I love herbal tea—the many flavor varieties, the way it warms me up when I have a chill, the relaxing effect it has on me. A few winters ago, I had a lightbulb moment while preparing breakfast for the horses. As I took a sip of my peppermint tea from my thermos, I thought, “If horses love starlight mints, would they like mint tea?”
Next thing you know, I had devised an elaborate taste preference test with many different types of herbs that I knew were horse-safe. I tested several varieties, both single herbs and mixes, and, no surprise, the favorite was a mint blend, followed closely by ginger and chamomile.
There are multiple ways to offer the teas to your horse: mixed with beet pulp, warm (not hot, of course) in buckets in the winter, and frozen into ice cubes or larger blocks in summer.
To brew large quantities of tea, get a large, inexpensive electric kettle (or three!) and a large mesh strainer/colander. Boil the water and pour it over the herbs in a large bucket. Most teas should only be steeped for 3–4 minutes; anything longer and they turn bitter. Pour the steeped tea into the strainer over another large bucket, and that’s it!
Instead of using 20 or more tea bags for a bucket of tea, do a search online for bulk organic loose herbs. All teas can be stored for quite a while in glass or plastic containers.
Use your imagination, but always make sure you choose herbs and teas that are horse-safe.
Here is a list of herbs, in no particular order, that I have tried and were successful in varying degrees:
- Peppermint, and other mint mixes
There are many different teas and loose herbal mixes out there to try, so have fun and treat your horses to tea time!
About the Author
Equine Behavior and Enrichment Specialist and lifelong equestrian Mary Richards provides consulting services for track paddock design and equine enrichment. You can contact Mary at firstname.lastname@example.org or through www.enrichedequine.com.