Detox is a popular term with humans and now also for horses. A fresh start for the body can be a big help. But what exactly does ‘detoxing’ entail? Is it literally just detoxification? Or is there a lot more to it? The answer is yes, there is indeed a lot more to it. After all, rest is just as important. In this article, learn why rest is the main ingredient, and the 3 pillars of a good detox period.
Detoxing means getting rid of waste/toxins from the body. Detoxing/cleansing the liver and kidneys is a way to support your horse’s natural detoxification and waste elimination processes. A detox regimen purifies the organs that are behind this whole process and stimulates their function. Combining this with a mainly high-fibre feed will support healthy gut flora´ and make the detox period even more beneficial. You’re giving the horse everything that is good for him. So detox for horses is definitely a sensible course of action!
Tension must be accompanied by relaxation
Before we delve deeper into detox, let’s first discuss the importance of rest (periods). A horse (any athlete, really) needs rest to recover from work, both physically and mentally. Which is logical – living under constant tension is unhealthy. Your horse’s training regimen should always include rest. The body needs rest to be able to release tension, and this is key in any sport and at any level. It’s important to know that physiological recovery takes at least three days. Horses are athletes, and to keep fit and healthy through life, there needs to be a balance between tension and relaxation.
When should you detox?
Rest is therefore a basic part of any training plan. Just as important is stopping work completely once in a while. An occasional longer break gives your horse the chance to get back to full strength for top performance later. Want to enhance the impact of this rest period? Then consider a detox treatment. Not sure when the right time would be for one? We recommend detoxes at the following times:
- At the change of seasons
- After intense competition periods
- When switching to a new feed
- If your horse has a dull coat or moulting issues
- After a period of illness or infection
- After a course of antibiotics
At such times, your horse has a lot to process (physiologically speaking) and his body produces a lot of waste products. During a detox, you lend a hand to the breakdown process by giving support to the liver and kidneys. A detox regimen purifies the organs that are behind this whole process and stimulates their function. It helps your horse eliminate waste products. An effective detox period lasts at least 6 weeks.
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How to detox
Horses are creatures of habit: unlike us humans, who like variety, horses do well with a ration that is the same every day. Detox treatments in horses therefore have much less dramatic effects than in humans. These are the three pillars of a good detox period:
- Give your horse extra fibre as well as pre- and probiotics
- Support the liver and kidneys
- Let your horse move around as much as possible
Give your horse extra fibre
A good detox period starts with extra fibre. During the detox period, switch your horse to a diet of hay and high-fibre concentrate feed, for example Fiberforce or Fiberforce Gastro. Continue this regimen for six weeks. It will keep energy low, provide extra fats and fibre, and keep sugars and starches to a minimum. Switching to a mainly high-fibre diet also gives the intestinal tract some time to rest and recover. You can provide additional digestive support with pre- and probiotics, such as with VitaFlora. Prebiotics and probiotics bring the intestinal flora back to a healthy balance for a well-functioning gut.
Support the liver and kidneys
The liver is the body’s internal detox organ and is responsible for processing various nutrients, waste products and harmful substances. Kidneys, together with the liver, ensure efficient elimination of waste products. So, although the liver and kidneys play a crucial role in the health of our horses, we often overlook the ways we can support these organs.
It is important to give the liver and kidneys a boost every now and then to help them function well. During a detox period, you are purging these organs, so it is important not to give your horse any (unnecessary) supplements or medications, but rather just support these organs. You do this with a regimen of Cavalor Hepato Liq. The herbal extracts in Hepato Liq have purifying and beneficial effects on the liver and kidneys.
Let your horse move about during detox periods
Should your horse stay stabled during a detox? Absolutely not. Horses need to move about. So it is important to keep your horse moving during a detox period. Nothing too strenuous. Daily grazing is good for every horse. One horse may find it relaxing to do some light groundwork. Another may get more relaxation from a hack in the woods or on the beach. For one or two weeks during the rest period, it will also definitely do some good to not take part in any competitions and not plan any transport. Then you can then ease back into training towards the end of the detox period.
Do you give your horse regular rest and extra support through detox regimens? Then your horse is soon back in shape and ready to get back in work and give their best. Good health starts from within.
Advice from our experts: detox with Cavalor products
Unlimited access to fresh water and sufficient roughage is key. This also applies to detox periods. During a detox period of about six weeks, add three Cavalor products:
Cavalor Fiberforce or Fiberforce Gastro: fibre as a base;
Cavalor Vitaflora: to restore and support intestinal flora;
Cavalor Hepato Liq: to support liver and kidney function
Give your horse 500 g of Cavalor FiberForce per 100 kg body weight every day for 6 weeks. In addition, give your horse 20 g of Cavalor Vitaflora for 10 days. And a regimen of Hepato Liq (250 ml) until the bottle is empty.
Did you know? Natural detox
Did you know that horses living in the wild have their own detox regimens?! In winter when there is less food available, they automatically go into fasting periods. This uses the energy which they normally use for digesting food, and purifies the bodily processes. In addition, horses in the wild also eat herbs and plants with cleansing properties, such as nettles. So leave those plants growing in the field!