A horse’s digestive system was designed to eat a steady trickle of a variety of plants throughout the day. In modern horsekeeping it can be difficult to provide the same level of variety that a wild horse may see.
Consider taking your horse for grazing walks through the woods. You’ll be amazed at the variety of plants your horse will eat. Soon you’ll begin to be able to identify which plants your horse eats and which ones he doesn’t. This can give you insight into how he feels that day and what he needs.
When my second horse, Thunder first came, he ate every dandelion in sight on our walks through the woods. I researched dandelion, and it turned out it was a liver detoxifier. Given Thunder’s history, it didn’t surprise me that he sought out dandelions. In the early days of his rehab I made a point to make sure he had his 10-15 minutes of dandelions several times each week.
Meanwhile, over the years I’ve noticed that my first horse, Chaco, will eat horsetail in small quantities. Horsetail is mildly toxic, and the vet said just don’t let him eat pounds of eat per day, but a few plants shouldn’t hurt. She also said it is rich in minerals and mildly anti-inflammatory. Another plant manual I read said it helps with connective tissue.
Our horses can’t speak to us in words, but they do speak to us all the time through their actions. It’s like decoding a mystery. The more time you spend with your horses and witness the decisions they make, the more the mystery of who they are unfolds before you.
Try a grazing walk through the woods with your horse. I’d love to hear what you learn.