The Top 5 Health Issues

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 An interview with ANTOINETTE FOSTER,

Founder of Hi-Form and Chief Nutritionist at Hi Form Australia


"This is giving me an ulcer!" If our horses could speak these are probably the words that they would utter, many performance horses develop ulcers due to stress that may not be apparent.

A domesticated environment, increased exercise and competition, transport, an unnatural diet, and other factors can all contribute stress to your horse's life. If you manage your horses diet efficiently you can reduce the risk and severity of ulcers in horses. Feeding horses, a high roughage diet will reduce the risk of ulcers in horses quite substantially and this has been scientifically proven.

In a natural grazing situation, the horse requires a steady flow of acid for digestion, so a horse's stomach produces acid 24 hours a day, 7 days a week — up to 34 litres of acidic fluid per day, even when not eating. In a natural, high-roughage diet, the acid is buffered by both feed and saliva.

It is an advantage to understand the horses anatomy and it is very easy to appreciate why ulcers are a ‘modern day’ feeding condition. If horses are only fed twice per day the stomach is forced to endure a prolonged period of time without feed to neutralise acid.

Added to this, high-grain diets produce volatile fatty acids that can also contribute to the development of ulcers.

Possible symptoms of ulcers are as follows:

Poor appetite; Dullness, Attitude changes, Decreased performance, Reluctance to train, Poor body condition, Poor coat, Weight loss, Excessive time spent lying down, Low-grade colic and Diarrhea. Harrys Choice feeds are very high in roughage, and are a natural feed which is suitable for all horses.


Because the horse's gastrointestinal tract is very sensitive any change in the horse's diet must be done slowly, as it can compromise the gut bacteria population.

If these bacteria start dying off there is an increased risk of colic and the horse would not be receiving the correct nutritional intake.

We already know that the horse's gastrointestinal tract must be treated with respect. For those of you who have experienced a horse with colic you will know that it is a very distressing time for both the horse and the horse owner.

Preventative measures are always the best option, in the management of the horse's heal! h Colic causes more deaths in horses than any other disease In many cases, it is diet related, can be stress related and can also be caused by damage to the horse's intestine.

When you change your feed regime for example, this must be done progressively over a 5 to 7-day period An abrupt change in feed can also be a contributing factor to colic.

We have a treatment protocol for colic, the most important aspect of managing colic is to reduce pain and stress, always call your vet this is the number one priority.

The homeostatic balance in the equine intestinal micro biome is very sensitive to factors like gastrointestinal disease and dietary change, which may lead to catastrophic consequences, even culminating in death.

Colic and Roughage

The number one priority with colic is to act quickly - Call the Vet, don't think twice! Keeping the horse moving, not allowing the horse to roll and keeping the horse as calm as possible and pain free is a priority whilst you're waiting for your vet.

Whilst we can't say categorically that a lack of roughage causes colic, feeding a high roughage diet will help to prevent the risk.


Diarrhea can Ье caused Ьу many factors, many of these аге feed related. Feeding а wet feed for example simply does not encourage normal chewing and grinding of feed, in fact it reduces the desire to do so, this is not normal for а horse.

Granted, if you own an old horse with роог teeth there is an advantage to feeding а damp feed, but it also needs to Ье the right type of feed. Feeding а wet feed can increase the risk of digestive conditions such as diarrhoea, ulcers and colic.

Giving your horse а feed that consists of Ьу products such as сорга, beet pulp, rice bran which is а fine consistency, does not encourage normal chewing and grinding of the feed. The horse has the most amazing way of chewing, unlike any other species and only chews on one side at а time.

А high roughage diet can also reduce the risk of diarrhoea in horses. Another risk factor, and one that is very common is short grass starts which comes through after rainfall. In spring, very often the grass is quite high in fructose and often contains а high volume of water, sometimes this can cause diarrhoea in horses.

Horses suffering from stress through disease, changes in environment and even travelling can also cause diarrhoea in some cases.

