Equine Elixirs created the first equine antacid gummies—how can they help your horse?
Curious about Tummy Gummies, the first equine antacid created by Equine Elixirs? We’ve got the answers to your questions here.
The Gastric Acid Balancing Act
Horses evolved to consume small amounts of forage up to 20 hours per day. Because they constantly produce gastric acid, their stomachs need to be full or they are at risk for developing ulcers and other gastric problems. Horses are at higher risk of developing stomach pain when they are traveling, training, competing, or otherwise away from forage for extended periods of time that usually come with additional stress.
Elizabeth Ehrlich, the founder of Equine Elixirs, says, “You don’t want to permanently eliminate gastric acid because horses need it to digest and absorb nutrients from their food. You want to neutralize acid for short periods of time so it doesn’t burn or upset their stomach when they are most at risk.”
The mission behind the Tummy Gummies product was to create gummies that would temporarily buffer gastric acid during these intervals as an effective and healthy way to address the problem.
How do Tummy Gummies buffer acid?
Much like people can have a sour stomach or feel the effects of acid reflux, horses are also sensitive to the large volume of gastric acid that their bodies constantly produce. Tummy Gummies are made with calcium carbonate and magnesium oxide, which begin buffering acid on contact. This helps raise the pH of the acid in the stomach to temporarily alleviate its corrosive nature during those times that horses are unable to eat, are traveling, competing, or in other stressful situations.
Normal antacids can be inconvenient and difficult to feed because they are scheduled around meal times, and are often found at the bottom of the bucket, having been skillfully avoided by the horse. Not only are Tummy Gummies the perfect ringside companion (they can be fed from the bottle or put in your pocket), but they make delicious and healthy treats that can be fed anytime and anywhere.
Where did the idea for Tummy Gummies come from?
Liz Ehrlich remembers the moment she came up with the idea for Tummy Gummies. “I was in the shower trying to relax after a frustrating day where nothing was going right,” she says.
She was thinking about how to create a completely new type of supplement that nobody had seen before. “My mind was wandering and I randomly thought about my kitchen cabinets, which are full of different colors and types of gummy vitamins and supplements that my husband loves,” says Ehrlich. It was at that moment that she realized she wanted to make gummies for horses. “It was the name that came to me first,” she says. “I knew I wanted to make Tummy Gummies, but I didn’t know precisely what the gummies were just yet.”
Tummy Gummies Product Development
Ehrlich was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to make the first batches of test gummies. Kimberly Ercius of Equine Elixirs remembers receiving an email from Ehrich early on in the process.
“All the email said was, ‘I can def make gummies.’ I was thrilled it was going to be such a smooth process, but it didn’t take long to realize that we all celebrated a bit too soon,” says Ercius. Ehrlich quickly realized the primary ingredients used in gummies (gelatin, corn syrup and sugar) were not safe for horses.
Several weeks of research and further small batch testing led her to vegan options that would eventually form the recipe for Tummy Gummies. “Using the vegan ingredients turned out to be extremely difficult,” she says. “Weeks went by with failed batches of gummies that were too soft, too hard, too slimy, or too sticky.”
I realized I was in over my head and had to bring in several experts in the field. We needed a food scientist, a chemist, an expert in shelf life stability, and engineers who could create equipment to scale up production.” It took close to two years to bring Tummy Gummies to fruition.
Ehrlich and the product development team at Equine Elixirs already have several other types of gummies prepared to launch right on the heels of Tummy Gummies. Keep an eye out for Electrobites (gummy electrolytes) next.
*This story was originally published in the December 2021 issue of The Plaid Horse. Click here to read it now and subscribe for issues delivered straight to your door!