Recommendations for Feeding Herbs, Medications and Supplements to Horses
1. You need an appropriate grain or complete feed to feed the supplement/herb or medication in:
It has to be a food that the horse will willingly eat. It needs to be a food appropriate for them as well.
If you have done a nutritional consultation or a Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis with Dr. Weidenkopf, she will be recommending a grain or complete feed for the horse. If you are starting a new grain or supplement, feed it to the horse for several days before adding supplements. You will not be able to "hide" less palatable items in a food that the horse barely tolerates.
2. If introducing multiple new items:
Introduce one item at a time. Allow for several days to pass before adding a new addition.
3. To feed the powdered or granular herbs/supplements on grain or complete feed:
This method is not appropriate for pharmaceuticals as they need to be given at the full dose and on the appropriate schedule. For pharmaceutical medications, see other suggestions below.
Introduce the herbs/supplement slowly. Start by offering 1/4 dose or less and slowly work up to feeding the full dose.
For example, the Herbsmith herbal formula dose for the average size horse is 2 tablespoons. If the horse is picky, start with 1 teaspoon and work your way up to the full dose. If they start refusing to eat after an increase, back down to the dose they will eat. Please let me know what dose they are eating if it is not the full amount. I may decide that dose is appropriate. If feeding the maintenance dose of 2 tablespoons once a day, it can be fed as 1 tablespoon twice a day.
3. To feed tablets and capsules:
Most horses will eat the following capsules or tablets whole when placed in grain/ complete feed that the horse likes. Standard Process supplements, vitamin/minerals, Prascend and Equioxx. If they will not eat them this way, skip to suggestion number four.
4. To use a dosing syringe for powders or capsule contents or ground pills:
Mix the herb with water and a little applesauce or carrot puree. Pull it up into a large syringe. Place the end of the syringe into the horses mouth and push the plunger.
5. Tricks to disguise the flavor of herbs, supplements and medications in grain or complete feed:
-Mix the item into some fresh ground flax or coconut meal. Most horses find these foods pretty tasty. Flax meal is a good source of omega fatty acids. Coconut meal is a safe
source of fat calories. You will likely need 4 tablespoons of flax or coconut meal for 2 tablespoons of herb.
-Herbs: Herbsmith herbs can be purchased mixed with flax. It is not quite as economical as the herb without flax. Jing Tang Herbal makes a granular concentrated form of many of the herbs that I prescribe. They do cost more per dose than the non-concentrated formulas. The average horse dose is closer to a teaspoon rather than 2 tablespoons.
-It can be helpful to lightly spray the feed with water so that the powder sticks to the food.
-It can be helpful to lightly spray the feed with oil so that the powder sticks to the food. I recommend organic canola oil as the ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 is best. It is also low in phytoestrogens which horses can be sensitive to.
-Try disguising the item in one of the following flavors: fenugreek, banana, cherry, rosemary, cumin, carrot, peppermint and oregano. I listed these in order of preference for most horses. Do not use artificial flavorings. You can use essential oils labeled as appropriate for consumption or the actual food item or herb ground up.
6. If the horse is refusing to eat an item that they previously ate:
Stop feeding the item for week or two. Then try slowly introducing it again. If they still will not eat it it, let us know. Dr. Weidenkopf may have you stop the item, change the item out for something else or help you figure out how to get them to eat it.
7. If the horse is refusing the food/supplement mixture that they previously ate:
Feed just the grain/complete feed without and supplements for 1 week to see if they are still is willing to eat that food. If so, slowly add the items back in like you did in the beginning. If the horse is not willing to eat that food, we need to chose a new food for them.
Please feel free to contact the us if you are still having trouble or want to share new tricks for us to add to this list.