The benefits of clay for your horse

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Much appreciated by horsemen, clay has many virtues that can be used to treat certain illnesses in horses. Here are the main uses of this rock and its benefits.

 

What is clay and what form does it take?

Clay is a natural sedimentary rock extracted from the ground. The clays used in medicine are aluminium silicates. Clays can have different colours, depending on the degree of oxidation of the iron they contain. In general, green clay has the most beneficial properties for your horse. The structure of the clay is based on a high concentration of crystals that form layers. It is this “mille-feuilles” structure that makes this rock so popular with horsemen.

 

What are the virtues of clay for horses?

Clay is known mainly for its astringent, absorbing, adsorbing, healing and covering virtues.

  • Astringent virtues: Clay helps to tighten tissues, so it can be applied to your horse’s limbs to promote the recovery of tendons and joints after intense effort. It can also be used in case of engorgement of the horse’s limbs. In this case, it is applied as a plaster.
  • Absorbent virtues: Like a sponge, clay absorbs liquid, such as various secretions and exudates produced by wounds. It also absorbs intra-tissue inflammatory liquids, such as haematomas, inflammation of muscles or tendons, oedema under the skin, etc. You can apply clay to a part of your horse’s body if it has suffered a trauma (shock, even a light blow). It also acts in the horse’s digestive system by absorbing excess liquids and thus restoring good digestion to the horse.
  • Adsorbent virtues: Clay can also retain particles (such as toxins, microbes, etc.) on its surface. In case of diarrhoea, it can adsorb for example pathogenic bacteria and viruses in the horse’s digestive system, provided that it is administered soon enough after the contamination.
  • Healing properties: Some varieties of clay stimulate blood coagulation and healing due to their high aluminium silicate content.
  • Covering virtues: Clay can be used as an intestinal dressing and thus protect the mucous membrane of your horse’s stomach from potential aggressions, such as excessive secretions of gastric juices, acids or bile salts, microbes, anti-inflammatory drugs that can cause ulcers, etc. It will also prevent toxins or microbes from passing through the intestinal wall and into the bloodstream.

 

How can clay be used to treat illness in horses?

If you use clay as a plaster, mix the powder with water. Wait 15 minutes to an hour to obtain a paste that is easier to apply. Apply it to the limbs or any other part of your horse’s body, as close to the skin as possible. Then smooth in the direction of the hair. You can leave the plaster to air dry, or if applied to the limbs, wrap it in cellophane or newspaper and cover with resting strips. The aim is to keep the clay moist, as it is only in this state that it works. To rinse it off, simply hose it off with a brush.

If you want to use it as a stomach dressing, it can already be available as a paste or liquid for oral administration. It can also be sold as a powder to be diluted in water.

Please note that there are some important precautions to be taken when using it. In particular, never use a metal utensil to mix the clay with water, nor a metal container.  Also, never reuse the clay twice, as it may have adsorbed toxic substances. Also, be sure to follow the recommended doses to avoid serious deficiencies in your horse

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