Horse Eating dirt? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 03-14-2010, 05:06 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Bathurst, Australia.
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Horse Eating dirt?

My horse has a habit, of eating dirt. He ate it when wer were in hand walking, he just stopped, started sniffing around, and started licking it up. He eats dirt out of the bottom of his water trough, (not the the one we use for water, the ones thats damaged and does'nt hold water.) Small pebbles, Sand like stuff, like the size of pebbles in fish tanks.

Could this be caused by having something missing from his diet? Or it's just someing he does?

Im having the vet out this tuesday, should i ask her about it?

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post #2 of 7 Old 03-14-2010, 06:36 AM
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Adelaide
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thats really weird sometimes when me, mum and Smarty go to the indoor arena, he snuffles around in the dirt and woodchips, and he eats a bit of sand and seaweed at the beach as well. We give him all his minerals every second day and hes got good grass in the paddock, so i have no idea why he does it

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post #3 of 7 Old 03-14-2010, 07:46 AM
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I would ask the vet, some horses are just weird and to some it means something. If he's eating sand it could lead to sand colic and it could be fatal. Take a jar and fill it up with some water, add pieces of your horses poop, shake it, and let it settle. If you see sand I would be worried.

I'm not positive on what it's called, but there is something out on the market that you feed to your horse and it will help to prevent it.

Last edited by White Foot; 03-14-2010 at 07:54 AM.
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post #4 of 7 Old 03-14-2010, 07:57 AM
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Yes, it's probably something in the dirt that's missing or imbalanced in his diet. It's common for many animals to eat mineral rich dirt from choice spots. Ellies actually excavate for salt! Not sure if they still do it these days, with the state of the environment, but in some English TB stables they fed their horses a sod of turf from a special paddock regularly & in the morning, dirt & all was always gone. Suppose that was mineral supplementation of old!

Most conventional horse feed - be it pasture, hay, manufactured feed... is deficient & imbalanced in a range of nutrients. IMO the best thing to do is do a diet analysis, to work out what exactly the horse is getting in his basic diet, and what feed/supplements will give him the right amounts of the rest. Best if you get a pasture or soil analysis if possible, but you can get a fair idea with the help of programs or services such as which is the one I subscribe to & find fantastic value.
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post #5 of 7 Old 03-14-2010, 12:54 PM
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You should absolutely ask your vet about the dirt eating, discuss the diet you have her on including any minerals and suppliments, ask if you are in a deficient area, and then ask about a sand colic preventative like psyllium (I use Sandclear and like it a lot). It is not normal for her to seek out dirt and pebbles to eat and can cause problems such as sand colic. Consider having a feed analysis (quite cheap here in the states) done on your hay to see if there are any missing minerals, etc. in the hay. Best of luck!
tealamutt is offline  
post #6 of 7 Old 03-16-2010, 11:38 AM
Join Date: Mar 2010
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I would try a mineral supplement start with something simple like Clovite.
Clovite Conditioner (Fort Dodge) - All Products -

Unless he is just bored...he is looking for minerals.
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post #7 of 7 Old 03-16-2010, 04:47 PM
Join Date: Mar 2010
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That's really weird.. I know sand is bad for horses though so you should ask your vet. When the grass gets short or when your horses are fed where there is dirt, they are likely to injest it and that can lead to sand colic. We have had some bad colic issues with my pony Gizmo so we give our horses SandClear once a month for 7 days straight (recommended dosage). It comes with a little cup to measure it with and you just add it to your horse's feed. There is other products like it (Another one is called Sand Blast) that probably work just as well. But definitely talk to your vet first and find out what might be wrong(:
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