compromised digestive system?

Dr. Stephen Duren (01:58):

Yeah, so when we talk about that in generality, the horse's digestive system certainly would begin in the mouth and then go all the way through the esophagus, the stomach, the small intestine, and ultimately the large intestine. So anything that happens to any one of those structures along the way can compromise the digestive system. So if we begin at the beginning of the digestive tract, any issues with dentition, any issues with the horse's ability to properly chew food, first means they may not be able to get the product swallowed. Secondly, if they do get it swallowed but they haven't reduced the particle size to a small enough level that can be conveniently swallowed, you could have an issue with choke, but most of the time when we think about a compromised digestive system, most of the time we begin with things that can go wrong in the equine stomach. That's kind of the first major area, if you will, of the digestive system. And certainly lots of things can happen and go wrong in in that area of the digestive system.

Katy Starr (03:01):

So kind of talking about one of the main things that a lot of horse owners tend to be concerned with or struggle with are gastric ulcers. So can you explain to us what exactly are gastric ulcers?

Dr. Stephen Duren (03:16):

Yes. So the horse's digestive system, the way it's anatomically arranged and the way that it's adapted to utilize forage and consume forage in small meals on a continuous basis, what this is anatomically led to is to a stomach that does not have the ability to turn on and turn off acid secretion. So the acid secretion into a horse's stomach is a bit like a leaky faucet. Acid is constantly being secreted into the stomach because it thinks there's going to be food there all the time. So this buildup of acid and the splashing of acid from protected areas in the bottom part of the stomach to unprotected areas in the upper part of the stomach leads to a situation called equine gastric ulcer syndrome or EGUS in horses. The ulcers or the ulceration is a result of exposure, typically of exposure to non-protected tissue. That upper part of the stomach to stomach acid and that acid causes the squamous tissue to ulcerate and ulcers can develop in that region of the stomach.

Katy Starr (04:28):

So what tends to be the main cause? I mean you talk about how that acid, where it's kind of at the bottom part of that stomach that is protected, ends up getting up higher where than it should be. What can actually cause that acid to move from being in that bottom area up to the top?

Dr. Stephen Duren (04:46):

Well, first we need to talk about what the normal chewing of forage, reducing that forage from the size of a pasture plant or the size of hay to smaller particles that that horse can then swallow requires the horse to chew that forage and the production of saliva. That saliva contains bicarbonate, which is the main stomach buffer. So we have all these ulcer supplements out on the market, but if you just walked around and spit into a jar and gave that to your horse, the bicarbonate is probably equally as effective as a stomach buffer. So then your question kind of coming at it at a roundabout way, what causes the movement of that acid? So what happens is when a horse begins to exercise, when he goes from being tacked up to walking to trotting as the horse moves and he takes in more oxygen, that expansion of the lung contracts the diaphragm and actually compresses the stomach or squeezes the stomach. And then you get that movement or that potential splashing of acid from the bottom part of the stomach to the upper part of the stomach. So horses generally will develop that ulceration when they begin to exercise and particularly when they begin to exercise on an empty stomach.

Katy Starr (06:04):

So you talk about a lot of horses that end up exercising are the ones that kind of tend to struggle with this a little bit. What is actually the prevalence of gastric ulcers and horses?

Dr. Stephen Duren (06:14):

Yeah, so if you look at a population of horses, the horses that are least likely to get ulcers are those horses that are in a pasture situation where they're grazing all the time and those horses that meet most of their energy or calorie needs from forage. In other words, they're chewing forage, producing plenty of saliva. The incidence of ulcers in those types of mature horses are very small. Then when we start talking about performance horses because of the potential acid splash, when they exercise on an empty stomach, then the prevalence goes up. So there's been a number of different studies on that and the prevalence, depending on the horse type, depending on a number of other factors, the prevalence has been reported to be in the mid-forties all the way up into the upper nineties as the percent of horses that actually have gastric ulcers. That higher prevalence are the race horses or horses that tend to eat less forage and large amounts of grain. Those horses would have the highest prevalence.

Katy Starr (07:14):

Okay. And then what symptoms do we tend to see with our horses, maybe nutritionally, behaviorally, you know, things like that. What types of symptoms do we tend to see from our horses that might indicate that there could be a gastric ulcer issue with them?

