Introducing Herbs

Whether feeding one of our combination herb mixes or feeding your horse the mix from their herbal sampling test, horses may be different about how they accept their new herbal formulas.Lets face it, like little kids used to a bad diet suddenly being changed to a healthy one, horses can sometimes be stubborn about changes to their menu. With a little time and patience (and maybe a trick or three) any horse can be taken off a sugar and starch laden diet to one that is healthier and going to make them happier in the long run!

 For the horse that will eat anything. Chances are you can simply add herbs to their current healthy diet and they will be happy to munch it down. PLEASE WET DOWN THE FOOD IF YOU ARE GIVING POWDERED HERBS! This will make sure they are getting all their herbs and not wasting any, not to mention powdered herbs can irritate the nasal passages and make them less appealing! Some horses prefer just a bit of fluid (either water or oil) and some horses like it very wet. I prefer to feed very wet rations as the horses tend to get only dry feeds and feeding wet rations helps not only hydrate the body but also help avoid colic episodes…especially when all a horse eats for roughage is dry hay.

 For picky eaters and those less willing to change, you may need to introduce the herbs in very small amounts. Even if they pick their own herbs (via the Herbal Sampling Kit), some horses will be turned off when the herbs are mixed together into their normal feed. Sometimes it is also a matter of what foods you are mixing the herbs with. If this is the case, start with a tiny pinch each feeding and increase a small amount each feeding. PICKY EATERS ARE USUALLY NOT PICKY BECAUSE OF THE FLAVOR BUT BECAUSE OF DIGESTIVE ISSUES. They are usually concerned that something is going to hurt their stomach so occasionally you will need to have the herbs split so that stomach herbs are introduced first, and then when their stomachs are feeling better you can usually move in other herbs. Some horses also become very guarded if they have had to have a large amount of medications and it may take a few feedings for them to figure out that their new herbs are safe to accept. If you suspect this is your horse, there are a few tricks you can do.

1) Make sure you are adding herbs to a healthy base first! If your horse refuses to eat its current diet with the herbs, check the current diet. Adding herbs on top of "complete" feeds (most of which are unhealthy, promote inflammation and are full of chemicals that cause digestive upset) is not a good start to a healthy diet. Try using a basic grass pellet and a bit of rice bran (if they are not starch sensitive) and slowly add in the herbs.

2) Own the feed bucket! By that I mean, push the horse away from the bucket, dig your hand around in it and act like its wonderful! Then walk away. Your horse looks to you as herd leader. If your horse gets the "feeling" off of you that what is in the bucket is anything other than wonderful, its going to feel the same way! I have tricked many horses into accepting a new diet this way. A herd leader tells its herd that the food is "safe". This is just part of their natural reactions.

3) For horses with extreme digestive issues, it may be necessary (after the base diet is adjusted) to use one of our Tummy B Calm mixes, blended with oil, water or applesauce, and syringed into their mouths for a couple of days. Though force feeding is a last resort, these mixes will help their digestive tract feel better and make them more willing to try a new diet.

 Please contact me if there are any issues you aren’t able to resolve.

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