A Somerset farmer is the first in the UK to sell horse milk and says the product is growing in popularity.

Frank Shellard of Cromwell Farm in Combe Hay says the milk provides a wealth of health and beauty benefits, and he himself drinks a litre of the white stuff a day.

Frank, who runs the stables at the Cotswolds’ private members’ club Soho House, discovered the benefits of the milk on a trip to Belgium.

He decided he wanted to introduce the milk to a UK market, and since then set up his family business, Combe Hay Mares Milk.

“With a wealth of wellness benefits, mare’s milk is growing in popularity as more of us turn to natural and nourishing elements in both our diet and our beauty routines,” said a spokesman for the company.

“Mare’s milk is easier to digest than cow’s milk, gentler on the stomach and very rich in vitamins and minerals. Mare’s milk also contains around half of the calories as cow’s milk, and contributes to a low cholesterol diet.

“When used in cosmetic products, it has traditionally been used to treat dry skin conditions with its luxuriously rich, soothing and regenerative properties. Cleopatra was even said to bathe in it!”

Frank has 15 mares who enjoy living out on his 86-acre farm in the Somerset countryside, five miles from Bath.

The family milk the mares, pasteurise and bottle the milk from the farm, and only take milk from the horses when they have finished feeding their foals.

They charge £6.50 for 250ml bottle of milk, and say its health benefits include being low in fat and high in vitamin c.

The levels of lactose and casein in mare’s milk are close to human breast milk than cow’s, so many find it easier on the stomach.

The company also sells mares’ milk soap and hand cream, and Frank says it has been able to clear his daughter’s eczema.

To find out more, visit www.maresmilk.co.uk

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