Dr. Stephen Duren (07:33):

Yeah, the unfortunate thing with horses is they can't always tell us what's going on or what hurts. You know, with children or adults and medical professionals, they can ask questions of what hurts, where does it hurt, what's the pain level of that symptom? With horses, they don't always have that, and those of you who own horses know that there are certain horses that are very stoic that don't give us much of a symptom at all. And then there's other horses that are a bit of a drama source in anything and they'll show you a very definite symptom. So some of the main symptoms are not nutritional as much as they are behavioral. Horses that are grouchy or grumpy, they don't seem to want to go to work, they don't want to move forward, and this is because the stomach is painful and they know when they exercise that it hurts more because of that acid splash.

Dr. Stephen Duren (08:26):

Some of these horses may show behavioral differences when you're tightening the girth. They may get girthy as they say or want to lay their ears back or be uncomfortable in that situation. These horses will often try to roll in the stall trying to get the acid, if you will, to roll back into the lower part of the stomach to get them some relief. So lots of different symptoms. I'd like to say that those symptoms are directly related to the severity of ulcers, but they're not, they're masked to some degree by the stoic nature of certain horses.

Katy Starr (08:59):

Right. Well and I think just, you know, knowing, and I guess more as a reminder, obviously we know that our horses can't talk to us, but sometimes they, it might be our first like inclination would be to think that, you know, why is my horse acting like this? And maybe get frustrated but then maybe take a few steps back and think about, okay, maybe my horse is actually trying to tell me something, maybe something is wrong. 

Dr. Stephen Duren (09:23):

Yeah, I absolutely agree to that. There's no one that knows your horse better than you or people that work around that horse all the time. So if your horse is acting differently, behaving differently or seems to pick something up, don't discount that. You know, certainly you can try to train through some of those obstacles but also, you know, explore is there a medical reason or a health reason that this horse is behaving that way?

Katy Starr (09:50):

Right. So aside from the gastric ulcers, what are some other ways that the horse's digestive system can become disrupted?

Dr. Stephen Duren (10:00):

Yeah, so we made it just to the stomach and we've already scared the listeners with all the things that can happen bad in the stomach with gastric ulcers and unfortunately that's just a start. If you actually know anything about the horse's digestive system, you often sit back and on and just amazed that it works at all, because there's lots of things that can go wrong. The other major area that you have issues with the digestion and digestive function is back in the large intestine, that's the large balloon like structure in the back part of the digestive system. And we can have a number of things that can happen there. You can get ulceration that occurs there from high grain diets and that grain not being properly digested in the small intestine, spilling in there and disrupting bacteria and then producing acid back there that causes some ulceration in the hindgut.

Dr. Stephen Duren (10:55):

You can also have some situations where we develop a leaky gut, if you will, different changes in diet, different changes in the microbiome in the environment within the intestine actually produces some substances or produces even heat that will destroy some of the junctions between digestive cells and make that digestive system leak. In other words, material is supposed to be absorbed through the cells into the blood. In a leaky digestive system, you actually have those gaps between the cells and material can move freely from the intestine to circulation and cause a massive inflammation and a host of diseases can be caused from that. So lots of things can go on, certainly with the stomach, but we can have lots of situations in the hindgut of the horse that can lead to issues as well.

Katy Starr (11:47):

Right. And can you speak to, a little bit about some of the systemic inflammation that can occur and what that might be related to?

Dr. Stephen Duren (11:56):

Yeah, so systemic inflammation simply means you've had some insult to the body. And when we're talking about a systemic inflammation that's from the intestinal tract, that means that a toxin or a pathogenic bacteria or something that shouldn't have been absorbed or shouldn't have traveled through the digestive system has got to the bloodstream or the systemic circulation. And when the body sees that, it starts an immune response, it starts an inflammatory response. So ironically that inflammatory response, every single disease has an inflammatory response to it. It's a disease, it's seen as a challenge to the immune system and you begin an inflammatory response. Now they're looking at a lot of the diseases that occur in horses. Some of them may be certainly from digestive origin where the digestive system has leaked. We begin a systemic inflammation that's led to a whole host of different disease conditions in the horse.

Katy Starr (13:02):

So we've talked about a handful of ways that the digestive system can be disrupted in the horse. Can we talk about maybe some ways or you know, solutions that we can look at that might help our horses?

