Instore Pickup & Local Delivery


Your Cart is Empty

  • Add description, images, menus and links to your mega menu

  • A column with no settings can be used as a spacer

  • Link to your collections, sales and even external links

  • Add up to five columns

  • September 15, 2022 4 min read

    Herbs have been used in human medicine for centuries, purporting to cure or help with  a range of ailments. Naturally, a lot of animal medicine application is derived from human medicine, so it makes sense that herbs are also used as a supplement for equine nutrition. Many horse owners already add dried herbs to their horse’s feed to promote health and wellbeing, whether it is to aid in the treatment of gastric ulcers, or be used to decrease anxiety. Some people swear by the use of herbs in their horses feed, and others may feel there is little benefit. So, which assertion is right? Let’s find out!

    If you think about horses in the wild, they have access to a variety of plant species, which will naturally provide a nutritionally rich diet. Horses will also seek out and eat those plants that provide a medicinal value, such as stinging nettle or dandelion. However, for domesticated horses, this isn’t so simple, as their ability to roam and seek out a variety of plants is hugely limited. Hence, this is why many horse owners will choose to feed herbs to their horses in a dried state added to their feed, or some will have herb gardens, allowing their horse to smell and pick those herbs that they require. 

    So, why are herbs used for equines?

    Herbs can play a role in the health and wellbeing of a horse, simply by helping their bodies break down toxins, supporting the body to fight illness, and helping to maintain a  healthy digestive and immune systems. Some herbs can even help calm excitable or anxious horses. So it is no wonder that horse owners turn to herbs to help them with their steeds! As with humans, each horse is different, so their response to herbs will also be different. For some horses, you may notice changes within the first week, whilst others the change might come after week four. So, if you do want to try feeding a particular herb or herbs to your horse, then it is important to allow at least four weeks. If no results show after this time, then you may need to tweak the dosage rate or the combination of herbs being fed. Also, if you find that your horse sifts out the herb that they have been given, then it is likely your horse does not need the extra supplement. So, when starting out it is best to feed a lower dose and maybe only stick to one or two herbs. 

    What herbs are the most popular?

    There are a variety of herbs available on the market, and you can buy pre mixed concoctions, or stand alone herbs. However, the most common herbs that people buy include:

    • Chamomile: to calm and soothe excitable or anxious horses. This is a great starting herb and can be used for young horses
    • Nettle: helps with the promotion of a healthy skin and coat and is great for circulation
    • Raspberry leaves: helps to support the reproductive system and helps to maintain normal hormone levels for mares
    • Comfrey Leaf: helps in the production of replacement cells, minimising the possibility of scar tissue, arthritis and proud flesh
    • Brewers Yeast: contains B vitamins to aid in a healthy coat and assist the nervous and digestive systems
    • Celery Seed: a great cleansing herb, encouraging the horse to drink and sweat easily. 
    • Dandelion: used as a tonic, this helps with the cleansing of the liver, kidneys and blood. 

    A word of warning

    Herbs seem to be a pretty great additive, and when used right, they are. But, don’t go stock piling herbs just yet, because sometimes, they can do more harm than good. Let’s say, for example, you start feeding your horse ginger, which is great for reducing post exercise cardiovascular recovery time. However, it also has been shown to increase bleeding time. So, if your horse as being treated with anti-clotting drugs or had to undergo a major surgery, then it may cause complications with excessive bleeding. Therefore, when feeding herbs to your horse, you must always remember to advise your vet, as certain herbs will interact with pharmaceutical drugs. 

    There are also some herbs, that when fed in high amounts can be toxic to your horse. For example, garlic in excessive amounts can cause anemia; seaweed in excess amounts can cause iodine toxicity. Therefore when starting out with herbs, it is important that you consult with a equine herbalist or nutritionist to ensure that you are giving your horse the right herb and in the required amounts. 

    Take Home Message

    Herbs can play a great role in your horse’s overall wellbeing. However, there are some risks involved when feeding herbs, and you need to make sure that you get the dosage right, otherwise you may find that (a) they do nothing or (b) can cause toxicity to your horse! It is also recommended that you consult with a well renowned equine herbalist that has a good understanding in horse nutrition. This will ensure that you administer herbs safely and in the correct doses. It is also really important that you feed good quality herbs. A high quality herb will ensure that it is effective in achieving the desired result. And, remember, when feeding ANY type of herb to your horse, ALWAYS tell the vet what you are feeding, especially if you need to administer any pharmaceutical drug!

    As always, we are here to help! We have a large range of herbs available for purchase and if you are seeking a particular brand, please visit us in store, or drop us a DM or email and we will happily assist you!

    Leave a comment

    Comments will be approved before showing up.