Diet and Nutrition

CPL-friendly diet and nutrition

CPL-friendly nutrition

We find that horses with CPL do best on a simple, forage-based diet. We recommend a diet free from chemically processed, potentially inflammatory ingredients and those which can damage the delicate gut microbiome and overload the lymphatic system. With a simple and nutritious alfalfa-free, forage-based diet, we can hope to protect from dietary triggers that may cause flare ups. Feed must also ideally be <10% combined sugar and starch due to the possibility of laminitis.

It is important to keep the horse from becoming overweight as this puts further strain on the already overburdened system and because CPL horses can be prone to laminitis and other hoof problems.

Jasper enjoying some pumpkin


HoofGeek describes a healthy diet as also being barefoot-friendly which is useful for CPL horses due to their potential for hoof problems. Balance is key.

  • Good quality food
  • Chemical free
  • Low sugar
  • Good nutritional balance
  • Unprocessed

How to balance the diet? Without getting right into the hay and grass analysis side of things (which are important if you suspect a deficiency or overload or sometimes if your horse has metabolic health problems), the easiest way is to find a good broad spectrum balancer. These should provide the recommended daily allowances of most vitamins, minerals and trace elements for your horse by weight. There are also more targeted balancers available.

Supplements; Marigold & Cleavers

“As a Medical Herbalist with over 30 years’ experience of formulating herbal supplements for horses I would like to address this subject. Over the last 30 years I have used Cleavers (Galium aparine) in many formulations, including those specifically formulated to help support horses with Insulin Resistance or Laminitis.
It has been suggested that Cleavers have a diuretic action on the body so should not be used for horses with insulin resistance or laminitis as this may lead to increased concentrations of sugar in the blood and dehydration.
This is not accurate. Cleavers offer a mild diuretic effect on the body, anyone whose horse has been eating Cleavers may have seen an increase in urine output, but this is more due to the herbs “alterative” action rather than diuresis. Of course, it goes without saying that all animals should have access at all times to a good clean water supply regardless of any health concerns.
“Alterative” herbs are used primarily to detoxify the system and help support the elimination from the body of “waste products”, this is why herbs such as Clivers, Dandelion, Nettle are often used for conditions such as Arthritis, Chronic skin conditions and other inflammatory concerns, where they work by helping encourage the removal of inflammatory waste products from the tissues so they can then be processed and expelled by the body’s eliminative systems. Cleavers in particular are used for joint disease, connective tissue disorders, skin conditions or as part of Spring Detox programmes.
Cleavers and Marigold are often combined and are what is known as “Sister Herbs”, in that they are considered to help support the action of each other when combined.
Of course, as with any food or supplement you are planning to use for your horse it is important to follow the recommended feeding guide. It may be tempting to assume that if 2 scoops are good then 8 scoops are 4 times as good! Wrong! we don’t do this with our own food or supplements so why do it with your horse’s food?
Cleavers and Marigold are both extremely safe herbs with centuries of use by both people and animals, that when given access to the herbs will happily “ self-dose”.
Used correctly they can offer great support to horses and ponies of all ages.
Hilary Self BSc. (Hons) MNIMH

It may also be helpful to support CPL horses immune systems to help with the reduced healing, inflammation and hypersensitivities they can encounter as a result of the disease.

Please consult your vet before starting a new feed or supplement and make sure to monitor your horse very carefully for any physical or behavioural changes. If in doubt, contact the manufacturer for more information.

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