Dr. Stephen Duren (13:16):

Absolutely. Because we certainly have recognized for years that horses can have these disturbances, if you will, throughout the digestive system. And the thing that excites me quite honestly is what can we do with feed? What can we do with feeding that can potentially impact those situations in a positive way? So we have been working on products actually for years. We've talked about forages that could potentially be therapeutic for a number of different diseases. And one of the things that we've worked on with Standlee is the development of a product that could support gastric function and healthy gastric function. So we put together a product called Standlee Gastric Support Plus that addresses some of these issues.

Katy Starr (14:03):

Excellent. So you talked a little bit about the leaky gut and things like that. Let's talk about some of these ingredients and break some of this down a little bit. What do we have in this forage product, this Forage Plus Gastric Support product that's going to support our horses in that way?

Dr. Stephen Duren (14:22):

Yeah, so if we begin in the stomach, okay, we talked about equine gastric ulcer syndrome and those horses being sensitive, if you will, to acid production and the splashing of that acid causing ulcers. So the main thing that we want to do there is we want to buffer that stomach acid. And one of the things, it's a very powerful buffer of stomach acid. We certainly talked about the bicarbonate from saliva, but the other one is calcium. Calcium has the ability to buffer stomach acid. Well instead of just putting additional calcium in it or just putting calcium associated with alfalfa because we know alfalfa contains a high calcium. We went another step as well. What we added is we added a product called marine derived calcium and this is calcium that's sourced from fossilized red algae. And the reason we use that is because it has a more porous structure and because the structure is more porous, it has more surface area to bind acid and neutralize it. So that's the first ingredient we utilize a first special ingredient, if you will, that we utilize specifically to buffer stomach acid. Now in addition to that marine derived calcium, we also utilize calcium from alfalfa hay. So it's a bit of a one two punch if you will, as far as minimizing acid secretion or buffering acid secretion in the stomach.

Katy Starr (15:53):

Excellent. And how about some of the other ingredients like butyric acid, zinc that is included in this product? What is this specific purpose that those ingredients serve to help our horses?

Dr. Stephen Duren (16:09):

Yeah, so with the hindgut we've taken a bit of a multi-pronged approach as well. We talked earlier about one of the main problems that we get with the hindgut of the horse is a situation called leaky gut syndrome. And again, a leaky gut is where material is normally supposed to be absorbed through that single layer of cells connecting the inside of the digestive system with the circulatory system or what actually gets in the body. And absorption again is supposed to go through those cells. In leaky gut syndrome, what happens is the junctions between the cells become leaky so there becomes holes between the cells, so material can go freely from the digestive system or inside the digestive tract right into the blood. So we need to repair those leaks, we need to repair those proteins. And two things that we add to that is we add butyric acid.

Dr. Stephen Duren (17:02):

Butyric acid is an organic acid that's normally produced in the digestive tract and butyric acid serves as the energy source for that intrasite for that digestive tissue cell. So giving it the energy that it can needs to heal. The other thing that we add to it is zinc, a protected form of zinc that gets to the hindgut of the horse. Zinc is necessary for protein synthesis. Those tight junctions or those bonds between cells are proteins and we need that zinc to help repair those protein bonds. So we used a combination of butyric acid and zinc to accomplish that. This was a product that we worked on in developing with a biotech company, Kemin company. It's called Butyl ZEQ, meaning for horses where it's butyric acid and zinc.

Katy Starr (17:57):

Excellent. And another way that butyric acid can kind of form comes through beet pulp. Can you speak to that a little bit?

Dr. Stephen Duren (18:08):

Absolutely. So I mentioned that butyric acid is a normal organic acid that is produced within the digestive system. So when this microbiome ferments fiber, they actually produce butyric acid as one of the end products. And then as I mentioned, butyric acid can then be the energy source to help the cells within the digestive tract as well as serve as a general energy source for the horse. Beet pulp, the fermentation of beet pulp is actually a really good way to produce additional butyric acid. So one of the ingredients besides the magic ingredients if you will, one of the ingredients that we put in this Gastric Support Plus is beet pulp. Again, as a means of producing that extra butyric acid.

