Once you discover all the benefits of apple cider vinegar for horses, it’s 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 apple cider vinegar (ACV) is a great place to start!
💲 This specific brand of apple cider vinegar is most popular with my readers.
✅ Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar for Horses
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).
It also makes an effective and inexpensive fly spray. Try my Easy Homemade Fly Spray recipe.
You can use apple cider vinegar for horse lice to help remove the eggs from the hair. Just like with humans, you must first kill the lice, so I recommend following the steps found here.
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, and even ulcers.
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.
Because of this, using apple cider vinegar for horses with laminitis can help to reduce the risk of it reoccurring, along with proper care.
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 (more details below).
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 joint 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 and abscesses.
You can also use apple cider vinegar for horses with thrush (see Treating Thrush in Horses – Tried & Tested Solutions)
I like to add 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.
Update: Many readers have suggested using Horticultural Vinegar to kill weeds, which has a much higher concentration (up to 6x more!). But is not safe for feeding. Find the best price here.
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 Apple Cider Vinegar to Horses
For maximum benefits, I’d recommend feeding approximately 1/4 – 1/2 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.
✅ Adding Apple Cider Vinegar To Horses Water Trough
Even if you don’t feed ACV daily, your horse can still get the benefits from their drinking water.
Some owners choose to add apple cider vinegar to their horse’s water trough on an ongoing basis (recommended amount is 1 cup per 5-10 gallons). This can also help reduce algae growth and deter mosquitoes.
As mentioned above, only use ACV in plastic buckets as it can leach minerals from metal or galvanized tanks.
✅ What’s the Best Apple Cider Vinegar for Horses?
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!)
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.
Bragg Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar (1 gallon) which can be ordered through Amazon.
💲 If you can get it for under $25, grab it. It’s a great deal! Check the current price here.
Here’s a quick review of the top uses of Apple Cider Vinegar for horses:
- Natural insect control
- Improves digestion
- Helps prevent intestinal stones
- Mane & tail conditioner
- Disguise water while traveling
- Wound treatment
- Ease arthritis symptoms
- Treat hoof problems
- Weed killer
- Clean blankets & pads
Have you tried using Apple Cider Vinegar for horses?
Love the weed killer idea we should do that!:)Laura
I have tried this with no results…weeds never died. Very expensive & doesn't work.
My mother-in-law accidentally watered her house plants with vinegar and they all died!
If you order the 20% agricultural vinager.it will work. The regular strength just isn't strong enough. Add Dawn and it will stick to the weeds better.
The reason that vinegar didn't work is because you need to use horticultural strength vinegar. The acetic acid level is 5% in household vinegar. The level in horticultural vinegar is 20%, is quite caustic, and yes it can burn you at acidity levels of 11%.. It is meant to be diluted and you should use eye protection and rubber gloves when spraying it. I've tried regular vinegar for weeds too and it didn't work. Finally I consulted with an extension agent and was told about the difference in the acidity level between the two versions of vinegar. DO NOT INGEST horticultural vinegar. It's going to kill everything you spray it on too- meaning weeds, grass, flowers, etc. Good luck!
My horse HATES ACV and will not eat it no matter what I do. Frankly I don't blame him. Since the listed benefits are not clinically proven but anecdotal, I will not force him to ingest this vile stuff, no matter what people say about it supposed benefits. He will NOT take it, regardless of what I've tried.
Certainly if your horse hates it, don't feed it! Maybe try one of the external uses instead? Also, if you're using the low quality ACV from the grocery store I agree it can smell awful. Personally I find the organic raw brands are much more pleasant and earthy smelling, but still quite strong (it is vinegar after all!).
Pour about 1/2 to 3/4 gallon of ACV into a 100 gallon trough. It'll be diluted enough to reduce taste, but strong enough for the effect. Helps reduce algae growth as well.
We use ACV for our horse and love how it works for the flies! You go from lots of flies bugging the horses to a only few! http://domestichorsesnaturally.weebly.com/horses/say-goodbye-to-the-flies-with-this-awesome-trick
Glad to hear it's working well for you too!
How much should I put in feed
Can I add it to my water troughs and if so, how much do I use?
The thing I have discovered in my ingesting of knowledge concrening horses is this: whether it be from training to boarding to nutrition, there are various schhols of thought. What works for some may not work for another. Personally, because of the benefits of ACV for us, I think its wirthy of a try for a four legged friends. There are not many things that are an exact science but what we can do is try and see how it goes. I will be trying some with my mare tomorrow simply because I know she is at risk for founder. So perhaps it will turn out to be liquid gold or maybe not. I will definitely update with the progress or even if not. Thank you for such an informative page.
