Continual roughage intake minimizes acid splash by:
1. it is believed that the chewed fiber in the stomach provides a ‘grass-mat’ which diminishes the sloshing effect of the acid.
2. in the horse, jaw movement is necessary in order to produce saliva. Therefore the continual intake of roughage results in a continual production of saliva and the bicarbonates produced in the saliva buffer the stomach acid.
A combination of the two above factors, saliva and continual fiber intake, helps prevent acid ‘build-up’ in the stomach which results in unbuffered acid spilling over into the small intestine. This can create a situation that compromises the pH levels in the rest of the digestive tract, and can lead to hind gut acidosis, causing an overgrowth of harmful bacteria in the hind gut.