Good nutrition, managing your horse in the correct manner and а good Level of roughage сап assist in reducing the risk of diarrhoea.


"Arthritis" is a general term that refers to inflammation in a joint. Osteoarthritis [OA) is a specific form of arthritis caused by the progressive, painful destruction of articular cartilage, which is the specialized tissue lining the ends of the bones inside the joint.

Articular cartilage permits smooth, frictionless movement and cushions the underlying bones against body weight loads during movement. Changes also take place in the underlying [subchondral) bone and other joint tissues such as the synovial membrane and joint capsule.

Osteoarthritis is very common in horses of all ages and there are not many options open to horse owners for the management of this disease. Research has shown that activity is extremely important for horses who have been diagnosed with arthritis.

Managing the condition will generally allow the horse to return to work, mobility is the key. We recommend our Proflamaid Plus primarily, this product is quite remarkable in that it does not have a Band-Aid affect like an anti-inflammatory drug, it has a pro-inflammatory effect so increases the healing process naturally.

This product has been used for over 30 years and is highly effective. We have the same product for humans which is TGA approved and achieves exceptional results for those suffering!

For acute cases, we combine the ProflamAid Plus with our EquiGesic Plus, which is a Curcuma Longa extract and includes BioPerine, a black pepper extract, Boswellia serrata and essential fatty acids, this formula has the most scientific studies behind any product in the world of its type and the ingredients used are exclusive to Hi Form Australia.

Nutrigenomics and disease states

You might not know that we offer Nutrigenomics testing for people, unfortunately there is no such testing for horses yet, 1 am а Nutrigenomics practitioner and we have utilised the study in this агеа of science to expand the knowledge in the use of nutrition in horses.

The power of nutrition can switch gene expression on and off, for us to consider that this would not apply to the equine body does not make sense!


Laminitis is а painful inflammatory condition of the tissues [laminae] that bond the hoof wall to the pedal [coffin] bone in the horses hoof. lt can affect any horse, of any age ог sex, at any time of the уеаг. Although it is traditionally considered а disease of fat ponies, laminitis can Ье triggered Ьу а variety of metabolic ог physical causes in any horse.

Recent research has shown а strong association between the high insulin levels seen in most ponies with Cushing's Disease [Pituitary Pars lntermedia Disease [PPID]] and Equine Metabolic Syndrome [EMS] and susceptibility to laminitis; indeed, it is now thought that the majority of laminitis cases аге PPID ог EMS individuals. We have an excellent protocol for managing laminitis that we have used for approximately 27 years.

The ProflamAid Plus and the EquiGesic Plus formulas аге the ones we tend to use together in conjunction with а diet that is suitaЫe for а horse with this condition. We generally recommend Harrys Choice AlphaFibre as it is very low in starch and NSC. lt is high in protein, but this can Ье of great assistance to horses with equine metabolic syndrome.

Horses with laminitis do not require high levels of this type of feed. Roughage becomes exceptionally important in these cases, а poorer form of hay is fine, but horses still require а good level of roughage even in this situation.

Gene types, Humans and Horses

ln human nutrition there аге three gene types, we аге either an А, В ог С gene type, it has not yet been determined what gene types there аге in the horse. We have done а lot of work with а genetic scientist and have integrated these learnings into our formulations, bringing the best of human science into equine science.

Ву doing so, the formulas combined with the feed, give us the opportunity to balance the feed ration with any individual case. The feed and the formulas work in а synergistic way.

Treat the patient not the disease, treat the cause not the symptoms, treat as an individual to prevent an existing illness from becoming worse and to prevent vague symptoms from developing into а fully Ыown disease.

Maintain good health in the present absence of disease and ensure that treatment should do no harm - Philosophically Natural Therapy does not judge between disease and good health, these two states аге interchangeaЫe. - Antoinette Foster

To get а Free Diet Analysis, including а daily cost guide based оп our recommendation, to assist you comparing and budgeting your horse's diet


These treatment recommendations have not been provided to replace veterinary advice, should you Ье concerned about your horses health at anytime please contact your vet.