Woman-“Horses would never eat sprouted seeds in the wild, so why in god’s name would you feed them”.
Me- “Ehh, because my horses aren’t in the wild”.
Supplementation- we supplement our horse’s diet to provide nutrients that are not present in correct amounts. Horses normally eat the same diet day in day out. Wild horses will tend to have a far greater variety in their diet as they are roaming.
Over half the horses diet comes from hay or pastures this is where they get their majority of nutrients from. So to balance that out we tend to use “feed/supplements” to make up the short fall. But what is the short fall? Without knowing what’s lacking in the diet (hay analyse) we could be wasting money on supplements. Of course supplements are needed when we cannot meet a certain nutritional requirement but remember nowhere in nature are minerals found in isolation. Synthetic Vitamins and minerals will never perform fully because they are not natural and are without cofactors, which wholefoods will contain. Cofactors are the “whole family or the rest of the family” let’s take a carrot for example; nowhere in nature would a carrot just have calcium in it. Carrots contain cofactors like beta-carotene, carotenoids, vitamins, minerals etc. These cofactors are as important as the “mineral” itself.
If you are into micro managing your horse’s diet stop reading now this is not for you.
We are entering a new era of equine nutrition it is no longer about how many milligrams of a certain mineral you horse is getting but rather about how much of that is getting into the bloodstream and being absorbed. It is the minerals in the food that are the major controller of the acid-alkaline balance in our horse’s diet.
Alkaline = happy cells (Sprouted seeds=alkaline)
Acid= unhappy cells (Processed cooked foods =acid)
Why can’t horses eat a varied diet? Most of us can’t offer the biodiversity they need, or could we.
- Stop using fertilizer.
- Plant more hedge rows.
- re seed with native grasses.
- plant herbs in pasture or in pots and use in feed.
- forage by the wheel barrow full.
- bring horses on forage walks.
- feed a variety of sprouted seeds.
By implementing some or all of these things you can provide antioxidants, prebiotics, anti-microbial action and protection against disease.
Where to buy seed of herbs https://www.jekkas.com/collections/jekkas-herb-seeds
For reseeding pasture https://www.cotswoldseeds.com/seeds/9/horse-and-pony
If some of that is not an option for you, sprouting seeds can be a way to bring a variety of vitamins and minerals into the diet. Wholefoods like sprouted seed will contain a variety of bioavailable minerals in small amounts so they need to be feed daily. Wholefoods have lower potency than synthetic minerals but are actually more effective as they are easily assimilated, nature didn’t get it wrong.
Variety of sprouted seeds is the key. It is beyond the scoop of this article to go into great detail of what seed does what , but I can tell you that all sprouted seeds have live enzymes which help a horse digest better, all sprouted seeds contain phytochemicals are naturally occurring plant chemicals example flavonoids. All sprouted seeds offer bioavailable minerals and vitamins.
Take Broccoli for example— It contains sulfophane which protects cells from becoming malignant. It is greater in sprouts than in broccoli as a vegetable. It also causes the body to release glutathiones a natural body enzyme, which neutralize or detoxify carcinogens, before they damage the DNA. (I don’t recommend feeding broccoli; I do recommended feeding the sprouted seed).
Feel free to continue to use your normal feed but why not add in some nutrition bombs in the form of sprouted seeds. Who couldn’t do with some extra wholefood nutrition in the form of enzymes, phytochemicals, oxygen, and bioavailable minerals?
Step 1 how to sprout-
Always start small with something easy, so decide what suits your pocket $$ (do not rush out and buy 25kg of a particular seed) and see what seeds you can source. Where to buy seeds- you need to buy dried seeds not split ones or in tins. Supermarkets (Aldi do dried lentils), health food shops, online, farm seed shops, Asian shops, bird seed wholesalers.
Some simple seeds to start sprouting are quinoa, sesame (black if you can), amaranth, fenugreek, millet, alfalfa, lentils and mung beans. They all have super benefits.
Pop the seed of choice in the bottom of your jar let’s say 2 table spoonful’s and fill your jar with water. Leave about an inch from the top. Leave your seed to soak overnight and you will see them swelling up before your very eyes.
Drain off that water the next morning that your seeds have been in all night.(get rid of it). Re-fill your jar with clean water and rinse them little seeds again, pouring the clean water off them, leave them now with no water to sprout. Ideally upside down to drain. But you need to repeat the rinsing process at least once a day until the sprouts are ready I like to rinse 3 times a day this is what keeps a healthy seed. After a while you will get good at quantities and what to sprout and when. You will even get adventurous and starting mixing your seeds for sprouting.
Quick guide to seeds.
- •Quinoa- use straight away after soaking or sprout for 1-2 days.
- •Sesame- use straight away after soaking or sprout for 1-2 days.
- •Alfalfa- will take 3-6 days to be ready- start in jar and then need to move to a bigger container as they multiply.
- •Fenugreek- can be used straight away after soaking or 2-3 days of sprouting.
- •Mung beans- need to be soaked in warm water- then sprouted in the dark for 1-2 days then in the light for 4-5 days.
- •Lentils- must be sprouted for 4-5 days.
- •Millet- use straight away after soaking.
keep it real, equine herbalist.