Aspen and the children Wild equines eat or lick clay and have since the beginning of time. Many prefer dirty water than fresh water. All Equines instinctively know that clay has amazing therapeutic properties and minerals essential to their health. Terramin clay, not only has many minerals and nutrients, but is also known to have health properties that are still not entirely explained by the scientific mainstream. Wild horses love to eat and roll in mud/clay pools to help their skin and coat stay healthy detox and keep parasites and flies at bay.

Clay has been used in many scientific experiments for that reason. In 1999, a Czech study shown that Bentonite added to pig slurry removed 98.9% of psychrophilic microorganisms and 100% of mesophilic microorganisms. Bentonite is also used in snake anti-venom preparations.

Feeding clay to horses or dogs is not so strange once we understand what clay can do and understand that animals happily eat clay or dirt containing clay themselves, if they are able to and if they feel the need to. Animal planet has had programs about animals eating dirt and clay in the wild. All animals’ not just horses eat clay in the wild including birds, and fish. A study concluded that Bentonite clay allows a greater flow of protein from the rumen to the intestines, which in turn promotes wool growth in sheep.

Pictoglyph on canvas

I personally studied ‘hands on clay’ applications at a California Horse Ranch/camp where Roy Rogers horse “Trigger” was boarded. I worked side by side with a northern California Native American Miwok Indian medicine man helping treat horse’s hoofs, feet, legs and other bodily injuries using clay poultices with fantastic results. I was instrumental in helping many horses recover from laminitis and other hoof problems. I also assisted a woman heal her foot that was gangrene, whom her doctor had given up on, and had told her she would have to have it amputated. We used clay and sea salt. I have made clay pastes and plasters and applied them around the horses, ponies and donkey’s eyes in the summer to keep flies at bay and protect the eye. We also gave our equines clay bathes, leaving the clay on for an hour or so before washing off. They loved it! And it cleaned their skin and nourished their coats. I added some coconut oil to the clay when applying it to prevent too much drying of the skin. The horses skin and coat was always much improved after these therapeutic clay/oil bathes.

Externally, clay can be used for ulcers and skin infections, blood disorders, acne and other skin problems, rashes, burns, cuts, wounds, tendon injuries, inflammation, arthritis, bruises, contusions, abscesses, muscular aches and pains etc. There are Many French horse sites on the internet talking about clay and horses, but they are in French.

It’s reported that clay facilitates cell regenerating, enhancing healing and tissue formation, leaving the new skin supple. Clay seems to “draw the pain out” with its drawing and magnetic affect providing a wonderful cooling relief.

My pack donkeys would sometimes rub sores from their pack saddle when they carried elk meat out of the Colorado Mountains. The clay would heal the sores quickly, with bag balm added after to help grow the hair back.

When not to use clay:

Clay should never be given orally to horses in the following cases:

  • Constipation, impaction
  • Hernias
  • Consumption of oil for 15 days prior to starting clay
  • High fat diets
  • During pregnancy and breast feeding (Although a small amount is healthful)
  • Hypertension
  • During a course of medication

Always seek advice from a veterinarian when an animal is ill.

Clay is negatively charged, so it can literally "pick up" positively charged" toxins. This ability to bind toxins makes Terramin a very valuable supplement for equine athletes. Like with human athletes, training, competition and long hours actually increases the amount of toxins in the body. Building up these toxins can cause inflammation, stiffness, and soreness in equine athletes and low performance.

Trace minerals are essential for all horses. Clay Provides essential trace minerals that perform many functions in the body including cellular oxygenation; increasing the absorption of calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus, supporting the cells that form new bone; supporting enzyme reactions and protein synthesis; providing the lubricant between joints; aiding in the production of collagen supporting energy metabolism and the immune system.

Clay is also useful in using around horse stalls and in barns etc, it absorbs nasty bacteria’s and bugs and absorbs odors.

Professors study healing potential of clay

Two Arizona State University professors are trying to dig up new medical cures, studying the use of clay to combat some of the planet's deadliest bacterial infections.

The researchers, geochemist Lynda Williams and microbiologist Shelley Haydel, already have demonstrated that certain clays are able to wipe out microbes responsible for MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), as well as intestinal bugs such as E. coli and salmonella.

But they remain stumped as to how it works.

"We know they kill bacteria, but we don't know why," Williams said. "The 'eureka' moment - we haven't had that yet."

On Sunday, Haydel presented the team's latest findings at a meeting of the American Chemical Society in New Orleans. No clinical studies have been conducted with lab animals or human patients, but the researchers are seeking new grant funding and hope to begin studies on mice.

Mystery Healing

That question remains unanswered and puzzling. The antiseptic clays are not uniform in chemistry or color. The microbes they kill differ in structure and genetics. So the antibacterial recipe remains a mystery.

Williams and Haydel admit to initial misgivings about their study because clay's medicinal power is so tangled in folk remedies and fraud.

Barbara's experiences with clay.

Nutramin Clay Our horses and donkeys were never wormed with chemical de-wormers because the silica in the clay helps kill parasites. It’s a safe and healthy way to raise a healthy holistic horse. We also give our horses Himalayan sea salt blocks instead of the chemical salt blocks on the market.

Equines hoofs and bones are improved with clay eating and many stop eating dirt and wood fences when clay is added to their diet. I always fed my horses and donkeys a tablespoon of clay to a small amount of oats or ground/mashed carrots. They loved it! And the breath was much improved as well. We all brush out teeth with the clay. Try the clay for your horses and yourself and witness your own wonderful results. When you raise a holistic horse and see the wonderful improvement on them, it gives you and your beloved horse’s great satisfaction, longevity and happiness together for years to come, not to mention the money you will save on vet bills.

Nutramin Clay for Animals is available at:
Barbara's Healthy Lifestyle Store

I am available for questions anytime and love to share stories with people about horses and clay.

Contact Barbara


Hannon, Robert Logan "An Evaluation of bentonite feed additives in horses and dogs and a reflection on the research process" University of Western Sydney, 1996

"Production of highly potent horse antivenom against the Thai cobra (Naja kaouthia)" Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Science, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand, 1997

"Preventing and treating colitis with DTO-smectite", Journal of Equine Veterinary, July 2000

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