Katy Starr (18:56):

Excellent. And then speaking a little bit more towards, you know, kind of like an unstable microbiome, right? This is something that can be a struggle for some horses, in order to kind of like keep our horses healthy, right, it's always great to kind of look at it from the perspective of an ounce of prevention can be worth a pound of cure, right? So can you talk a little bit more about the pre and probiotics that we've included in this product to kind of support that microbiome?

Dr. Stephen Duren (19:25):

Exactly. So when we get a disruption of the hindgut or, or we have something go wrong with the hindgut, we talked about leaky gut can occur, but leaky gut occurs because we've had a change in the environment within the hindgut of the horse. That change in the environment also unfortunately changes the microbiome that's in that digestive system. In other words, as pH changes or as the diet changes, it changes which microorganisms will proliferate or become stronger and which ones become weaker. So when we've had one of those disease challenges, we get this abnormal microbiome. So we try to replenish that microbiome. So we'll use prebiotics. Prebiotics will scavenge pathogenic bacteria and take those out of the equation. We use probiotics which are living microorganisms that we put back into the digestive system to re-inoculate or to move that microbiome back to a healthy state. So we use in this particular product, the Gastric Support Plus, we use both prebiotics again to scavenge those harmful bacteria as well as probiotics. We put live microorganisms back there.

Katy Starr (20:48):

Excellent. And speaking to one of the specific ingredients, the GI Pro3, I know that you've talked a little bit about how that can inhibit bacteria that cause certain diseases, aside from you know, the leaky gut and things like that. Can you go into a little bit about like strangles and loose manure and things like that?

Dr. Stephen Duren (21:11):

Yeah, so the GI Pro3 is a trade name for a combination of three strains of bacillus bacteria that we've worked with that we know have positive effects on the health of horses. This was kind of Dr. Cubitt and myself and Kemin, this was kind of our covid project, if you will. We wanted to develop a probiotic that would help these horses maintain health, but we wanted to develop a probiotic that actually survived to get to the hindgut of the horse or survive to get to the target tissue of the horse. And that is a real problem because many of the probiotics won't stand the heat of pelleting, they won't stand the acid conditions in the horse's stomach. And quite frankly they do little to no good because they don't arrive to the tissue alive. So we worked with Kemin and to develop this GI Pro3, which we tested for pellet stability, in other words it will survive the heat of pelleting.

Dr. Stephen Duren (22:14):

We tested that. We know that it will survive the acidity of the stomach; we tested that. And we know that it will survive being put in a package and put on a shelf. In other words, does not require refrigeration in an environment that a horse owner certainly couldn't control with feed or supplement. So we developed that. So what specifically does it do? It's involved in the killing or the inhibition of bacteria that cause a lot of different diseases in horses. Very effective on the Clostridium diseases, very effective on diseases that cause strangles, very effective on E coli, salmonella and others. So we're really, really happy so far with the results we've been getting when we've added the GI Pro3 to feeds and supplements.

Katy Starr (23:05):

Excellent. And you touched on this a little bit in the previous episode, but speak to us a little bit about, you know, why you chose to put this in pellet form versus any other options that we could have done.

Dr. Stephen Duren (23:21):

Yeah, so I, with the listeners also share a horse addiction. So I've had horses since I was a little kid and still have them today. And when a horse is diseased or the horse's digestive system is not functioning correctly, the amount of labor and thought to try to feed that horse correctly or to adapt the diet to help correct those changes is often very difficult. You're mixing this powder with that powder and soaking this and doing all these gyrations to try to get their diet right for the horse. So where we had the ability with Standlee where they had such high quality forage, they had the ability to manufacture pellets, then that gave us the ability to add these ingredients that would normally be paste and powders and things like that to make the feeding of horse simpler. And why we want to strive to make horse feeding simple is simply compliance.

Dr. Stephen Duren (24:16):

If what we're asking you to do is so difficult that you can't get it accomplished on a daily basis, or if it requires a four-page feeding instruction for a single horse, meaning you'll never go on vacation again in your life, that's not the enjoyment of owning horses. So as a nutritionist, what I try to do is take all these things that I have good scientific evidence help and put them in a form which they can be fed. Pellet is a great option for that because if they eat one pellet, they'll eat all the pellets in there. There's no separating of ingredients and we can deliver those nutrients, those ingredients that we know have the positive effect, we can deliver those to the target tissue within the horse.

