Keep Show-Horse Stress at Bay

Reiner Pete Kyle uses Ulcergard to manage horse health while training and showing.

From AQHA Corporate Partner Merial

When Pete Kyle of Kyle Ranch in Whitesboro, Texas, starts planning his competition year, like any good trainer, he considers multiple variables – his amateur riders’ goals, the horses’ current levels of training, conditioning time and show scheduling. While all of those are important, there’s another consideration – keeping his show string healthy throughout the entire show season.

“You can control a lot of things – choosing which shows to attend, which level of competition the horse is ready for, even how quickly to try to move a horse along,” says Pete, an AQHA Professional Horseman, world champion, five-time U.S. Equestrian Federation gold medal winner and AQHA director.

“You can also control the horse’s nutrition program and other variables that contribute to overall good health. But what you can’t control is the horse’s response to the normal stress of a training and showing program. Some horses handle it all without a problem, but others react negatively to that stress, sometimes developing equine stomach ulcers.”

Research has shown that two out of three nonracing performance horses have equine stomach ulcers.1 Pete has even experienced equine stomach ulcers with A Ruf Gal (Lil Ruf Peppy x My Top Sail Gal), his highly successful 2013 USA Reining Horse of the Year. “I’ve seen the negative effects stomach ulcers can have on horses,” he says. “A Ruf Gal is very athletic and willing. She has won gold at the North American Riders with our son, Reed, an AQHA reserve world champion amateur reining title with my wife, Tamra, and has won more than $100,000 in just a year’s time span with me. Although she has the ability and the mind to compete, she has always been a bit on the nervous side when showing, and keeping her weight up has been a challenge. We found that by using Ulcergard® (omeprazole) before and during shows, she seems to adapt much better.”

Young, competitive horses can experience both mental and physical stress. If you're worried about your horse developing joint issues, become educated on the topic. Download AQHA's FREE Young Horse Joint Health report for information about osteochondritis dissecans, including symptoms, causes and treatment of OCD.

Weight loss, like Pete experienced with A Ruf Gal, is just one of many possible clinical signs of equine stomach ulcers. Others include altered eating and drinking behavior, change in attitude (for the worse), dull hair coat and recurrent colic.2

Besides making ulcer prevention a priority for his show string, Pete also uses Ulcergard for young horses during stressful situations, such as when they are starting a training regimen. The product is approved for use in horses who weigh at least 600 pounds.3

Ulcergard is the only proven and FDA-approved product for the prevention of equine stomach ulcers. Although there are other products available to horse owners that may claim to prevent ulcers, they have not been approved by the FDA. Horse trainers and owners can learn more about the FDA approval process and how to determine if the products they are using are FDA approved by visiting

“We spend so much time and invest significant resources in the preparation of these horses for the show ring,” Pete says. “We want to be sure what we put in their mouths is safe and effective.”

For more information about equine stomach ulcers and Ulcergard, visit

Do you have a young, competitive equine athlete? Be sure you protect your young horse by staying aware of the issues that could affect them. With AQHA's FREE Young Horse Joint Health report, you will learn about all the aspects of osteochondritis dissecans, a common condition. Download the report today so you can prevent your horse from OCD tomorrow!

About Merial

Merial is a world-leading, innovation-driven animal health company, providing a comprehensive range of products to enhance the health, well-being and performance of a wide range of animals. Merial employs approximately 6,000 people and operates in more than 150 countries. Its 2012 sales were $2.8 billion.

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION: Ulcergard can be used in horses who weigh at least 600 pounds. Safety in pregnant mares has not been determined.

®Ulcergard is a registered trademark of Merial. ©2014 Merial Limited, Duluth, GA. All rights reserved. EQUIUGD1343 (01/14)

1Mitchell RD. Prevalence of gastric ulcers in hunter-jumper and dressage horses evaluated for poor performance. Association for Equine Sports Medicine. September 2001.
2Equine Gastric Ulcer Council. Recommendations for the diagnosis and treatment of Equine Gastric Ulcer Syndrome (EGUS). Equine Vet Educ. 1999;11:262-272.
3Ulcergard product label.