All Things Horse

Forty-seven Years Of Horse Experience – At Your Service!


Tip # 6

Boil ’em, mash ’em, stick ’em in a stew….

Cute!!! I loved this scene from the Lord of the Rings – The Twin Towers! Of course, I loved the entire show, even though the Twin Towers deviated from Tolkien’s book.

Potatoes is my favorite cure-all treatment for horses!   I mean it!  If one of my horses is displaying any kind of imbalance or limp, I feed him/her potatoes – raw, cleaned, and as straight from the ground, as is possible.  But then, I feed all my horses one or two medium-size potatoes everyday as a preventative measure.

With potatoes, I’ve relieved the stress of arthritis, laminitis, post-legs, rheumatism, colic, pulled tendons and probably a number of maladies, that I didn’t even know they had.  I never wormed Copper the whole time I had him here on the islands (14 years) and he never had his teeth floated in his life (about thirty-one years now).  Different vets agreed that it wasn’t necessary with Copper because he kept his weight throughout the year. 

The Story of Copper:

Copper came to me because he was very sick and the veterinarian had given up all hope of saving the young horse’s life. He had laminitis/sunstroke/bummed up front knee/thrush/a touch of colic/ and probably a whole bunch of other things too.  He was off his feet, neither eating or drinking and lying out flat on the ground.   It was a hot day in July, but the vet didn’t put him down because the children were crying and totally upset and quite frankly wouldn’t let him.

After the vet left, his owner and more importantly, the crying children called me because they knew I had gone to university to study to become a veterinarian (I changed my major) and asked me to help.  I didn’t know about potatoes at that time.  I threw sheets that had been soaked in water, over the horse, head and all. That was to help get him through the day.  Late in the afternoon, he rose and drank some luke warm water.  In the evening, I walked him to my home, about 1500 yards away.  He walked on three legs and it took approximately two hours to go the distance, which was up hill.  When I got him home, I tethered him under the spruce, until I roped the trees off and he had his own small, branch-covered paddock. I had already trimmed the branches high enough up, so that he would not hurt himself.  He spent three years in that paddock, coming out only after the sun was low enough and going for an evening ride.  

It took a long time to bring Copper back, but it was worth it.  In those three years, I research and I learned everything I could about using natural healing products.  In that time, I wrote a book on medicinal plants and spoke with many elderly folk on what their parents did, when they weren’t feeling well.  

In one such conversation, an elderly lady was using raw potatoes to control her arthritis.  This made me very curious, because I knew that Copper was a candidate for arthritis.  I started giving him a potato every day.  After a day, I noticed he was more sprightly, feeling good in comparison to the weeks before.  After two days, his limp was noticable better.  After a week, he had no limp or swellings around his front knees or hocks.  

This was totally strange for me. I did more research, specifically on potatoes and found that they contained a natural, mild antibiotic. I had been giving him butezone, a steroid (from the vet who still swore he wouldn’t live two more months) which causes all kinds of stomach problems.  I stopped the bute treatements completely.  But even I never thought Copper would live a long life.  Personally, I gave him five years before having to put him down.  That was sixteen years ago.

Copper lived a very active life, after he got better.  He went on to learn how to jump and easily cleared four foot barrels with a rider.  I put him into a five foot boarded fence paddock, he made one turn around and jumped out.  All the children enjoyed his company and enjoyed their evening rides.  After a few years, his owner asked me to keep him or he would send him to Entry Island, where I had no contact with him. I kept him because Copper made me feel good.

A couple years later, I send him to the Giddy Up Pony Camp for one summer, to help teach youngsters how to ride.  A couple years later I send there for good. He was getting older and I had no facilities for him.  Eventually, he was retired to a farmer who’s mother wanted a horse to look after.  Copper has been there for years now. He is over 31 years old.

Since I learned about potatoes, I use them for preventative medicine because the horses love them.  It’s like giving candy to a child…, and it is cheaper than apples and carrots treats.  

