Actisaf® supports gut health in show jumping ponies

Paul and Angie Proudley keep eight show jumping horses and ponies on Hall Farm in the North York Moors National Park, all of which are ridden by their daughters Sarah, aged 10, and Rachel, 13, as they compete successfully across Great Britain.

Horses and ponies are trickle feeders and hindgut fermenters and as such rely on a healthy population of hindgut microbes to extract nutrients from their feed. They require continuous access to forage and will naturally graze for up to 18 hours a day in order to maintain good physical and mental health, a fact that is strongly supported by both science and the experience of horse owners globally. However, despite best efforts to maximise turnout time and access to forage, owners of competition horses in particular may still experience challenges that require further attention, specifically with performance horses whose higher energy requirements are met through supplemental feeding.

The horses at Hall Farm are turned out on grass every day, in addition to receiving feed and ample haylage.

In 2017 the Proudleys took on Family Affare, known as “Princess”, a 15-year-old, 148cm chestnut mare sired by Primitive Faerie Tale. Upon arrival to the farm the mare was exhibiting behaviours indicating discomfort, particularly when being girthed up. Princess was later diagnosed with colonic ulcers, caused by an imbalance in the hindgut, and they began to search for a cost-effective solution.


Family Affare, known as “Princess”, was diagnosed with colonic ulcers,
caused by a microbial imbalance in her hindgut.


“We were told about using active yeast to stabilise the hindgut environment and started to look at different options, and the first product we looked at was £200 for a month’s supply! We eventually came across Actisaf® through a veterinary nutritionist and decided to try it out.”

Actisaf® Sc47 is a specific strain of live yeast that is protected by an outer layer of dead yeast cells, making it heat resistant and helping it get through the horse’s foregut and into the hindgut alive. Here the live yeast cells reduce the oxygen level in the hindgut, helping to promote the growth of beneficial bacteria which are more sensitive to oxygen concentrations, which has been proven to lower lactic acid levels and improve fibre digestibility in the caecum. This results in improved digestion & nutrient utilisation from both forages and hard feeds, better body condition and faster recovery in horses. 

“Within a few weeks of her being fed the product, we started to see significant changes in her behaviour. She is much more relaxed now and is in great physical shape.”

Happy with how Princess responded to Actisaf®, the Proudleys decided to see how it could help them address other issues within their team. One of their most successful ponies Painted Lady IV had always been a challenge when it came to maintaining a good body condition, even while in regular work.

“Lady” has had her fair share of successes in the show jumping arena. At the age of 16, the 128cm skewbald mare has won HOYS, Olympia, and the British Showjumping National Championship with her young jockey at the reins for the last five years.

But despite Lady’s obvious athleticism and high level of fitness, her physique has been more pasture pony than athlete. “Our horses are turned out 365 days a year, so she has to wear a grazing muzzle while on grass to keep her from getting too much. But no matter what we did or how much she worked, she’s always looked a little flabby.”

After seeing the positive effects from Actisaf® with Princess, they decided to add a 10g daily dose to Lady’s diet and soon saw the results that they were hoping for.

“It has absolutely transformed her. People that have known her for years comment that they have never seen her in shape like this! We feed Actisaf to all of our horses now and are very happy with how they are doing. We don’t plan to remove it from our feed after seeing these changes.”