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Fad Foods and Horses
 By Saferaphus   •   8th Jan 2018   •   59 views   •   0 comments
Fad Foods and Horses

When you check out Pinterest or scroll through your Facebook feed, you’ll likely see posts of miracle cures achieved using certain trendy foods or supplements. These trends tend to spill over to the stable, leaving our feed rooms like the shelf of a trendy health food store.

Chia
Have you tried chia seeds, perhaps in a smoothy or coconut milk ‘pudding’. Chia seeds are little black seeds, and when soaked they develop a gel coating. They have a lot of nutrition in them, some sources say they are one of the most nutrient-dense foods in the world. It’s not surprising, as seeds of any type need to contain all of the nutrients necessary to sprout a new plant.

Chia is a trendy foods for humans. But does it have any benefit to horses? Turns out yes, you can feed your horse chia, and it can replace some of the other more traditional seeds and grains you might feed such as flaxseed (linseed). They are said to help with allergies, prevent colic, may be calming, support hoof and coat growth, aid in laminitis treatment and because they are high in magnesium, may help a nervous horse. Unground, they last a long time, like other seeds, but once ground, they can go rancid.

The downside of chia seeds is that they are rather pricey. Ten pounds of chia seeds can cost anywhere from $75 to $90. You only need to feed about 2 ounces a day. That means 10 pounds would last you almost three months. Flax seed has a similar nutritional benefit and is much cheaper.

Coconut Oil
It’s hard to miss the articles about the wonders of coconut oil. Health foodies praise its benefits to humans for just about every health condition. Skeptics claim it doesn’t come close to fulfilling the claims of its fans. For horses, coconut oil can be useful because it has a mild flavor that hard keepers and picky eaters might not object to. It’s said to boost the immune system, be good for overall health and weight maintenance and help prevent tying-up. It’s thought to be a source of food energy that won’t make a horse hot.

Coconut oil can be used on the outside of your horse too. It can be worked into the mane and tail as a conditioner and detangler, or it can be applied sparingly to bring out the shine of your horse’s coat. It can be used to sooth and soften lesions and irritations and some feel feeding it to your horse, and applying it to the affected areas of rain rot and greasy heel is beneficial.

Apple Cider Vinegar
Lists of uses for apple cider vinegar are all over the internet and the claims of its benefits range from curing cancer to repelling mosquitoes. The actual science-backed benefits of ACV are much more modest. Still, people drink it and use it on their skin, hair and in their salad dressing. And, they feed it to the horses too. It’s handy to use when you want to mask the flavor of water, providing your horse is used to the taste in the first place. It may help clear up hoof thrush, and some people put it on rain rot and greasy heel. It can be used as an overall rinse when you’ve washed your horse. Some people feel it repels flies, whether you feed the ACV on your horse, or spray it on. It’s not expensive at the grocery store, so it’s easy to experiment with.

Diatomaceous Earth
Feeding your horse dirt doesn’t sound right, but diatomaceous earth isn’t really soil. Rather, it is the crushed fossilized remains of diatoms, tiny hard-shelled organisms that live in water. It is powdery, but the tiny bits are very abrasive. Diatomaceous earth has tons of uses around the house and can be bought ‘food grade’ for consumption. Gardners value it for repelling slugs from their vegetables. Some people eat food grade DE for the benefits to their skin, nails and hair, and to detox.

Sprinkled around the barn, it can repel crawling insects. Fed to your horse, it's thought to ward off internal parasites. In both cases, the hard, jagged shells are thought to kill the organism by piercing its soft tissue. Don’t inhale diatomaceous earth because that abrasive quality can irritate your respiratory tract.
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