Safe and natural products are my favorite, but they are usually way out of my price range. I spent a lot of time reading up on what to use as a homemade remedy for thrush and white line, and discovered a mixture that has been proving to do wonders at a very affordable cost! Unrefined coconut oil as a moisturizer has been a favorite for almost a year, and lavender spray for calming is quickly becoming one of my go-to items!
Apple Cider Vinegar Treatment for White Line, Thrush, and Everything Else
While I'm not sure if this is enough to treat white line on its own, it definitely appears to help! And spraying it on daily has been great at preventing thrush, and I swear it has decreased the sensitivity in my horse's hooves! He can now walk on gravel without his Cavallo Simple Hoof Boots, which he could not do prior to the treatment. I also treat for white line with White Lightning.
I mix Organic Raw, Unfiltered Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) with water and just a few drops of 100% Pure Tea Tree Oil in a spray bottle. The more water you add, the more dilute, or gentle, it becomes! For existing thrush, full strength ACV is probably the way to go. To prevent thrush, I like stretching out the ACV with the addition of water and it still seems to work just fine!
This mixture could also be used as fly spray (I have yet to test this, fly season is coming though!) and as a flea deterrent for your dog. Added to drinking water, the health benefits of ACV seem endless. I am currently adding a teaspoon a day to my dog and cat's water, and drinking a splash in my apple juice. You can add some to your horse's water as well, which can prevent bacteria and what not from growing in their water trough while also offering health benefits to your horse!
How does it work? It contains high levels of acetic acid which increases the acidity of where ever you apply the ACV, creating an environment that is unfriendly to harmful pathogens. There may or may not be other mysterious components to ACV that we have yet to understand, but the most recognized benefit is the acidity (which you could technically achieve with any vinegar, but again, mysterious magical components!). There is very little scientific evidence that points to ACV having any real health benefits, but there are TONS of anecdotal reports (seriously, just Google it) claiming that the stuff has cured everything from cancer to arthritis. My conclusion? It definitely works to treat thrush. It doesn't have any negative side effects. It is really inexpensive compared to other products. So why not?
Pure, Unrefined Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
I LOVE coconut oil. You have to be sure to find some of the good stuff though, it will be called Extra Virgin Organic Coconut Oil and be "pure and unrefined". I use it for everything that needs moisture! Manes and tails, dry skin, you can even use it on hooves to benefit from the anti-fungal properties. I will warn you that it attracts dirt like a magnet. My method is to coat their manes and tails in the coconut oil, and let it sit for awhile then spray the hair with a dirt repelling detangler to balance it out!
I personally use coconut oil on my face as my daily moisturizer, and on my entire body most days! The problem with coconut oil is that it is a solid at room temperature, and turns to liquid very quickly on warm days. I keep it in a jar, so some hot summer days I splash it everywhere if I'm not careful! To apply to horse or human, you simply need to scoop a chunk of coconut oil and rub it in your hands a few seconds, and it melts. There are plenty of benefits from consuming extra virgin coconut oil as well, I've heard that it can help with your immune system as well as digestive system! I like to cook with coconut oil because it tastes good, my favorite way to make pancakes is in coconut oil!
Whenever I cut myself, the only ointment I apply is coconut oil! It is super soothing, and takes away any stinging pain. Coconut oil contains lauric acid, which has actually been proven to kill pathogens like bacteria and fungi though I haven't read too much research on it at this point! The one paper I did read found the acid to kill the tested bacteria over a period of 24 hours. So I'm not saying opt for coconut oil over antibacterial medication, but it definitely makes cuts and scrapes hurt WAY less when applied! And works as an amazing moisturizer.
Lavender Oil Spray
Horses can get a little crazy sometimes. Lavender oil was recommended to me by someone at the barn to help horses calm down, so I bought some and oh my gosh! It works so well. There is real value in aromatherapy! It works like this: horse is fidgeting around, won't stand still. Spritz with spray. Sighhhh, relaxed horse.
Okay, maybe not quite to that extent. But it truly makes a difference and I totally recommend trying it out! You can get essential oils like Lavender Oil at your local health store, or somewhere like Whole Foods. I also purchased a little glass spray bottle along with the lavender oil, and mixed about 3/4 water with 1/4 oil! You can adjust that ratio to make a stronger scent or a weaker one. You do have to shake the bottle real well before you spray as the oil separates from the water pretty fast!