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Shoes mask weaknesses, barefoot highlights strengths

Saturday, 26 March 2011

With love from Grace - yummy herbs

Herbs on food before mixing

Grace's herb 'muesli'

Grace is EPSM and prone to laminitis.  So the poor love is on a very low sugar, low starch diet and it can get pretty bland at times. A long way from the 70+ species she has evolved to eat.

So we have a bit of fun with herbs - both for pure pleasure and also to add to her feed. 

Grace's current favourite is a blend that makes her dinner smell like lemon meringue pie.  I have to say I feel quite guilty when I feed her because as many humans as horses end up drooling at the smell and they don't get to have any!

Grace's herb list - we mix and match

Lemon Balm
Lime Flowers
Poppy Petals
Rose leaves
Rose hips
Raspberry Leaves
St John’s Wort
Chaste Tree Berries
Garlic Granules
Celery Seed
Burdock Root
Dandelion Leaves
Devil's Claw Root
Comfrey Leaf
Bramble leaves
Hawthorn leaves
Burdock leaves
Cow Parsley

Remember this is Grace's own personal list and it may not be suitable for all horses.  I tend to offer her things, find out what she likes and then research each item carefully before deciding if it is safe to feed and what sort of quantity.  Some of these things can be gathered from the hedges in the UK, other bits I buy in dried.

Have fun!


Jenny said...

Wow... really interesting to read your herb list! Lucky pony!! To be honest, I have never thought of feeding herbs to horses this way. We occasionally buy herbal supplements from a company called "Riva's Remedies" and when you open the bins they are basically filled with what looks like loose herbal tea! I guess it's the same idea....

Chelsea said...

I would be very interested in seeing a post about any products you use to treat/maintain hooves (if you use any at all). Are any of the "over the counter" hoof supplements worth the money? What levels of biotin/msm/etc is healthy for the hoof each day?

I ask because I have a 2005 Appendix who was shod from the time he was just under a year old up until about 6 months ago. He was never shod behind, only in front, but the shoes never came off from the time he was a yearling. He was trimmed with the classic "box hoof" most AQHA show horses are. During the pre-purchase we were told his angles were off in the left front, and the hoof was a slight club foot, although you cannot see this at all from the outside.

The first winter I had him we tried to pull his shoes to give his feet a break and he went dead lame and never got better. The farrier suggested we put shoes back on. Then throughout the whole show season he had unexplained lameness issues on and off, and started pulling his shoes constantly, so on went toe clips. During that time I started researching barefoot hoof care.

This winter I pulled the shoes, and switched farriers. He is fed biotin and msm every day along with free choice hay all day and night. He is turned out approximately 10-13 hours a day. He spends most of his day playing and exploring the pasture, with little hay breaks in between.

He was lame for a couple weeks after the shoes came off, then gradually started getting better. I only lightly lunged him for the first month of being barefoot, then slowly started riding again. So far he has been completely sound and is moving better than ever. I plan to leave his shoes off for the show season, and hopefully for the rest of his life.

I use Farrier's Fix Hoof Oil, as it helped his soles to toughen up and was a major contributing factor in getting him sound again. I ride him on varying terrain as much as possible, although during the Wisconsin winter that is very difficult.. so I did handwalk him all over the property (snow, gravel, mud, dirt, sand, etc).

Any suggestions you have would be greatly appreciated! I am the only barefoot enthusiast in the barn, and everyone is telling me that my horse will never make it through showing barefoot. I want his hooves and body to be as sound and healthy as possible. I am already seeing some amazing improvements in his soundness, willingness to move forward, and his happiness in his work.

achieve1dream said...

Very cool! Thanks for the list. I'll have to do some research and see if I can find anything Chrome might like. :)

Katie said...

Thanks for this really interesting post - where do you get the dried herbs from? Did you get a herbalist out to see grace at all?

Lucy Priory said...

Hi Kate

Herbs are just part of my armoury when it comes to managing Grace.

Her 'base' diet and management regime was formulated with help from a leading research vet in the US.

The choice of herbs is largely dictated by what Grace likes and availability. I have talked to various herbalists and included things which I believe to be relevant but Grace is always the final arbiter.

Much to my surprise she crunches (literally) on charcoal with a kind of dogged determination, never gives up and never spits it out.

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