Once you discover all the benefits of apple cider vinegar (ACV) for horses, it’s is really a no-brainer. Not only is it natural and affordable, but it’s also a safe and fool-proof way to get into DIY horse care. If you’re sick of spending all your hard earned money on expensive products that may have unnecessary (or questionable) ingredients, then ACV is a great place to start.
Here’s a list of my favorite equine uses (in no particular order):
1. Natural insect control. When horses ingest ACV daily in their feed it causes higher levels of thiamine (vitamin B1) to be excreted through their skin, Optimum levels of B vitamins discourage all types of insects including flies and mosquitoes (see tips for feeding below).
ACV also makes an effective and inexpensive fly spray. Try my Easy Homemade Fly Spray recipe.
2. Improves digestion. ACV works to acidify the stomach for better digestion and absorption of minerals. This can help protect your horse against bacteria, parasites and water-borne diseases. Research has also shown that it can slow the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream, which is helpful for those founder-prone ponies/horses that are sensitive to sugar.
5. Helps prevent intestinal stones (enteroliths). An alkaline environment in the horse’s digestive tract can cause intentional stones to grow to the point of causing dangerous obstructions. The acidifying effect of ACV helps dissolve enteroliths, or ideally prevent them, This is particularly useful in areas with hard water, or for horses that consume a lot of alfalfa hay.
4. Mane & tail conditioner. Add 1 cup of ACV to a bucket of water for the final rinse of your horse’s tail. For the mane I like to use a spray bottle, This will leave it feelingly incredibly smooth and removes any extra soap residue.
Bonus: It also works as a natural detangler!
5. Disguise water while traveling. If your horse is accustomed to the taste of ACV, bring some along on your next road trip and they’ll happily drink unfamiliar water. It usually only takes a few tablespoons. This can be incredibly helpful if you’re worried about dehydration (especially when your vet’s in another state).
Caution: Only use ACV in plastic buckets as it can leach minerals from metal or galvanized tanks.
6. Wound treatment. Spraying fungus, burns, skin infections and other wounds with diluted ACV is a great way to speed healing time by helping to help keep bacteria and insects away.
7. Ease arthritis symptoms. Both horses and humans alike have benefited from ACV to help control arthritis pain and stiffness. When fed daily ACV, works to remove toxins, restore pH balance and increase crucial minerals, all of which improves joint health.
8. Treat hoof problems. I’ve seen great results using ACV to care for minor hoof ailments including bruises, abscesses and thrush. Use about 1/4 cup of ACV in 1 gallon of water to soak a hoof or (if your horse isn’t the type to stand still) just use it undiluted in a spray bottle.
9. Weed killer. If you don’t like the idea of spraying harmful chemicals all over your fields (I know I don’t) then ACV is a great alternative. For best results, spray weeds early in the growing season and as often as possible.
10. Clean blankets & pads. Add some ACV to the rinse water for your saddle pads, blankets and polo wraps. It will help remove soap residue which is a nice benefit for thin-skinned horses that are prone to irritation.
Bonus: It’s great for removing odors too!
How to Feed ACV: For maximum benefits, I’d recommend feeding approximately 1 cup of ACV daily. It should be diluted 50/50 with water and added your horse’s usual feed. An added bonus is that it will help keep flies away if your horse is a slow eater. As with any adjustments to your feeding program, always make gradual changes and introduce it slowly, ideally over a two week period.
Important: The secret to success is using high quality Apple Cider Vinegar. Natural, unpasteurized ACV is made by crushing organic apples and maturing them in wooden barrels. This results in a brownish liquid that contains a cloudy web-like form called “the mother”. The mother has enzymes and minerals that you won’t find in the filtered and pasteurized versions from most grocery stores. As you know, I’m all about getting the best quality at a good price and there’s two brands of ACV I’ve been using exclusively for the past few years:
Healthy Traditions Apple Cider Vinegar, which is also a great source for other high quality organic food, and where I purchase all my coconut oil in bulk (see Feeding Coconut Oil to Horses…Without Going Broke!)
Bragg Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar (1 gallon) which can be ordered through Amazon.
Bonus: If you order from Healthy Traditions by clicking on any of the links on my site, and are a new customer, you will receive a FREE copy of The Virgin Coconut Oil Book, and I will receive a discount coupon for referring you. Thank you for using these links and supporting the Savvy Horsewoman website!
Have you tried using Apple Cider Vinegar for horses?