An increasing number of horse owners are turning to turmeric as a supplement for their horses.
What is it about turmeric for horses at the moment? For many of us, it is just that colourful peppery spice added to Asian dishes for colour and flavour. However, an increasing number of horse owners are turning to turmeric as a supplement for their horses; a natural remedy that has been proven to be beneficial for humans and is believed to help ease a whole range of health problems in horses — from joint stiffness to skin irritations. Some owners even swear it helps horses suffering from sarcoids.
Turmeric for horses: what is it used for?
Turmeric has long been prevalent in ancient Indian and Chinese medicines as a powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant used by people suffering from a wide range of conditions, including diarrhoea, respiratory infections, dermatitis, and even cancerous tumours. Though more commonly used in the West as a condiment, there is growing awareness of its therapeutic properties.
Global Herbs, specialists in equine supplements, has been using turmeric in its products for many years. Both Flyfree, an anti-fly feed supplement, and its Skratch products, a range formulated to support horses with skin conditions, contain turmeric.
Turmeric is suitable for horses suffering from stiff joints and itchy skin conditions, as well as offering support to the digestive system. People feed it to provide support to horses whose joints are under stress.
The main active ingredient in Turmeric is curcumin, a compound found to have powerful anti-inflammatory effects in humans. It is also a strong antioxidant, that is useful for soothing stiffness and pain, maintaining good digestion and alleviating skin conditions in people.
How should turmeric be fed?
If you do decide to feed turmeric to your horse, it might be benefical to feed it in conjunction with a high quality oil and black pepper to help the absorption of the herb into the system.
Recommend to mix it with flax oil – which is rich in omega oils and good for the joints and coat, the quantity really depends on size of horse. For a horse of about 500kg, suggested is a heaped tablespoon of turmeric per day (approx. 25mg), mixed into a paste with 2 tablespoons (approx. 50ml) of oil.
As with any feed, turmeric should be introduced to the horse’s diet slowly, built up gradually over the course of a week or two. “For the fussy eater, you could add a little apple puree or juice to sweeten it up.