How to Palpate Your Horse for Ulcers

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Ulcers plague almost all performance horses at some point in their careers. The signs and symptoms can vary from one horse to another. They may be crabby when you touch them with your legs, they may not want to eat, they may suck back when cinched. Their behavior may not change at all. In the case of Avie, as I’ve already discussed, he was such a great boy that he would go clock anyway! And it’s not entirely unheard of to have a horse that’s on free-choice pasture still end up with ulcers. That was the case with Avie and at least one other young horse I’ve owned.

Ulcers affect almost all performance horses at some point in their career. SynNutra Gastromend XC helps my horses be their best.
Jenn Zeller @ The Blitz
Sept 22, 2018. Photo by Josh Homer/Burning Ember Photography.
Ulcers affect almost all performance horses at some point in their career. SynNutra helps my horses be their best.

This week, when an otherwise nice, quiet colt decided to come undone, I went looking for some answers. Can ulcers cause bucking? What are some other symptoms? Please keep in mind, I don’t like to go looking for outside reasons that a horse comes undone. I truly believe that a happy horse, will still perform even if they’re hurting. But a 60 ride colt that’s otherwise been fine is a different issue.


What I discovered are that other symptoms include turning around to bite your feet, general discomfort, as well as bucking. They may not have as willing an attitude as we’d like them to have. We know cinchiness can be part of it, so it stands to reason bucking could be too, right? And because we know that a horse’s stomach produces stomach acid all the time, we also know that having them scoped isn’t always the best solution because their stomach must be empty in order to scope them.

Furthermore if you’re like me and you’re 200 miles from the horse vet, even getting fecal test may not be convenient. That’s where this handy video comes in. Below, a veterinarian tells us how to palpate our horse for ulcers. It was definitely one of the most interesting things I’ve watched in ages!





Please make no mistake about it: I’m not one to generally go first to medical issues. I prefer to make sure the horse is completely comfortable with his life under saddle before I’ll blame external forces. There is no shortcut for good training.

Knowing what I know now about ulcers, I will reiterate: I am so glad to be part of the team at SynNutra. Their ulcer supplmenet is bar none the best — which is why it’s used by racehorses and olympic level riders alike! And speaking of that: we have a winner for our contest! Darcy you won the ulcer support medication!

One of the other things we can do for our horses to help them maintain healthy tummies, is provide great forage. I prefer to never have them be out of munchies. By feeding something like Chaffhaye you’re giving your horse healthy probiotics as well as high protein, low sugar goodness. I add chaffhaye to the diets of all the horses I’m riding!

If after you palpate your horse and you think he’s struggling with ulcers, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me, or go straight to SynNutra and use code: GoFastJenn at checkout for a discount on your purchase!

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