Katy Starr (25:00):

Excellent. Yes. And then can you walk us through the guaranteed analysis for the Forage Plus Gastric Support that we included on the packaging? Just, you know, how do we read this and interpret the nutrient information that's on this product?

Dr. Stephen Duren (25:15):

Yeah, so the two things that are probably important from a feed labeling standpoint are the ingredient matrix and the guaranteed analysis. And I guess listeners need to understand that we do not have control about what gets written in a label versus what doesn't. In other words, that's controlled by state regulatory people, feed regulatory officials tell us what information that they want put on that label. So certainly the ingredients are important. So this product is, the Gastric Support Plus is a forage-based product. There's no grain in it, there's no molasses in it. The fiber sources are alfalfa and beep pulp primarily. We add some additional fat so that the pellet quality is good, there's no dust associated with the product. And then we start listing some of the probiotics and prebiotics in the product as well. So you can see those all on the label.

Dr. Stephen Duren (26:11):

The other feature that's really important when you're looking at a label is the guaranteed analysis. That's the nutrient profile and those are always listed in minimums and maximums. So for example, on protein it's a 15% minimum. That means that protein content of that product will be 15%. Again, essential amino acids, we're trying to heal the digestive system, regenerate proteins. That's why those amino acids in protein are very important. The tag also lists some of the fiber components of it. It's forage based, so the fiber is very high. Calcium, phosphorus, those are certainly listed. Because zinc is added in the butyric acid zinc product that we use for leaky gut, there's a zinc guarantee. Starch and sugar, many of these horses that have this dysbiosis or malfunctioning if you will, of the hindgut are horses that are taking in a high sugar content. So we guarantee the sugar and starch content of the diet that's also by default because it doesn't have grain or molasses, a very low sugar starch diet. And then finally are the guaranteed amounts of microorganisms in cells or colony forming units depending on what specifically we're talking about.

Katy Starr (27:31):

Excellent. And then how do we feed the Forage Plus Gastric Support and how do we transition that into our current diet if we're choosing to add this in there?

Dr. Stephen Duren (27:42):

Yeah, so what I formulated this to do is to not replace or not be the total forage component of the diet. Instead I want this to be a therapy product where I'm feeding a certain amount on a daily basis to a horse that has one of these situations. So typically what we do with the Gastric Support Plus is I want it to be a smaller inclusion typically in the range of 10 to 25% of the diet. For a very sick horse it can be up of half the diet of the forage component. So that is my target that it's a small amount given on a daily basis. Timing for these calcium buffers, for stomach acid, we try to time those prior to exercise. So this is the first meal they eat prior to exercise you don't want those horses eating, you know, a big meal and then starting an exercise program. So again, that's why the feeding rate is in that for a thousand pound horse, that five to 10 pounds a day range. As far as transition, it's a forage-based product. So typically you start to introduce this gradually into the diet, certainly within a seven to 10 day those horses are well adapted to it.

Katy Starr (28:59):

Right. And speaking, you talked a little bit about management and use of this product. So especially if you do have a horse that's specifically having issues with gastric ulcers, not only using this product but using it in a more timely way can be very beneficial for your horse.

Dr. Stephen Duren (29:17):

Yeah, absolutely. We know that gastric ulcers are primarily developed during exercise. So if we have the ability to feed something, a small amount of something and reduce stomach acid for a predictable amount of time, that's very therapeutic for gastric ulcers. So typically what we're wanting to do with those horses is feed this product 30 to 60 minutes prior to exercise, get that acid knocked down and then start the exercise bout.

Katy Starr (29:46):

Excellent. And I'm glad that you mentioned that because I know that's a big question that a lot of horse owners have that I have seen is, can you feed your horse prior to exercise? Like can you or can't you? And so that's like a big one.

Dr. Stephen Duren (30:00):

Yeah, absolutely. And ironically that's what I did my PhD research on was feeding horses prior to exercise. So we know that from a therapy standpoint and what can go wrong with the digestive tract, if we're feeding the correct thing prior to exercise, it can actually be therapeutic.

Katy Starr (30:17):

And I know this is another question that we will probably get, is this does not include the additional vitamins and minerals that a horse would need to kind of complete their diet.

