The Power of Pastures
“Let them be horses!” Horses are natural nibblers, grazing in the protective company of their herd. Given a quality grazing space, horses can provide for their nutritional needs. If you’ve let the pasture be a natural pasture (without overcrowding the horses), the horse will also be able to find most, if not all, of its health needs in the herbs of the fields.
Important herbal weeds in a natural pasture might include dandelion, plantain, mullein, chickweed, nettles, chamomile, and any of the mints. All of them grow naturally here in Colorado! And don’t forget that alfalfa and red clover also have medicinal properties!
The Right Dose
Horses are nibblers, and it may not appear that a horse is getting much of the herbal offerings from the fields when in fact it is. Herbs can be extremely effective in minutes. A few nibbles of a variety of herbs may be the perfect herbal antidote for most of what could possibly ail the horse.
Simply serve a horse it’s medicines in the field. Or, if your pasture is herb-deficient, sprinkle the needed herbs over your horse’s daily grain or hay ration.
Some Commonly Used Herbs
Fenugreek (not local)
Horses usually love the flavor. These hard little seeds function to strengthen the respiratory system, the mucus membranes, and the sinus in cases of upper respiratory infection, sinus issues, or congestion. Fenugreek also has strong properties of regulating and stimulating the lymphatic system. By helping to move lymph through the body. Add about 2 tablespoons of the little seeds a day to your horse’s diet.
Raspberry Leaf (local)
The leaves of the common raspberry plant have been used for centuries as strong female tonic. They can help strengthen and tone the uterus to aid in fertility, pregnancy, and foaling.
Raspberry also helps to regulate the hormonal swings in a moody mare, and in fact, one popular mare supplement on the market is pure Raspberry leaf.
These little flowers pack a whole lot of medicine into their delicious little blossoms. High in phosphorus and calcium, chamomile is one of nature’s most gentle sedatives, and it can be used in all cases of anxiety, sleep issues, and hyperactivity.
Additionally, it is often used to treat allergic reactions, both externally and internally. Chamomile also supports the digestive system and is included in many anti-inflammatory blends.
Kava Kava (not local)
The horse, in its natural state, is a prey animal whose primary defense consists of living in a herd of watchful companions who can all run at the slightest hint of a nearby predator. Imagine the daily stress we put on a horse when we coop them up, alone in a pen where he doesn’t have the space to run away from predators, imagined or real. Then compound this stress by asking them to compete against other horses in a strange arena. It’s no wonder horses respond so well to calming herbs! If you have a new mustang that needs to find some peace of mind, try chamomile.
Although, glucosamine, chondroitin and MSM are often the number one recommendations for arthritis. Yucca found here locally in Colorado has also been helpful for inflammation when used along side these other supplements in serious cases.
Research Credit: Three Leaf Farm, Mother Earth Living