Can Horses Vomit? – Truth Revealed by a Horse Keeper

Most of the species, including us, use vomiting as a mechanism to get rid of the toxic substance in our stomach. Ths emesis is a complex event and involves a number of reflex motions. Puking out food is considered very common. It could be a sign of simple indigestion or something quite serious. In a way, vomiting is an advantage; you can get the things out that can possibly disturb your system.

There are a series of events that take place when an individual throws up. Firstly, the body starts producing more saliva to cover the teeth in order to protect them from stomach acid. The digestive muscles would force back the food in the track it came from. The face will go places and fetch for more blood for the organs. The sensation you feel in the stomach will be painful. It will settle down after you throw up. 

Unlike humans, some animals, especially horses, are questioned on their ability to throw up. One of the most frequently asked questions by people is, can a horse throw up? Or Do they vomit? To know the answer to this question and a supportive explanation of why it is so, read the whole article. 

Can Horses Vomit?

This question is gross and debatable, but very important for anyone who owns or takes care of a horse. As it is not that horses can’t throw up at any moment. But it is scarce that you will find a horse puking or having emesis. It won’t be any wrong if we say it is nearly impossible for a horse to spill out its food.

Why is it Rare or Next to Impossible for a Horse to Throw Up?

The physiological system of the horses differs from that of humans. It is formed in a way that it ensures one way trip of the food, that is when they gulp down. They have a muscle known as a lower esophageal sphincter that acts as a valve between the stomach and the esophagus. Its primary function is to prevent food from getting back to the esophagus. 

The stomach of a horse is comparatively very small and does not lie precisely near the bottom of the abdominal cavity. The esophagus is connected to the stomach at a much lower angle because of the same. The esophagus sphincter on the other is much stronger than in other species. It prevents the flow of food backward even under high pressure on a horse. 

Another supportive reason why horses can’t throw up is that they have an extra-long soft palate, which helps in making a one way trip for the food. It helps in refraining the food from going into the trachea. The horse’s stomach is deep within the rib cage, and so it can not be squeezed by the abdominal muscles in order to create more pressure to throw up. When it comes to the reflex motions, the horses have a very weak reflex motion for vomiting. It is considered to be poorly developed in horses. 

Reason for Inability to Puke

Several theories give out a wide range of reasons for this inability in horses. The most common one among them is that horses are grazed in wildlife and have to gallop. They have earned it with evolution. As the horse is known for its speed and galloping in races, the last thing he would want is to vomit. The back and forth motion while galloping could have caused a human to throw out, but a horse is a pro at it. 


However, it is considered to be rare for a horse to spew; it is not a surety that it will never happen. There are chances that horses throw up, rare but still true to occur. The distension in the stomach filled with food and gas can cause intense pressure to push the valve firmly, and this severe pressure might permit the horse to throw up. The abdominal muscle contraction can also add on in creating the pressure. 

The Disadvantage

When an individual vomits, the feeling is not at all pleasant. The horses are saved from this unpleasant feeling and ache sensation, but there is another disadvantage for them. Vomiting generally makes vertebrates spill out anything harmful. Horses do not have this ability, and so they cannot get rid of any poisonous substance that they intake. This can be quite dangerous for the horses. 

Final Words

Now that you have read the article, you know that it is very rare for a horse to throw up. So in case your horse ever shows up such behavior, get to the veterinarian immediately. We hope we have imparted you with enough knowledge regarding why horses generally don’t lose their meal. This information will help you in taking care of your horse. We wish your horse a happy and healthy life.

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