This sounds like a very typical "hay belly". Hay belly is, literally, a belly full of hay. This is very common, particularly in older horses, and frequently is caused by a declining ability to digest hay usually due to inadequately chewing the hay. Consequently hay sits in the gut for a prolonged period of time and accumulates. Meanwhile, they horse cannot extract sufficient nutrients from the hay so, despite their roly poly belly, they actually become underweight, hence the ribs.
Our goal in feeding a horse like this is to optimize digestion of long stem fiber so that we reduce the gut fill while increasing the extractable nutrients from the hay.† ProbioPlus, a probiotic product with added digestive enzymes, has shown excellent results in horses with hay belly. Within 7 days gut fill is noticeably reduced, and within 14 days fat cover begins to appear over the ribs. Probiotics are among the most popular of all equine supplements, and with good reason! They help stabilize the microbial population of the hind gut, resulting in better digestion, less gas production and overall improved gastrointestinal health. So feed probiotics to get the ?bugs’ out of your horse’s digestive system.