Natural Remedies for Horses that Actually Work

Many people wonder if natural remedies can really help their horse. Since most natural remedies spread via word of mouth from horse owner to horse owner, it can be difficult to know what to trust and what’s just a bale of hay. Here are some of the natural remedies that we’ve found work wonders for our horsey friends.

So, what are some natural remedies for horses that actually work? They are: 

  • Desitin
  • Iodine
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Salt Water
  • Peppermint Oil


Our writers have tried each of these remedies on their horses and have experienced good results, but are not certified, veterinarians. We always recommend that you check with your vet before trying a treatment for your horse. That said, here are more details on each of the remedies that we’ve had success with:

Desitin (a.k.a Baby Butt Cream)

Natural Remedies for Horses that Actually Work

Desitin is a remedy that works for basically all living creatures. It’s widely accepted in the home to not only work great on babies but also dogs and horses. It’s a cream that moisturizes and rejuvenates irritated skin.

You can apply it to any bacterial or fungal growth and watch the Desitin do its work. This would include rashes like scratches, dew poisoning, and mange. Rashes tend to dry out the area of skin that is being affected. When Desitin is applied, it moisturizes the area and pushes the rash out.

Not only is it very effective, but it won’t cause the horse any discomfort either. To treat a rash, apply the Desitin until the rash is gone. After a few days of applying, you should notice the rash starting to clear up.

The great thing about Desitin is that you can get it at any convenience store for about $1. Don’t let the price fool you; this is something you definitely want to add to your inventory when it comes to taking care of your horse.


Iodine is a chemical element that both humans and animals need in their bodies, so it’s no wonder that it works great as a natural remedy for your horse. Its found in most antiseptics and its great at treating fungal and bacterial infections.

Iodine can be used to treat thrush in your horse’s hooves, a fungal infection that eats away at the horse’s frog. It can also treat rain rot, which is a bacterial infection that is found in your horse’s coat.

Both infections are pesky and they will keep getting worse if left untreated. You can treat the thrush by dripping the iodine solution over the frog of the hoof. With the rain rot, drip the iodine over the infected area and rub it into the skin thoroughly. If treated regularly on a daily basis, both should be cleared up in no time.

Iodine solutions can be found in the health care aisles of most stores. You will want to make sure that you either buy a diluted solution since pure iodine can sting the skin and cause discomfort.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Natural Remedies for Horses that Actually Work | Equine Helper

Everyone’s heard the benefits of apple cider vinegar as it continues to get more and more popular for clean living. Based on this article, apple cider vinegar was used all the way back in the day of Hippocrates, an ancient Greek doctor. He used it to treat wounds.

Like Hippocrates, many horse owners today are finding that apple cider vinegar works great for treating wounds and contributing to quicker recovery time. Not only does it protect the wound from infections, but it also has anti-itching properties that can benefit your horse as well.

Healing cuts can be itchy and bothersome; cuts on horses are no exception. Horses are known to rub and scratch their wounds, opening the wound even more. By applying apple cider vinegar, you can help soothe the horse’s wound instead of irritating it further.

Apple Cider is another cheap buy that you can find at any grocery store. Be sure to buy the raw apple cider vinegar. Before you use it on your horse, you’ll want to dilute with water; apple cider vinegar by itself can burn and sting the wound.

Salt Water

We’ve all heard that if you have a cut on your leg, then you should go walk in the ocean. That’s because saltwater solutions are the oldest trick in the book when it comes to treating wounds or using as an anti-inflammatory.

The chemical compound that makes up salt is the enemy of liquid. Any liquid that comes into contact with has to go the other way. When it’s put on wounds, or infected areas, the infection that has gotten into the cells get forced out because, it too, is a liquid.

This quality makes saltwater a great remedy for hoof abscesses, as the abscess is bacterial and has to be drawn out. To accomplish this, you would soak your horse’s hoof in saltwater a bit each day to cause the abscess to come to the surface.

Saltwater is the go-to method for treating mouth sores, ulcers, and abrasions. The most common thing it’s used for when it comes to horses is treating foxtail wounds in the mouth.

Foxtail is a wheat-looking plant that has a bad reaction with horses. The foxtail thistles get stuck in the horse’s mouth and create ulcers. The thistles have to be pulled out, so if you consistently douse the ulcer with salt water, the saltwater will help to force the thistles to the surface.

Peppermint Oil

Natural Remedies for Horses that Actually Work | Equine Helper

Peppermint oil is a popular essential oil that has great benefits when treating the digestion tract. In humans, it can ease nausea and irritable bowel syndrome; in horses, it can ease an attack of colic.

Colic is a potentially fatal occurrence when it comes to horses, so we always recommend to call a veterinarian right away if your horse is colicking. Colic in horses is caused by a number of things from gas, inflammation, and ulcers, to twists and knots in the intestines. Not only is it life-threatening, but it’s also very painful for your horse.

To help ease the pain of colic, you can rub peppermint oil on your horse’s gums. If your horse is suffering from the colic caused by gas, the peppermint oil can potentially clear it up. That being said, it’s still important to contact a vet.

There are a plethora of peppermint essential oils out there to choose from, or you can even buy peppermint extract used for cooking. It’s a great natural remedy to have on hand not only for your horse but for you as well!

Why Do Horse Owners Like Using Natural Remedies?

There are a number of reasons many people will opt to treat their horse via natural remedy. Treating naturally usually costs much less than purchasing drugs or prescriptions otherwise used to treat the ailment. Many people trust the reliable results of natural remedies and swear by using them.

Many times, people opt to use natural remedies (for themselves and for their animals) because natural remedies don’t usually cause any side effects or a chemical imbalance in the body like prescribed medication sometimes does.

Will Natural Remedies Work On Every Horse?

All the natural remedies mentioned above have been used for years by our writers and have seen results consistent enough to be mentioned in this article; however, depending on the horse and the situation, your results may differ. The best way to determine what natural remedies work the best is to try each one and take note of the results. At the end of the treatment, you’ll know if you’ll want to use them or not.

Can Essential Oils Be Used on Horses?

Essential oils can be used to naturally treat ailments in horses. In the last few years, the essential oil industry has become more prominent in the horse world. There are many suppliers and oils to choose from. If you are questioning whether or not to use essential oils on your horses, you can always try them for a time and see if they work. By the end of your test, you can decide whether or not they’re worth it.


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Carmella Abel, Pro Horse Trainer

Hi! I’m Carmella

My husband and I started Equine Helper to share what we’ve learned about owning and caring for horses. I’ve spent my whole life around horses, and I currently own a POA named Tucker. You can learn more here.

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