Is garlic safe?

If you feed your horse garlic to help ward off flies, you may be interested to hear that some owners think that garlic is actually bad for their horses. So, is this true and what else can you use to keep the flies at bay?

Garlic is one of many herbs routinely used in horses’ diets, even though there’s little research specifically in horses to demonstrate benefit. Recent research has found that, at high levels, garlic supplementation causes Heinz body anaemia in horses. The levels used in the study equated to 250g for a 500kg horse, which is far higher than would typically be supplemented, but currently there isn’t any research to advise how much would be safe or beneficial.

The National Research Council’s Nutrient Requirements of Horses advises that garlic is generally regarded when used as a flavouring agent, but as the potential to cause harm when consumed in larger quantities. If you’re concerned about using garlic in you horses’s diet or haven’t found it to be an effective measure at keeping flies at bay, another alternarive wold be to use fly barriers such as fly rugs or masks.

Feeding for better feet

If your horse has poor feet, which can get quite dry, is there anything you can feed to help?

When it comes to nutrition for feet, the first step is to make sure your horse is receiving an all-round balanced diet. An important trace mineral for hoof quality is zinc, and it’s typically lackin gin UK pasture and forage. If you’re feeding a fibre-only diet or less than recommended of a fortified feed than you’ll need to top up. Vitamins and minerals can be supplied by a broad-spectrum vitamin and mineral supplement or feed balancer. If you horse is already on a good diet, then adding a hoof specific supplement that contains biotin may be beneficial as research has shown that horses supplemented with at least 15mg or biotin daily had improved hoof growth and quality.

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