Dr. Stephen Duren (30:28):

Correct. So we're not trying to interfere with the normal feeding program of your horse in the sense we're not trying to replace the horse's supplement program or his grain concentrate program, but instead we're trying to make a forage-based supplement or forage-based product that you can feed specifically targeted to help a horse with different disease conditions.

Katy Starr (30:52):

Great. And so then also, what is the shelf life of the Forage Plus Gastric Support product?

Dr. Stephen Duren (31:00):

Yeah, so this is a forage product. The forage product was adequately dried, certainly when it was harvested in the field and then made into pellets. So as long as we have a cool, dry area not exposed to the environment, it can be for a couple years without any issue at all. In addition, we also have data on the stability of the probiotic package that we put in and we're very happy that it can survive both pelleting as well as the acidity of a stomach and then it has a good shelf life, so minimum of 18 months to two years on the product.

Katy Starr (31:33):

And late last year when you attended the American Association of Equine Practitioners annual Convention, this product and the Smart Carb product that we talked about in the previous episode, you talked a lot about this with the veterinarians, vet technicians that attended that meeting. What did you hear from that event and what were people saying about it? What questions were people asking?

Dr. Stephen Duren (31:58):

Well, I guess first of all, for our listeners, they need to know that the veterinarians are definitely trying to help them find solutions for their horses. And they certainly talked about the frequency of that. Their clients have horses that have gastric ulcers or equine gastric ulcer syndrome. They certainly talked about, you know, some of the dysbiosis that they see with horses that have had an issue with the hindgut or the microbiome. And the thing that they were asking is, you know, how can we help these horses because if we get them on a number of different supplements and this and that, the ability or the compliance that that owner has of getting the horse to take all the medications, to take all the supplements is very difficult. So they were very receptive that we were able to combine a lot of these things in a forage-based product that would make feeding the horse simple and therefore enhance compliance or the treatment of these horses so they can get better.

Katy Starr (32:58):

Okay, that's great to hear. And I feel like we've talked about quite a bit of information today, you know, with the whole build-up of the horse's digestive system, what can kind of go wrong with that. But then, you know, a solution here that we can kind of use in a way that's going to work with the horse's digestive system, you know, being something that is naturally, you know, used in the digestive system to make it work correctly, make it work properly. But just to kind of help us wrap this episode up, Dr. Duren, what are a few key takeaways that you would like to leave our listeners with about Standlee’s new product, Forage Plus Gastric Support?

Dr. Stephen Duren (33:40):

Yeah, so I guess first and foremost, the listeners need to certainly understand that the digestive system of the horse is geared towards the fermentation of plant fiber. So plant fiber in the form of pasture, hay, beet pulp, et cetera, needs to be the primary component of the diet first and foremost. Then if you realize certain things happen to horses, oftentimes no fault of your own, the horse may develop a gastric ulcer, may have some disruption to the hindgut, and what we've tried to do is we tried to, with the Gastric Support Plus, we tried to create a product that allows you to address the different medical needs of that horse through nutrition, where we've buffered some of the stomach acid through a novel source of calcium, where we've helped repair potential leaks to the digestive system with targeted nutrients that we know specifically heal that tissue and where we've put in probiotics and prebiotics to try to reestablish normal function of that microbiome, which is so very important to the horse and to the immune response of the horse. So I guess what I'd like to say is, we're listening to what's happening with horses and we're trying to develop or create products that address those needs in a very safe manner, in a forage driven manner.

Katy Starr (35:01):

Great. That's excellent. Thank you Dr. Duren so much. We really appreciate you being here with us and joining us on these last couple of episodes and helping us out with some of these solutions that I think are going to be extremely beneficial to a lot of horse owners. And so, you know, we're excited to kind of hear back from, you know, our listeners and those that want to try these products out and you know, for anybody that would like to share some feedback on some future topics on the Beyond the Barn podcast, please reach out to us at And Dr. Duren, thanks again for joining us.

Dr. Stephen Duren (35:39):

Well thank you very much for having me.

Katy Starr (35:43):

Thanks for listening to the Beyond the Barn podcast by Standlee Forage. We'd love for you to share our podcast with your favorite people and subscribe on Apple, Spotify, or your favorite listening platform. Until next time, keep your cinch tight and don't forget to turn off the water.


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