Hedgerow Pronto: Quick Gut Relief on the Go
Shows and events can mean stress for your horse — and the upset gut that often comes with it. BioStar’s new Hedgerow Pronto supplement is easy to carry, easy to use, and designed to provide the fast-acting support these situations demand.
In May of 2022 I attended a Concours de Dressage International (CDI) and open dressage show in Virginia. Back in the barns, two riders talked to me about how stressed their horses were, and how they weren’t eating well. One horse had very loose stools and the other was quite gassy.
I had some of our Zen-Max syringes with me, so I gave each rider enough to at least address the stress component, but there wasn’t anything currently in my tool box for addressing short-term GI tract issues … yet.
Later I met up with Team BioStar rider Jim Koford, who is a huge proponent of our Hedgerow GI supplement. Jim said his horses were eating well at the show, which he attributed in part to the long-term GI tract support they’d been getting.
I thought, What if we could create a new Hedgerow-based formula designed for the short-term, acute GI upsets that can happen at shows and during travel?
Maintaining a healthy GI tract is paramount to sustaining health in horses. As they say: “healthy gut, healthy horse”
Stress effects on the microbiome
Animals, humans, and their gut bacteria have evolved to communicate and regulate one another. Psychological or physical stress can reshape the microbiome’s composition, allowing more bacterial metabolites, toxins and neurohormones to be released.
Stress hormones such as cortisol, along with increased inflammation, can disrupt the balance of bacteria in the gut. This imbalance affects appetite, behavior, performance, and mood.
Dysbiosis: The gut-brain axis out of balance
The brain and the gut have ongoing communication with one another. An imbalance in the gut affects neurotransmitters, some of which, like serotonin, are produced in the GI tract. A microbial imbalance will disrupt serotonin production. Likewise, anxiety and worry can chemically affect the gut bacteria, upsetting microbial balance in the GI tract.
Imbalance within the gut microbial community is referred to as dysbiosis — a state of GI tract disruption that can adversely affect the immune system, increasing the risk of infections and autoimmune disease.
Dysbiosis results, in part, from a decreased diversity of bacterial strains in the gut. Studies in the last decade show that diet, stress, and mood substantially influence which strains of gut microbes thrive, and which ones don’t.1
Beneficial gut microbes can be crowded out by non-beneficial (or harmful) strains that actually secrete toxins into the GI tract.
When these bacterial toxins accumulate in the gut, we see the dysbiosis — excess gas, loose stools, and watery manure — that stress can bring.
By the time stress-related gut dysbiosis is evident, probiotics may not be enough to recalibrate diversity; bacterial toxins are already flooding the intestinal barrier and mucosa.
A good, fast-acting GI supplement needs to help flush out the toxins first, and then provide active beneficial probiotic cultures to restore the microbial balance.
Clay and charcoal, the great gut cleansers
Clay and charcoal are known as adsorbents: they gather toxins to their surfaces, bind them there, and safely remove them from the digestive tract.
Several BioStar formulas use bentonite and kaolin clays, which are good for long-term use, particularly when the goal is filtering out heavy metals such as arsenic, lead, or cadmium.
Activated charcoal is a broad-spectrum binder that’s best for short-term use or a quick purification. Charcoal can help greatly with bacterial toxin buildup in the gut, but it does interfere with mineral absorption, making it unfit for long-term use.
I consider activated charcoal a “first aid” toxin binder. If I bring my horse in from a day of grazing on lush pasture and I notice a very full belly, or, if I bring my horse to a show and the horse goes off its feed, has excess gas, or the manure has changed, I will go with charcoal, not clay.
A new tool in the box: Hedgerow Pronto
BioStar’s Hedgerow Pronto is a dual-acting supplement given in two quick steps:
Step 1: Hedgerow Mash
A supplemental mash consisting of Speedi-Beet® and activated charcoal; fennel seeds and rose hips for digestion; pumpkin for prebiotic support; sea salt for hydration; and fermented turmeric to maintain a healthy inflammatory process.
This mash should be fed separately from grains. Can be fed with hay.
Step 2: Hedgerow Paste
A fast-acting oral paste providing the Ayurvedic body-system balancer Triphala; the spore probiotic Bacillus subtilis; four other active probiotic strains of Lactobacillus and Bifidum; and mannan-oligosaccharides (MOS) for the hindgut. Also includes fennel and peppermint for digestion; reed sedge peat to support the tight junctions in the gut; pectin for gastric protection; and sea salt for hydration.
Give Hedgerow Paste at least one hour after Hedgerow Mash for best results.
When you need it, it’s there
Hedgerow Pronto is packaged conveniently for keeping in your tack trunk or feed room for those times you need a fast-acting GI support supplement.