The horse’s hindgut bacterial ecosystem has often been studied using faecal samples. However few studies compared both bacterial ecosystems and the validity of using faecal samples may be questionable. Hence, the present study aimed to compare the structure of the equine bacterial community in the hindgut (caecum, right ventral colon) and faeces using a fingerprint technique known as Automated Ribosomal Intergenic Spacer Analysis (ARISA). Two DNA extraction methods were also assessed. Intestinal contents and faeces were sampled 3 h after the morning meal on four adult fistulated horses fed meadow hay and pelleted concentrate. Irrespective of the intestinal segment, Principal Component Analysis of ARISA profiles showed a strong individual effect (P<0.0001). However, across the study, faecal bacterial community structure significantly (P<0.001) differed from those of the caecum and colon, while there was no difference between the two hindgut communities. The use of a QIAamp® DNA Stool Mini kit increased the quality of DNA extracted irrespective of sample type. The differences observed between faecal and hindgut bacterial communities challenge the use of faeces as a representative for hindgut activity. Further investigations are necessary to compare bacterial activity between the hindgut and faeces in order to understand the validity of using faecal samples.