Horse owners are using CBD for equines for many reasons, including relief of pain, inflammation, anxiety, as well as increased focus, mobility and comfort.  But can CBD oil help my horse?  What are the benefits of CBD or hemp for horses?  Is CBD ‘Show Legal’?  And what product should I choose?

You know your horse, and typically you can tell when he or she is feeling his or her best -- active and content and ready to go.  But recognizing the signs that something is not quite right with your mount may be more difficult to discern.  Behaviors such as resistance, balking, bucking/rearing, being restless, a change in appetite or water intake, or a sudden change in mood or mobility may be signs that something is awry.  But determining the cause and how to help address the issue isn't always obvious.  These behaviors may be signs of pain from arthritis, injury, disease, infection, GI upset, or excessive physical exertion.  Or such behaviors may indicate emotional distress, anxiety, or even a combination of contributing factors.  Certain individual horses, and some equine breeds will be inclined to provide clear signals, while others may be more stoic, and require additional detective work to help get to the bottom of it all.  A consult with your veterinarian is the obvious first step to help evaluate and diagnose underlying issues or conditions that are causing the troubling symptoms.  Often, a simple veterinary examination can help determine obvious issues such as colic, skin conditions, wounds, or injuries.  Age-related arthritis as well as certain neuromuscular conditions may be a factor that present with signs of pain, lameness, discomfort, depression, and reduced mobility.  Further diagnostics such as imaging or blood work can provide your vet with additional information and suggest a course of treatment.  Depending upon the diagnosis, prescription medications that your vet may recommend include non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs), other pain or allergy medications, antibiotics, and anticonvulsants, to name a few.  But many of these drugs are known to present risks of adverse reactions, especially with long-term use.  Other supportive treatments your care team can offer include cold laser therapy, PEMF, chiropractic, bodywork, and physical therapy.  A change in diet or weight management plan are other options to consider to address specific issues and increase overall comfort and well-being for your horse.

But increasingly, as results are documented and research undertaken and reported, horse owners are asking, in addition to conventional treatment options:  Can CBD help my horse?

1. CBD may help horses suffering from the pain of arthritis.

While there is no "cure" for arthritis in horses, you (along with your vet/health care team) can implement a plan to help alleviate pain, inflammation, and stiffness, and increase comfort and mobility for your horse.  Your plan could include diet/weight/body condition evaluation and appropriate measures to modify diet, carefully adding low impact activities such as hand walking and massage.  A change in stall bedding may help provide support and relieve pressure on arthritic joints, thereby reducing discomfort and stiffness after periods of rest and immobility.  Cold weather may also impact arthritic pain, so consider weather-appropriate blanketing especially for body-clipped and senior horses.  Many supplements may aid in the relief of pain and inflammation, including OTC joint supplements containing glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate, omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA), and natural botanicals such as turmeric and boswellia.

Cannabidiol (CBD) has been shown to address pain and inflammation in horses suffering from arthritis.  Indications are that CBD has an anti-inflammatory effect on horses by interacting with receptors (called CB1 and CB2 receptors) in the horse's endocannabinoid system (ECS).  The ECS is found in all mammals, including humans.  Scientists believe the ECS is responsible for maintaining balance inside the body, regulating how the body's systems respond to external stimuli.  CBD acts to affect how the ECS modulates pain and inflammatory responses, thereby helping horses (as well as the rest of us) experience reduced pain and inflammation as well as increased comfort and mobility.

Research studies regarding safety and efficacy of CBD in animals are increasing.  An increased demand for science will serve to augment the proliferation of anecdotal evidence that -- as a complement to conventional treatment options -- CBD may provide safe and effective therapeutic benefits for horses experiencing pain, inflammation, and reduced mobility due to arthritis.

When considering CBD products for their horses, owners should look for equine-specific products made from organically-grown USA hemp, and products that are tested for purity and potency.  Trove Equine Oil 750 and Trove Equine Oil 1500 are made with the same premium products, and according to the same strict quality standards, as Trove's products for people.  Unlike hemp-infused horse pellets or treats, Trove products can be precisely dosed to add to your horse’s food or favorite treat, or given directly into the mouth so you know the exact dosage your horse is getting.  For maximum convenience and dosage flexibility, consider the new “scoopable” Trove Equine Powder 4500, with a whopping 150 mg CBD per scoop in organic stabilized ground golden flaxseed.  And we've never met a horse that didn't love the taste of Trove!  We recommend that you always consult your veterinary team whenever starting any new treatment, supplement, or medication for your horse.

2. CBD may help horses with general anxiety or stall rest anxiety.

One of the most popular trends in equine healthcare is using hemp or CBD to help horses with anxiety.  Although derived from the cannabis sativa plant, CBD products derived from industrial hemp contain little or no THC, the psychoactive compound that produces the “high” effect found in marijuana. Trove Equine products are THC free, and providing your horse with Trove CBD supplements will give them the benefit of relaxation without psychoactive or sedative effects.

