For some time now people have been paying closer attention to the components of their food. Obesity, chronic disease and diminished life expectancy have been the markers for poor eating habits. There are conflicting claims about which foods are healthy and which foods are unhealthy, but the predominant evidence is that truly organically-grown food is healthier than processed or heavily treated food. There is contrary evidence, but it is unpersuasive. If you are familiar with the literature, you tend to eat organic food.
If that’s the case for us humans, then what about our animals, especially our horses?
Many people, unwittingly, feed their horses adulterated hay and alfalfa. It is full of pesticides, ammonia (to combat mold) and green dye (to mask sun-bleaching). This treatment is almost never disclosed by forage growers. Organically grown forage, i.e. unadulterated hay and alfalfa, is available but it is scarce and expensive.
Why bother? Why pay more? There are two answers. The first is, if we pay attention to what we eat, shouldn’t we pay attention to what we feed our horses? The second is, and this is pretty early news, horses are observed to colic less when they are fed organic feed. Veterinarians in parts of the USA have observed this and are passing on this observation in recommendations to careful horse owners. So without making any veterinary claims, we offer organically grown hay and alfalfa.
Some farmers go a step beyond organic, and grow their crops “biodynamically.” This is a method of farming developed by Rudolf Steiner, the German theorist and writer, and practiced primarily in Europe. In sum, it limits farming to what the local land can best produce; getting the best out of the local soil, and replacing what is taken. It is the “next level” of organic and crop purity. While the definition of “organic” is vague and inconsistently applied, “biodynamic” is extremely specific and is capable of being audited by certification companies that apply Steiner’s criteria.