Chyme Time


Horse Stomachs

Horse stomach

Horse stomach (photo credit, succeed-equine.com)

Now we are going to move on to another kind of stomach, the horse stomach.  Interestingly, horse’s stomachs (like their hearts) are relatively small for the size of the animal, this limits the intake and storage of food.   An average horse weighs 800 to 1,200 pounds.  But their stomach capacity is only about four gallons, and works best when it contains two gallons.  Also, their stomachs empty when they are about 2/3 full.  Whether or not the stomach enzymes have completed their processing of the food.  This inhibits full digestion and proper utilization of food. Continuous foraging or several small feedings per day are preferable to one or two large feedings.  

The horse stomach consists of a non-glandular proximal region (saccus cecus), divided by a distinct border, the margo plicatus, from the glandular distal stomach.  In the stomach, assorted acids and the enzyme pepsin break down food. Pepsin allows for the further breakdown of proteins into amino acid chains.  Other enzymes include resin and lipase. Additionally, the stomach absorbs some water, as well as ions and lipid soluble compounds. The end product is food broken down into chyme.  It then leaves the stomach through the pyloric valve, which controls the flow of food out of the stomach.  Although not as complex as a cow stomach, horses stomachs serve them well.  They do not weigh the horse down or hinder their agility, such as the cow stomach does.  Although if a horse eats too much, it can get bloated like a cow.  Ultimately, make sure your horse doesn’t eat too much too fast, and remember, if an animal’s gut is not healthy, the animal is not healthy.

To see a horse stomach compared to a cow stomach and what the horse stomach looks like, watch my video at http://youtu.be/n1jUkgmUAts

2 thoughts on “Chyme Time

  1. shopnfish says:

    It’s Chime Time for your new article… Very Punny

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