Q: Most people on the yard where I keep my mare feed garlic to their horses and I’m wondering if I should too. Why is it so popular?

Christine Smy replies: Over the past decade or so, garlic has increased in popularity and it is now one of the most commonly fed herbs.

Its claims as an aid to good health include:

  • Clearing the respiratory tract. It contains a substance that helps move mucus in the airways, offering relief from coughs and colds.
  • Reducing blood pressure and purifying the blood.
  • Benefiting the urinary tract due to its cleansing action and ability to reduce inflammation.
  • Helping good digestion.
  • Acting as a natural antibiotic.
  • Working as a natural wormer – but don’t use it as a substitute for conventional worming.

The obvious down side offeeding garlic is the pungent smell which becomes apparent, especially when the horse sweats. However, it may not just be you who would rather avoid your horse when he has been fed garlic; flies are not too keen either, which is of great benefit during the summer months, and yet another reason why it is fed.