Apple Cider Vinegar for Horses
I recently announced on my Facebook page that I started feeding apple cider vinegar to my three horses, but of course, I felt that ACV should be the focus of an entire post!
I began learning about some of the health benefits of feeding ACV when I got backyard chickens last year, but before that, I’d used it to make natural fly spray for my horses, for tick/flea prevention in my dogs, as a skin toner, and even as a hair conditioning treatment. ACV obviously has many, many uses, but I hadn’t quite been convinced to start feeding it to the horses until now.
After I had Karen Eddings, aka, the ‘Equine Nurse’ do a quantum bio-feedback hair analysis for Hershey, the results convinced me that I needed to make some changes in my all of my horses’ diets. (I’ll be doing a separate post on the hair analysis soon, by the way). I’ve decided to opt for a more natural diet and replace some of my current minerals with those coming from natural sources.
As I was doing some research on different mineral sources though, I came across some information on ACV again. I decided it was time to give it a try. Although I haven’t been feeding ACV long enough to see any results quite yet, I’m looking forward to seeing some of the positive changes that others have claimed they’ve seen with their horses.
What is apple cider vinegar?
Apple cider vinegar is made from ripened apples that are fermented and distilled during the apple fermentation process The apple’s nutritional make-up is kept in tact during the process but acetic acid (which naturally balances the body’s pH) is produced through the fermentation. ACV contains a number of beneficial compounds including vitamins, mineral salts, and amino acids.
Proposed benefits of feeding apple cider vinegar to horses:
While no formal studies exist on feeding ACV to horses (it’s not a drug, after all!), there are many, many people who profess its benefits for horses. Some of these benefits include:
- Promoting healthy joints;
- Balancing the horse’s pH;
- Boosting immune system health;
- Helping to dissolve calcium deposits (including enteroliths);
- Improving urinary tract health;
- Stimulating proper digestion and mineral absorption (helpful for older horses);
- Helping horses to resist internal and external parasites;
- Flushing the body of toxins;
- Helping to regulate insulin response; and
- Relieving arthritis.
On top of those benefits, ACV also has natural antibiotic properties so it may be helpful if your horse is dealing with a bacterial infection.
If you do decide to feed ACV to your horses, make sure you buy unfiltered organic ACV with the ‘mother’ in it–the mother actually being mycoderma aceti, a culture of cellulose and acetic acid bacteria used to ferment cider or wine into vinegar. It will look cloudy at the bottom of the bottle and is a great source of live microbials.
Most sources suggest adding 1/4 to no more than 1 cup of ACV (diluting it 50/50 with water) as a top dress to feed daily. (Start with smaller amounts and work your way up.)
Alternatively, you can add 1 cup of ACV for every 50 gallons (190 liters) of drinking water all the way up to 1 cup for every 6 gallons (23 liters).
I feed Bragg’s Organic ACV and have bought it in the smaller bottles at my grocery store. However, you can order the one gallon jug here.
Important Note: Since ACV is a good source of potassium, if your horse has been diagnosed with HYPP, I would not feed it (or apples).
If you’re interested, here’s an article by equine massage therapist, Lisa Carter, relaying the effects of ACV on a case of chronic sesamoiditis:
Apple Cider Vinegar for Horse (thehorse.com)