From Endurance to Dressage
Today marks day fourteen of Izzy's ulcer treatment. I should mention that I didn't have him scoped to confirm the diagnosis, but my vet agreed that it was likely given his symptoms: short-strided on the left hind, grouchy about grooming his left belly and flank, loose stool, and a mild colic. My vet recommended two weeks of UlcerGard.
When after five days, I didn't see any improvement with the UlcerGard, I started researching other over-the-counter supplements to see if there was something else that had, at the very least, some evidence of efficacy. Omeprazole has been extensively tested and is FDA approved, so I know if anything is going to help, it should be the UlcerGard. That doesn't mean some additional "support" won't help, but I don't want to waste my money on something that has no anecdotal evidence of success either.
Cost was also a factor. The UlcerGard runs close to ten dollars a day, so I am already forking over a pretty good chunk of change with that. Added to that is the list of supplements Izzy already gets: beet pulp, rice bran, milled flaxseed, and a multi-vitamin/mineral mix. Speedy also gets some beet pulp and rice bran as well a scoop of Cool Calories, and his daily Prascend. They both also get electrolytes any time they travel or when they work particularly hard. My per day feed bill is at least twenty dollars a day right now.
Enter GastroElm Plus. After a fair amount of research, what drew me to this product were the reviews and the price. I also liked the simplicity of the ingredients; there are only four: Slippery Elm, Milk Thistle, Marshmallow Root, and Dandelion Root. While I hate trying to solve a problem with multiple remedies, Izzy's tummy was hurting, and the UlcerGard wasn't giving him relief as quickly as I was hoping.
The day after I gave him a dose of GastroElm, he seemed better, a lot better. It could also be that he had received 10 doses of the UlcerGard. That's why I hate giving two things at once. It's hard to know whether it was the first thing, the second thing, or both things together that made the difference. After three days of the GastroElm, he looked even better. In fact, he looked really perky last night.
One of the things I most like about the GastroElm is the multitude of ways that it can be used. For maintenance, you can topdress feed with one tablespoon. It can be also be used twice a day which is what I am doing. For active upset tummies, you can "activate" the UlcerGard by mixing one tablespoon with a half cup of water. After stirring or shaking, a gel will form which is then syringed into the mouth or added to the feed. To make it a bit more palatable, I mixed it with a few drops of molasses. The directions also suggest using aloe vera juice.
On the GastroElm Facebook page, they also say that it can be used in conjunction with UlcerGard. What I've been doing is syringing the first dose and then topdressing Izzy's feed with a second dose. In between all of that, I am giving him a dose of UlcerGard. By Friday he'll have had four boxes of UlcerGard which is sixteen doses. On Saturday, he'll have had a week of twice-a-day doses of the GastroElm.
I am hoping that by the beginning of next week, I can eliminate the syringed dose and simply topdress his feed with the gel instead. After a week of that, I'll try just topdressing without activating the gel. Of course, if I start to see a return of symptoms, I'll go back to syringing the activated gel and see how that works.
I can't say with any certainty that the GastroElm is working, but it purports to coat and sooth the ulcerated tissues, allowing it to heal. I don't know if it really does that or not, but if it does, it sounds like it would make Izzy feel better. It can also be used on dogs and cats. Our dogs go through times of tummy distress, so I am keeping this in mind for them as well. For now, it seems to be helping. Izzy doesn't mind the syringing, and in fact, I can dose him without the need of a halter. He just stands patiently for all three squirts of goop. In fact, I think he almost likes it.
Fingers crossed that he continues to improve.
About the Writer and Rider
I am a lifelong rider.
I began endurance riding in 1996 where I ultimately completed five, one-day 100 mile races, the 200-mile Death Valley Encounter, and numerous other 50, 65, and 75 mile races. I began showing dressage in 2010.
Welcome to my dressage journey.
About Speedy G
Speedy went from endurance horse to dressage horse. After helping me earn a USDF Bronze medal in the summer of 2020, he is now semi-retired. Speedy is a 2004, 15'1 hand, purebred Arabian gelding. His Arabian Horse Registry name is G Ima Starr FA.
Izzy was started as a four-year old and then spent the next 18 months in pasture growing up. I bought him as a six-year old, and together, we are showing at the lower levels. He is a 2008, 16'3 hand warmblood gelding. His Rheinland Pfalz-saar International (RPSI) name is Imperioso.
National Rider Awards
State Rider Awards
State Horse Awards
CDS Sapphire Rider Award
Third Level: 63.514%
Third Level: 62.105%
2023 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
2023 Show Schedule
2023 Completed …
2023 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
Qualifying Training Level
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%: