Horse suddenly has gas - otherwise ok. Cause?

My old gelding (age 22, I’ve owned him since he was 3) has developed “excessive” gas in the last couple months. He always had the “buck farts” and will always cough 2x at the start of a ride, often out the back and the front. :wink:

But now, he’s doing the toot-toot-toot in rhythm with his trot steps, canter stride, etc.

Nothing has changed in his diet (1.5qts safechoice and 8lbs timothy/orchard hay, 2x daily - is an air fern), all other horses in the barn seem fine (including my other horse, a 3yr old mare, same hay). He’s never been like this before in his life, that I can recall.

What can this be a sign of? My vet is saying it’s nothing to be concerned with, but while I’m not “concerned” that he’s in pain or anything, I am curious as to why the sudden change. Would a probiotic assist here? Any recommendations?

As long as it’s coming out, that’s a good thing. Did you start a new stack of hay or anything like that? Some are sensitive to things like that. You could add some probiotics for a while.


We do all our own hay, so it’s off the same fields. We rotate which stack we’re pulling off of, so it’s never one field or from one cutting for any long period of time. Bales get replenished in the loft 2x a month, but this gassiness has been ongoing for longer and more consistently than that, so I can’t say it’s the hay. Plus, my other horse isn’t having this issue at all, nor any other horse I observe consistently when riding.

Do you have a good probiotic suggestion to try? There are tons of them, now that I’m looking.

It could be age related, his muscles not having the same elasticity to manage the gas. Certainly old people fart more when exercising.

Maybe he’s eating more slowly, or not chewing as well, making for more undigested fiber?

Just ruminating…

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At 22 his digestive processing has likely changed a bit, less effective.

Are you set on the SafeChoice (and which one, there are 3)? If not, I’d recommend switching to Triple Crown Sr (usually available where Nutrena is), as there’s nice gut support ingredients in that, and may agree with him a lot more.


It’s a generic safechoice, made by the local co op and delivered by the ton into the hopper. It’s made to mimic the “original” blend.

I’d really rather not totally overhaul his grain. He is such a chubber that he only gets a half scoop 2x a day, and that’s mostly because he’s a super good beggar (no stall vices, just the BEST “please feed my I’m so cute I’m dying of starvation please feed me” face) - if I say “no grain” it seems like he gets double treats from people. :rage:

Do you know what gut support type ingredients are in TC Senior? If I can find them, I’d rather just add them solo to what he’s getting - he already gets an AM E/Se/Mag supplement, so giving another supplement wouldn’t change the barn routine like a new grain would.

If it’s a “must” to switch feeds though, I’m more than willing to do it. Just want to explore in the supplement realm first if possible.

His laughable nickname is “elephant poop” because his piles are HUGE. I don’t know why he feels like he needs to hold it until it looks like he’s going to tear his anus, but he does. Has been this way his whole life. Maybe they’ve finally stretched out so much he can’t hold his toots anymore?

He does not eat slowly. His teeth are in great shape as of about a month ago, and he is a pro at eating every scrap of hay. Piggy piggy.

Luff him, my little elephant pooper.

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Could be if he holds it especially. Just sitting in there fermenting. Happy day!

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The man, the myth, the legend… Niko the Elephant Pooper - photos taken a couple days ago.


Unless you’re adding a v/m supplement, you’re short-changing some nutrition. A ration balancer would be fewer calories (because…chubber), and better nutrition.

Triple Crown as a whole uses Equimix, which includes ButiPearl Z EQ, which contains butyric acid, which supports healthy gut lining. It’s got a large number of CFUs of pre/probiotics as well. I don’t think you can add ButiPearl on your own, but certainly you could add some biotics.

YeaSacc is a good probiotic, but it’s not butyric acid

I had a horse who also had enormous manure piles. Sure, he was a big guy, 1500lb 17h, the one in my pic, but dang, they were huge


Well, TC Sr made my current guy super gassy so I don’t know if it would be my first choice. And actually my last horse, Mr Sensitive Digestion who also would put out some elephant poops did do better on TC Complete. Seemed more digestible. Don’t know why. Makes no sense. So when new horse needed to gain some weight after import (he’s now on a RB), and senior made him gassy, I put him on Complete as well.

Anyway, for probiotics, I feel like I’ve tried them all. Probably my favorite all around one for bang for buck is HorseTech’s Gutwerks, fed 2x a day. But I also think Platinum Balance is good (Mr Sensitive would get both at times). Both have pre and probiotics. New guy is on Platinum GI and just get some Probios cookies if he gets extra farty.

And keep up the exercise as he tolerates. That will help keep it all moving through.

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Oh I just saw he is chubby and has good teeth. I have been liking the TC Gold Balancer for my new guy. It’s got the hind gut stuff and the calcium buffer. Low NSC. I chose it because this one seems to have issues with soy meal. But he also gets extra gut support.


He gets E/Se/Mag, but not an overall vit/min supplement. He has great feet, a super shiney coat, etc though, and has always been an easy keeper so I never thought to look into it for him, honestly.

Do you have a ration balancer suggestion as well? I am hoping to go the pro-prebiotic supplement route, but a Plan B if that doesn’t work would be good.

Let me look into the TC Gold Balancer. He gets ridden 3-4 times a week lightly, despite being stiff in the left hind (no worries, I have volumes of vet records about that, including surgical arthrodesis… it is what it is at this point). I’ve tried to retire him completely but he totally falls apart, so he gets exercised and seems to hold up much better.

Thank you for the recommendations and thoughts!

I keep X-Tra Strength Gas-X in my first aid kit. Our vet of 20 years (now retired after 50 years) included it in colic response: 1 tab per 100 lbs. after you take vitals. They might eat it from your hand if it is the right flavor. Some people feed it as an occasional treat. It pops the gas bubbles like it does in us. It is harmless if they don’t need it. Knew one gelding who had regular gas colic and that was almost always all he needed. BO where I was until recently always has it on hand. Colic was a very rare event there.


I also own an elephant pooper. Good god it’s hysterical. However gas and elephant poop has resolved now that I have less hay and more hay pellets. Very interesting observation. Somehow my 21 year old mare has changed as she got older and pellets are doing wonders for her, good weight and good topline. They are bermuda/alfalfa, that plus a vitamin and mineral supplement seem to do the trick. She eats hay throughout the day but really prefers pellets unlike my other two younger horses. Just a thought.

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Well that’s a recommendation I hadn’t thought of. I already have it in my dog emergency kit, I’ll have to pick some up to try on Niko! Do you remember how long it took to take effect?

I don’t know if I thought specifically about the Gas-X. BO stalled the horse and had someone keeping an eye on them. They were quiet, didn’t need to be walked. They were in overnight (if they didn’t have a stall) and resumed their regular routine in the morning. Obviously you watch for signs that they are getting worse. If someone thought a horse didn’t seem quite right they got the Gas-X even if they didn’t show any of the usual signs of colic. Better safe, as they say…

Triple Crown Equimix;

You say he eats every strand of hay- AND only gets 8 lbs.
For a horse this size that doesn’t seem enough hay.
I’d up his hay amount = as much as he will eat. Average 1000 lb. horse needs appx 20 lbs./day.

Also a ‘generic’ grain mix is just that- you don’t really know what’s in it.
I would go for a known mix that’s a complete feed, low starch and give suggested amt.- 5-6 lbs/day.
I really like TC Senior. And TC Senior Gold.
Agree with JB as usual.