Totally agree that ACV is not very pleasant smelling, but the benefits totally out way what I think of the smell! That said, I just attempted the hyperlink for Tropical Traditions and ACV is no longer available. I am looking on Amazon and other places to see if I can find some other resources. Braggs is PRICEY, but it is the brand my equine chiropractor recommended. To sum up, I think it is wonderful that there are informed horse owners willing to share their experiences and tested theories. So, thank you Savvy Horsewoman!!
trader joe's sells organic acv for only $2.49 for a pint. Well worth it, good for horses stomach, etc. Good for our indigestion also. I've used it for years.
I've used Trader Joe's organic Apple Cider Vinegar $2.49 for years. Works for our digestive system upsets, also the same for horses, I just put a few teaspoons in their grain, or in a bucket/with water. Google, uses for apple cider vinegar. Anything with vinegar (pickle juice) is very good for humans. or read up at DrAxe.com , he's all into helping humans stay healthy.
Thanks for letting me know about the link 🙂 Tropical Traditions is now known as Healthy Traditions and they have their own brand of ACV so I've updated the links.
I have found two benefits kind of accidentally with my mare, no more bladder infections, and no more disgusting hind end when in heat.
It always says to dilute ACV with water when adding to feed. Is this necessary? I board my donkeys and have to pre-measure their feed into baggies for the boarding facility to feed. Adding water creates mold. Can I just add straight ACV, or is that too strong for them to eat? Will it hurt them in any way? Thanks.
How about using empty water bottles or similar to portion out the acv per meal? I would mix it in a gallon jug first, then portion it out in the smaller plastic bottles. Just place the bottle with your feed so all they have to do is dump the acv mix into the feed when its time
I always give my horses, dogs, kids, grandkids ACV…….we use it for everything. We all take it daily and would not be without it. I put it in the dog water and the horse water and in the horse feed daily.
I always used straight on grain/balancer adding oil also.. kinda like oil&vinigar dressing.
I have used this for years and it works great. it is hard to kill weeds with it but as you said for new growth it works. it does stink but not as bad as some of the medicines on the market. so for those of you who have not tried it on your pets you should natural and organic is always a plus for the ones you love.heke even I use it for poison oak, athletes feet, my hair gee's I can go on and on I love "organic with the Mother apple cider vinegar" it is one of the best things I have in my refrigerator!
Good EveninhI would like to know if anyone has ever dealt with horse lice,I have a seveer case of them.Have tryed every thing that people have sugsted but have nor been able to get rid of them.would like to hear from anyone who has dealt with them.
I am sorry to hear that. I did not deal with lice but similar critters unwelcomed in the barn. I tried several things to get rid the intruders: A. empty everthing out of the stall, shavings feeder stallmats etc etc. Spray with “critter killer”. I used Permethrin II. I got it as a premises spray concentrate and as a poor-on oil. After that was done, I took each one of my horses and washed them with lice shampoo. Let them dry and apply a thin coat of Coconut-oil infused with Neem oil over every inch of they body. Notice that the Neem oil is not smelling very good but it helps and is not poisonous for horses. Nice side-effect is that it soothes the irritated skin and promotes healing. When that is done move the horse to a the stall or a different pasture. Leave the pasture that is invested empty for 10 days minimum. That’s how long it takes for the lice to die out there – I hope of starvation- . I also applied the poor on Permethrin to my horses. The leftover Permethrin II for premises can be diluted and used as flyspray after you got rid of the pest. Hope it helps.
Can we humans use this for diabetes and other benefits ?
I haven’t tried it willth my horse but for humans the Braggs is really good. My mom takes it for her diabetes and has done well. I use it to treat and prevent kidney stones. It will also get rid of warts- soak a cotton ball and tape it over the wart overnight until its gone. Usually only a few days depending on the size.
I started giving my horse ACV at the beginning of the summer because of the health benefits and the fly control. Last year, I had a hard time controlling the flies, there were too many and my horse was miserable. We had hardly any flies and I barely used any fly spray this summer . I would highly recommend using ACV. I only give him 1/4 cup a day in his feed.
I have access to a new product Honey vinegar that has been processed to assure there is no alcohol. I am wondering if you have any research on this product?
That’s a great question! I haven’t tried it myself, but I’ve read it’s just as beneficial as ACV (and perhaps even more).
Anyone have links on how to make your own ACV?
Here’s one I like: https://wellnessmama.com/124169/apple-cider-vinegar/
Can ACV be used on donkeys and cows in the same way?
I just started experimenting acv on my horse because he had a rough and dull coat and within 3 days I see a big difference. I just dilute 1/4 cup acv in 1 cup water and apply it to his coat with a sponge
Has anyone use it on a pony with see toe