Since I started using potatoes, I’ve told many people of the successes I’ve had and suggested they try them.  Everyone has said the same thing – that there is a notice improvement in their equine friends.

The Story of Topper:

But the most astonishing story I’ve heard of,  is the treatment of a thirty-year-old palomino gelding called Topper, who had broke his stifle a couple years previously and had diarrhea for months.  The owner was in a terrible state of mind.  She wasn’t ready to lose her friend.  I met her in the social networks and she explained the problem, the veternarian was coming on Monday to put him down.  It was Friday evening.  She was really stressed and it was coming over the computer loud and clear.

I suggested that she put the horse on a macrobiotic diet of plain oatmeal (porridge) and give him potatoes. Then I asked her how old the horse was…. She never told me. But she took two cut up raw potatoes out to her friend who to her surprise, gobbled them down. 

I met her the next day, on the net and asked how Topper was.  She said he seems to be standing straighter and his stools were thicker, but she still didn’t have much hope and was devastated.  She continued with the potatoes but not the macrobiotic diet.  I asked her again, how old her horse was and again she never answered.  

Sunday evening I spoke with her again and she was estatic.  She said Topper was walking around and then trotted and even cantered after his donkey companion. The diahhrea was gone and he had no limp. It was like the last five years never existed. Again I asked her how old Topper and for the third time she didn’t answer me.  The vet came on Monday and agreed there was an incredible change in the horse. He left after giving the horse a vitimin shot.

Like all good stories, this one has to come to an end.  This past fall, the lady decided it was time to put her horse to sleep.  The veterinarian came and administered the shots and the horse fell into a peaceful sleep.  I finally found out how old the horse was, 30 years.  I was stunned!!!  But the lady had six extra months to say good bye to her equine friend. That was six months to prepare for the inevitable.  Six months she wouldn’t have had without POTATOES!

Scientifically Speaking:

In a quick internet search, I found that medicinally speaking, it has been proven, scientifically that raw potatoes are good to relieve the stress of rheumatism. 

“To carry a raw potato in the pocket was an old-fashioned remedy against rheumatism that modern research has proved to have a scientific basis. Ladies in former times had special bags or pockets made in their dresses in which to carry one or more small raw potatoes for the purpose of avoiding rheumatism if predisposed thereto. Successful experiments in the treatment of rheumatism and gout have in the last few years been made with preparations of raw potato juice. In cases of gout, rheumatism and lumbago the acute pain is much relieved by fomentations of the prepared juice followed by an application of liniment and ointment. Sprains and bruises have also been successfully treated by the Potato-juice preparations, and in cases of synovitis rapid absorption of the fluid has resulted. Although it is not claimed that the treatment in acute gout will cure the constitutional symptoms, local treatment by its means relieves the pain more quickly than other treatment.”

Not all horses like potatoes at first  

Frilly for example, wouldn’t eat potatoes for the first few months I had her home here.  However, after seeing the other horses gobbling them away from her, she decided to try them.  Now she eats her share, but she is such a Princess and delicately nibbles at them, even still.  I wanted her eating them just in case I needed her to eat potatoes in the future for its medicinal qualities.

February 12, 2009 - Posted by | health | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. Helpful Health News…

    Trackback by 78 | February 13, 2009

  2. Great blog and hope to have some time soon to come back and read more!

    Comment by rider | February 16, 2009

  3. […] an earlier post on potatoes, I mentioned that I never once de-wormed Copper in the seven years that I had him, nor the seven […]

    Pingback by Worms! Yew! « All Things Horse | April 4, 2009

  4. […] give him away, to a good home. It was an honour to become Trouby’s care giver.  This was before Giddy Up Pony Camp came into being and the ranch was know as Giddy Up Acres. Both he and Lightening came together and […]

    Pingback by Troubadour - An Appaloosa Sport Horse « All Things Horse | April 22, 2009

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