Anxiety in horses may arise as a result of a number of root causes:  pain, fear, separation, disorientation, past experience.  And, like some people, some horses just tend to be a bit hot, temperamental, or sensitive.  Training techniques to encourage calm such as desensitization, directed exercise, positive reinforcement, and patient behavioral modification will go a long way to reinforce confidence and comfort and take the place of fear and insecurity.  While anxiety is a common issue with rescue horses, or certain breeds of horses, this problem can arise with any horse, and severe, untreated anxiety may also lead to stress-related physical manifestations.

3. CBD may help horses with neuromuscular issues.

Studies and case studies at Colorado State University (CSU) and others are reporting encouraging results regarding the ability of CBD to address neuromuscular issues in the horse.  See, especially, the blog article, “Can CBD Help My Horse?” for more in-depth information about the promising, positive effects of CBD for perplexing neuromuscular conditions in the horse.

All Trove Equine products are THC free, derived from organically grown USA hemp, and are independently triple tested for purity, potency, and consistency.  A QR code on every product links directly to the Certificate of Analysis for that product batch, so you can ensure the quality and exact dosage of the product you provide for your horse.

4. CBD may help active or working horses increase mobility.

Much like human athletes, active and working horses may suffer from exercise-induced pain and inflammation from over exertion, limited conditioning, or insufficient muscle recovery.  CBD for horses helps to restore homeostasis, and therefore may relieve inflammation, address nerve pain, soothe sore muscles, and restore mobility, without the potential known side effects of NSAIDs and other pharmaceuticals.

It is important to note that, per directives by the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) and Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI), CBD is not a currently permitted substance for horses in competition.  Read more about that in the blog article “CBD.  Is it ‘Show Legal’?” here.

5. CBD may help horses in training with improved focus.

Whether you're training a new 4-legged family member, rehabbing a rescue or OTTB horse, or training your promising young mount for future competitive sport, CBD may help enhance mental focus that will assist in your horse’s training program.

6. CBD may help horses with surgical/injury/illness recovery.

Following a surgery, injury or illness, your horse will most likely be on a regimen of medications, supplements, and restricted activity or stall rest as directed by your veterinarian.  Trove Equine CBD products may help support the neuromuscular, musculoskeletal, digestive, immune, and circulatory systems that will prove helpful in restoring homeostasis from the stress of the surgery, injury, or illness.  Studies as well as experiential evidence also suggest that CBD for horses may help ameliorate healing, relieve pain and inflammation, and relieve anxiety resulting from confinement, recovery/rehab regimens.

7.  CBD may help horses with noise anxiety, sound sensitivity, or transport.

Many horses understandably exhibit symptoms of anxiety when experiencing loud noises from thunderstorms, fireworks, construction activity, or natural disasters.  Some horses become anxious during transport due to confinement, sound sensitivity, or bodily tension.  CBD for horses helps to prevent or lessen the intensity of behavior arising from noise anxiety, sound sensitivity, and transport anxiety, and may prevent habituation of stress-induced behaviors.  Being proactive in advance of times when your horse may be stressed and anxious due to external forces such as loud noise or travel, Trove Equine CBD may promote coping and relaxation.  Trove Equine products are THC free, non-psychoactive, and upon consultation with your vet care team, may be administered along with other supplements on a daily basis to promote calmness and general well-being.

But, all CBD equine products are not created equal. 

Not only are there different product types and formulations, there are also different strengths, concentrations, and contents.  And not all products are tested and verified.  So, in order to be sure about the quality and strength of the CBD you choose for your horse, start with a product that is tested for purity and concentration and offers a laboratory Certificate of Analysis to back it up.  Know the product's CBD concentration per mL, and verify that package labeling accurately represents actual CBD content, not just a host of other cannabinoids, hempseed extracts, or other botanicals.  And as added safety for your horse, choose a product that is THC free.  Trove Equine Oil 750 contains 750 mg CBD per 30 mL bottle; each 1 mL dropper (20 drops) contains 25 mg CBD.  Trove Equine Oil 1500 contains 1500 mg CBD per 30 mL bottle; each 1 mL dropper (20 drops) contains 50 mg CBD.  Trove Equine Powder 4500 contains 4500 mg CBD per pouch; each scoop contains 150 mg CBD.  All Trove products are THC free, non GMO, and gluten free.  Trove sources organically-grown USA hemp, and all products are triple tested and labeled with a QR code that links directly to the Certificate of Analysis for that batch.  For more information and specific dosing guidelines, consult Trove packaging information or contact us.

Copyright © 2022 Deborah Carter.  All rights reserved