Support for the Equine GI Microbiome - Hedgerow Restore | BioStar US

Gut Recovery for Horses: Hedgerow Restore

The GI tract of horses is complex and fascinating. As efficient as it is for an animal who eats 16-20 hours a day, it is also extremely sensitive to the environment, food changes, and stress.

The GI tract of horses compared to pigs and ruminants

As you can see, the large intestine of the horse has the largest volume compared to pigs and ruminants, while the equine stomach has the smallest volume.

The gastrointestinal tract is equipped to process small, frequent meals because horses are wandering grazers.

Digestion and energy: The gut microbiome

Unlike humans, horses and zebras lack the diversity of digestive enzymes needed to break down plant tissue.

Horses rely on resident microbes (bacteria, protozoa, and fungi) that produce carbohydrate-active enzymes. The fungi and bacteria are assisted by yeasts that maintain an optimal environment and heightened enzymatic activity. Microbial fermentation in the caecum and colon supplies more than half a horse’s maintenance energy requirements.

With all of these microbial parts working together, the gastrointestinal tract of horses is a self-sufficient fermentation system.

In addition, the horse’s gut microbiome is involved in other functions: inflammation regulation, immune homeostasis, and metabolism.1

Equine gut illustration

Effects on the gut microbiome

Due to the size and length of the equine GI tract, the gut microbiome is impacted by external and internal stressors: competition stress, transportation, stall rest, diet, ulcers, pharmaceuticals, metabolic syndrome, colic, injury, changes in routine, training stress, weather changes, psychological stress, environmental toxins.

Factors like stressed pasture, poor-quality hay, or high-NSC forage can negatively affect the gut microbiome.

One study found that horses fed three small meals a day had a different cecal microbiota than horses receiving one large meal a day. In the latter group, five different bacterial families were found in lower abundance.2

Major phylums of the equine GI tract in domesticated horses

Wild horses have significantly greater bacterial diversity than domesticated horses.

The abundant bacterial phylums (families) present in the domesticated equine GI tract are Firmicutes (lactobacillus, bacillus), Bacteroidetes (soil-based), Actinobacteria (bifida bacteria), Fibrobacteres (fibrobacter) and Proteobacteria (E. coli and other pathogenic bacteria).

Remember, a healthy microbiome has both benign and pathogenic bacteria living in balance to benefit the host.

Dysbiosis: Imbalance of the intestinal microbiota

Dysbiosis occurs when there is a profound imbalance in the intestinal microbiota. This can result from changes in feed routine, diet, meal size, administration of NSAIDs, presence of sand in the gut, parasites, antimicrobial therapies, and various other stressors.

Dysbiosis is also common during and after a colic episode, and can be the cause of leaky gut syndrome. In some cases, it can lead to colitis and laminitis.3

BioStar’s Hedgerow Restore

  • Provides GI tract support and recovery for horses with gut dysbiosis (colic, diarrhea, excessive flatulence, constipation).
  • Supports horses recovering from ulcers, leaky gut, surgical intervention, or competition stress.
  • Helps horses on stall rest, during periods of change in hay, pasture, feed, or through dramatic weather shifts.
    Supportive for horses during antibiotic therapies, NSAID administration, and treatment with ulcer medications.
  • Benefits horses that are not thriving, despite adequate amounts of forage and feed.
  • May be helpful for horses who are not maintaining muscle, particularly older horses.

Remember, horses lack the diversity of digestive enzymes to fully process plant nutrients, and instead rely on gut microbes to create the carbohydrate-active enzymes necessary to utilize their food.

What makes Hedgerow Restore special?

150 billion CFUs per scoop of six active probiotic bacteria from the major phylums of Firmicutes and Actinobacteria — plus the prebiotic inulin and MOS to maintain proper hindgut pH, which is essential for fermentation of fiber and the production of short-chain fatty acids such as butyrate.

eggshellsEggshell membrane collagen can reduce gut inflammation, and provides the glycine, glutamine and proline to help strengthen and rebuild the lining of the GI tract.

TriphalaOrganic triphala is an ancient Ayurvedic blend of three plants (Amla, Bibhitaki and Haritaki) known for rejuvenation and balance of the three doshas, the body system at large, and specifically the GI tract, which is the seat of health in Ayurvedic medicine. Triphala can significantly increase the abundance of butyrate and propionate-producing species for short-chain fatty acid production.4

Lion's Mane | BioStar USOrganic lion’s mane mushroom (a well-studied fungi) has proven to be gastroprotective and supports the brain-gut axis. In fact, over 175 different fungal genera have been identified in the GI tracts of healthy horses.5

holy basil tulsi - BioStar USOrganic holy basil provides adaptogenic support for wellbeing and resilience, and is helpful for horses under stress.


nettle leavesHedgerow herbs (organic rose hips, fennel seeds, organic peppermint leaves) support the formation of microbial communities, increasing abundance of Lactobacillus, Bacteroides, and Bifidobacterium, while helping to reduce the numbers of pathogenic bacteria.

Hedgerow GI and Hedgerow Restore: What’s the difference?

Hedgerow GI by BioStar USHedgerow Restore provides the same probiotic families as BioStar’s Hedgerow GI, and in the same amounts of colony forming units (CFUs). Both formulas include the same gut-supportive blend of English hedgerow-inspired herbs, and both provide dimensional support for gut homeostasis: bacterial, fungal, and herbal.

Hedgerow Restore provides additional support for GI stress recovery with:

  • Eggshell membrane collagen to help restore the GI tract lining and support healthy inflammation responses.
  • Triphala, used in Ayurvedic medicine for GI tract wellness and support.
  • Holy basil (aka tulsi) for its adaptogenic support of the body system at large.
  • Lion’s mane mushroom, a fungi specific to the gut/brain axis.

The BioStar difference

We spend considerable time on the science of nature. From foods to patented ingredients, we seek the studies and research. We leave no rabbit hole unexplored.

We approach our formulas from both Eastern and Western paths, ancient and modern, life-force and reductionist.

Maintaining the health of our animals demands an open mind, scrutiny, logic, and intuition. Our diligence requires consciousness and forethought to avoid formulating products that correct one imbalance only to create a new one. We are constantly learning, and upholding our ongoing mission.








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