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Is lucerne / alfalfa good for horses with ulcers?

Lucerne (known as alfalfa in America) is an amazing forage, known in different languages as ‘Prince of Feeds’ and ‘Best of the Best’. Lucerne has been grown for horses for around 5,000 years so has stood the test of time. It works really well for horses with ulcers for many reasons...

Showcase your UK rare breed!

Help us to showcase our UK Native breeds. This week the Rare Breeds Survival Trust published the 2024-25 Watchlist. To the surprise of many the Section B Welsh Pony was added to the 'At Risk' category due to a decline in stud book registrations. We are lucky to have such a diverse and versatile range of natives in the UK and it is a real concern to have another breed added to the already extensive 'At Risk' and 'Priority' watchlists.

Feeding young horses

Young horses rarely follow the theoretical growth curves. They have growth spurts which can coincide with spring grass coming through, or coincide with nothing in particular! Spring grass is great for supporting growth but when there is not the high quality of grazing available to support them, growing young horses can suddenly look very scrawny. They will need additional feeding, but especially with growing horses, it is important to keep sugar and starch levels low, as these can be associated with developmental issues in bones and joints. Plenty of protein and calcium are really important and forage sources will ensure good levels of quality fibre to support gut health.


It is said that variety is the spice of life and certainly the more we look, the more evidence we find that diversity and variety is good in all sorts of ways. 

Horses evolved on a very diverse diet, with a wide range of grasses, legumes, forbs and herbs available, not to mention shrubs and small trees to browse on as the need arose.  Their natural diet varied from season to season and even day to day. Choice, they had aplenty! Once we came along and the grazing and hay became predominantly ryegrass and the “short” feed the processed by-products of the human food industry, it must all have seemed pretty poor by comparison. Taped off paddocks with no access to hedges and over-grazed grass is a very limited substitute for plains abundant with diverse plant forms.

Atypical Myopathy in horses

Sycamore saplings have started springing up. They can be extremely dangerous for horses and ought to be removed from horse paddocks. Ingestion of any part of the sycamore, even seemingly dead looking 'helicopters' or leaves, can cause atypical myopathy - a disease that is often fatal to horses.

Whilst there are fewer sycamore saplings than in 2023 - where they were more widespread than we have ever noted before - they ought to be removed promptly as ingesting even just a small number can have devastating effects. We recommend fencing off affected areas, or better still remove your horses altogether. Even if you don't have sycamore trees in and around your paddocks, we would encourage you to give them a thorough checkover before you allow your horses to graze.

Easter Bank Holiday Opening Hours

Our office, warehouse and delivery service will be closed on the following dates:

  • Good Friday
  • Saturday 30th March
  • Easter Sunday
  • Easter Monday

Orders can be placed online throughout at www.simplesystem.co.uk

Laminitis questions answered

There are many common misconceptions about what causes laminitis and how it ought to be managed. Simple System Director of Nutrition, Jane van Lennep, answers some of the questions that are frequently asked by customers who contact our Feed Line. 

My horse is currently on box rest with laminitis, but I am really upset they are not actually overweight. Why do they have laminitis? Laminitis is a metabolic disorder and many but not all, are overweight when they develop the condition. It is associated with Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS), pituitary pars intermnedia dysfunction (PPID) - more widely known as Cushing's disease, and insulin dysregulation. Once a horse has suffered a bout of laminitis, it takes less to trigger an episode. Stress can also be involved, so it is important to keep all horses, but especially susceptible ones, stress free. Company, access to enough forage and outside space are all important. Horses with fat pads, such as a cresty neck, are more susceptible, even if the rest is lean. 

We're Hiring | Management Accountant

We are looking for an experienced and proactive individual to ensure smooth running of the company accounts and to provide accurate information for decision makers. The successful candidate will be highly organised with excellent attention to detail and accuracy. Experience of working within Xero, as well as accountacnt qualifications are desirable.
This is a hybrid role based from our Risby head office (IP28), covering 16 hours per week, ideally split over two working days. 
Please click here for full details.
To apply please email your CV and covering letter to jobs@simplesystem.co.uk

Maintaining horse paddocks

Spring is on the way, so it's time to spruce up your pasture!
Before the grass starts growing too vigorously, it is a good time to reseed patches in your pasture that have been stripped or churned up over winter. A little extra grass seed spread in early spring can make a big difference to your grazing. There is not often any need to plough up and reseed from scratch - it is expensive, time consuming and can take even years to establish a strong turf.

Ulcers in horses

The more we look, the more we find gastric ulcers in horses. They are being increasingly diagnosed across all horse populations (including leisure horses) likely due to greater awareness of the signs and symptoms. There have also been developments in technology allowing vets to make earlier and more conclusive diagnoses. Overall, more horses now seem to have ulcers than don’t. 

Ulcers are painful for the horse, can impact on their handlers or riders as they react to that pain, and may even reflect our failing to provide a calm and healthy environment. That's not to say all owners of horses with ulcers are to blame - but it really ought to trigger all of us to think more about how we can better care for our horse's needs. Ulcers should not be inevitable or acceptable.