I have heard about apple cider vinegar (ACV) being used for horses, especially with older mares as a way to reduce their stiffness. So I was interested to learn more and also since ACV is often used by human for natural weight loss, what are the implications on my oder mare, will she lose weight?
What Is Apple Cider Vinegar?
Unlike refined vinegars that are often used in cooking and bought from supermarkets, organic ACV is made from organic apples that are simply crushed and allowed to mature. Traditionally this would have been done in wooden barrels but possibly health and safety now dictates that this now has to be done in stainless steel containers.
Since the vinegar is made naturally it retains a lot of the minerals, vitamins and enzymes that are present in apples plus there is the added benefit of additional organic acids acquired through the two stages of fermentation needed to produce the ACV. Natural ACV which is best for horses, contains the ‘Mother’ which is the concentrated culture of cellulose and acetic acid bacteria which should appear in good quality bottles of ACV, and assists in the fermentation process.
So What Are the Benefits to Horses?
You’ve probably guessed by now but Apple Cider Vinegar offers many different benefits to horses including the following.
Ease Arthritis Symptoms
This was how I originally came into contact with ACV as a way to treat my older Mare and see if it cured her stiffness, especially in Winter.
The ACV contains 5% acetic acid plus a number of other amino acids, all of which can act as a natural antiseptic to remove unwanted yeasts and bacteria from the gut (it works the same way in humans). Because it make the stomach more acidic ACV has also been shown to improve and prevent intestinal stones within horses, which if left unattended often need to removed surgically.
Natural Fly Repellent
ACV works in two ways to deter insects and flies from your horse. Like garlic it is believed that horses sweat the ACV onto their skin which many flies and insects don’t like. Or you can also make your own fly repellent using ACV, one suggested recipe from appleciderbenefits.com is as follows;
- 500 ml Apple Cider Vinegar
- 250 ml Water
- 250 ml Avon Skin so Soft (bath oil)
- 10 ml Eucalyptus oil (or citronella oil)
Simply mix all the ingredients together and apply it through a spray bottle.
Simple skin infections such as ringworm can be treated by applying neat ACV onto the spot. Ringworm is a fungal infection and this technique can be applied for other fungal infections such as thrush in the hooves.
Another pet product that is suitable for horses (as well as cats and dogs) are these pet ear wipes that use ACV along with witch hazel and Aloe vera
ACV can be applied directly to hooves to prevent hoof rot or improve frog growth. The natural antibacterial properties help the hoof the deal with underlying infections that can be causing a problem with the hoof. For the hoof soak the foot 2-3 times daily until it is healed.
Shampoo & Conditioner
According to the Savvy Horsewoman ACV can be added to a bucket of water for the final rinse to smarten your horses mane and tail. Or you can buy shampoo with ACV already in it!
Encouraging Horses to Drink Strange Water
ACV cleanses water and kills off unwanted micro organisms that might be off putting to horses, especially if they are presented with water form a strange source. A few tablespoons is all that is needed.
Does ACV Cause Weight Loss in Horses?
One of the questions that I had at the start of this research was whether ACV could cause weight loss in horses, since it is widely used as a way of increasing weight loss in humans.
At this point I am still looking for the answer, I haven’t noticed any loss in condition in my own older mare, but at the moment she isn’t working and is happy to potter around the yard without using any additional energy. I did read on one forum on the earth clinic that a horse owner had noticed weight loss despite also noticing a slowing in feeding (not gobbling food) and shiny coats which were advantageous.
Another article on holistic horse named one of the benefits of using ACV on horses as managing weight and lowering body fat so presumably this is something to be watchful for, but I haven’t managed to find anything definitive on this topic (Yet).
Where to Buy Apple Cider Vinegar?
Apple Cider Vinegar can be bought in most supermarkets and health food shops. However if you are looking to buy for a horse it is probably cheaper (actually definitely cheaper) to buy in bulk from wholesalers.
The product shown here is an organic ACV that can be bought through Amazon, the company is Bragg (owned by Patricia Bragg so is not a large multinational) and the product has some very good reviews from people who have been using the product for years.
The product can be bought in 16 or 32 ounce bottles (litre or half litre)
Bragg Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar, 16 Ounce – 1 Pack
I would love to hear of any other uses for this amazing product so please feel free to add them in the comments section below. And if you have had any experience in using ACV and noticed any effect on weight loss I would be particularly grateful to hear from you, thanks.