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How Many Stomachs Do Horses Have?



How Many Stomachs Do Horses Have

Horses are fascinating animals. They have been domesticated for thousands of years, and yet there is still so much that we do not know about them. One of the things that people often ask about is how many stomachs a horse has. There is a lot of misinformation and confusion out there, so let’s dive into this topic and discover the truth behind the number of stomachs horses have.

So How Many Stomachs Do Horses Have?

The truth is that horses only have one stomach, just like humans. However, their digestive system is quite different from ours. A horse’s stomach only makes up about 10% of its digestive system, whereas the rest of its digestive tract takes up the remaining 90%. In contrast, the human stomach makes up about 25% of our digestive system. This means that horses are able to extract more nutrients from their food than we are, making them very efficient grazers.

Why Do People Sometimes Think That Horses Have Multiple Stomachs?

This misconception likely comes from the fact that horses are classified as non-ruminant herbivores. Ruminant animals, such as cows and sheep, have four stomach compartments that allow them to digest and extract nutrients from tough plant material. Non-ruminant herbivores, on the other hand, have a single-chambered stomach that is able to break down softer plant materials more easily.

Unique Digestive System

Although horses do not have multiple stomachs, they do have a unique digestive system that allows them to thrive on a diet of mostly grass and hay. The first part of a horse’s digestive system is its mouth and teeth. Horses have a set of 36-44 teeth, with a combination of incisors, canines, premolars, and molars. These teeth are designed to break down and grind up fibrous plant material, like hay and grass.

After the food is chewed and mixed with saliva, it travels down the esophagus and into the stomach. Once in the stomach, the food is broken down further by stomach acid and enzymes. From there, it travels through the small intestine and large intestine, where nutrients are absorbed and waste is prepared for elimination. This entire process can take up to 24 hours, which is why horses need to graze throughout the day and cannot consume large meals all at once.


Horses do not have multiple stomachs, but they do have a unique digestive system that allows them to efficiently extract nutrients from their food. As non-ruminant herbivores, their single-chambered stomach is able to break down softer plant materials more easily, making them excellent grazers.

Understanding how horses digest their food is important for their health and well-being, and can help us provide them with the proper nutrition and care they deserve.

I am Tommy, an avid equestrian who is passionate about the lifestyle. Writing for an equestrian blog has been a lifelong dream of mine, as I have been around horses my whole life. My mission is to share all the knowledge and experiences I have gathered throughout the years in order to help others reach their goals in this amazing sport. My dedication and enthusiasm towards horses and all things related to them never cease to amaze me!

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