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What herbs can you sow in your horse pasture?

That a horse pasture is different from a cow pasture is well known to most people by now. Dairy cows, for example, need a meadow rich in protein while horses can’t use this. Horses benefit more from a meadow where they can enjoy different herbs. Read in this blog why herbs in the pasture are so important for horses and which herbs every horse can use.

Why a horse needs herbs

Herbivores are the best herb eaters there are. This is because herbivores have a alkaline stomach acid and herbs are alkaline. Alkaline is the opposite of acid. Stomach acid must have a certain acid- alkaline balance to function optimally. This balance also has a direct effect on intestinal flora and therefore the horse’s overall resistance. In addition, herbs are rich in various minerals, vitamins and other nutrients. By also offering horses herbs, you give horses a much more extensive ration and therefore also a smaller chance of developing deficiencies.

Herbs in the meadow

To give our horses the best possible base and meet their basic needs for vitamins, minerals and trace elements as much as possible, it is important to have herbs in the pasture. Unfortunately, it is not possible for many people to adequately support their horse in this need, simply because there is not enough space for it in most places. Horses are naturally used to travelling miles for that one specific herb. Unfortunately, we often cannot offer all these herbs in one place and not every herb grows on every type of soil.

However, it is important to give herbs (in the most natural way possible) to the horse and see what you can do as an owner to bring the ration back to natural nutrition as closely as possible.

Which herbs can go in a horse pasture?

There are a number of herbs that you can sow in a meadow as standard or simply leave in place. Make sure to keep a balance between herbs, but don’t be alarmed if your land is suddenly full of dandelion. Because when this happens, the dandelion is helping the soil get into balance! Trust nature, but of course you may lend a hand now and then.

Safe herbs, shrubs and trees you can sow in and around your meadow:

Narrow Plantain
This herb has a blood-purifying and complementary effect. It contains various tannins and mucilages and can therefore support stool regulation. The seeds of plantain, like psyllium seeds, have a laxative effect. Narrow plantain is high in zinc and silicon and can therefore be a good supplement for many horses. In addition, narrow plantain works well with dandelion. The liquid in plantain is good for minor wounds. It has a blood-storing, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effect. A real little wonder herb!

Dandelion is an herb that everyone recognises. The low yellow flower that turns into a little ball of fluff is seen as annoying by many people. Yet this is an enormously powerful herb that can be put to good use. It aids digestion, purifies the blood, helps eliminate uric acid, improves liver function and stimulates saliva production! It is therefore extremely beneficial. Some horses eat the whole plant, others only the flowers or the leaves. The whole plant is safe for the horse to eat.

White willow
White willow (Salix alba) is one of the most famous medicinal plants in the world. The willow used to be an ingredient to make paracetamol. White willow has anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anti-rheumatic, antipyretic and tonic effects.

Cleavers is a well-known diuretic herb that supports the lymphatic system. Cleavers also works anti-inflammatory, supports the liver and urinary flotation.

Nettle is a useful “weed”. Animals mainly find the young leaves and tops appetising. And that is convenient, because nettles have a huge range of uses. They contain a lot of vitamins and minerals. You can use it, for instance, for anaemia or a dip in resistance. Nettle purifies the blood and supports the intestines and intestinal flora. It is therefore useful for digestive problems, but also for allergies and joint problems. Nettle contains a lot of iron, so make sure your horse does not get too much of it.

Most horses don’t so much eat the blackberries themselves as the leaves of the blackberry. It is full of fibre, as well as vitamins and minerals. It acts as a blood purifier, supports blood sugar balance and wound healing. Blackberries support the kidneys in getting rid of uric acid that can be created by exercises or movement. This also makes it good for horses with joint problems.

Daisies are mainly known for the support they can provide for skin problems, such as bruising, but also skin inflammation, itching and eczema. The daisy has also been found to be useful for postpartum bleeding. For coughs, daisy is also good to use, as is Echinacea.

Field Thistle
Field Thistle is mainly known as the ‘farmer’s pest’. It is almost impossible to eradicate and proliferates rapidly. Yet this thistle has its advantages. Namely, you can use it well to support the liver, as well as the kidneys. Because the plant contains a lot of bitter substances, it stimulates digestion and the liver. In severe cases, the plant can even target regeneration of liver cells. A tincture of field thistle can also provide relief from itching caused by insect bites. Some horses find field thistle extremely tasty and eat the tops.

Conclusion: herbs in the horse pasture are a must

So, herbs are not only very tasty for horses, they are also much needed. By offering a comprehensive ration, you can meet a horse’s natural needs much sooner. This balances the body’s self-regulating ability and provides many physical and mental benefits. When horses are used to eating as naturally as possible, they can recognise what they need more quickly when you offer it to them. This makes it easier for us as owners to keep a healthy horse. Often the herbs mentioned are seen as weeds, but for horses they are very valuable and even a requirement for a healthy body. Therefore, make sure you have herbs in your horse’s meadow and don’t just throw everything away. Nature knows what it needs and will always find a certain balance.


Verhelst, G. (2012.) Groot handboek geneeskrachtige planten (10de editie). Mannavita

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