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Beer for your horses... How much and how?

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  • Beer for your horses... How much and how?

    Do you give it to them straight or put it over feed or add it to their water?

    I suspect she could be a non sweater although that hasn't been confirmed yet. She's never had a problem before this.
    Fresh, Frozen & ISO Warmblood Breedings FB Group

  • #2
    There is a freisian at our barn with anhidrosis. He gets one guiness with his grain, every two or three days. It works out to be the consistency of a bran mash.


    • Original Poster

      Does it make him sweat?
      Fresh, Frozen & ISO Warmblood Breedings FB Group


      • #4
        The better question would be "why". Ethanol is toxic and has no proven benefits to the health of man or beast. No proof whatsoever that it helps with anhidrosis, a condition that can wax and wane and thereby seem to respond (or not) to whatever remedy.
        Click here before you buy.


        • #5
          Originally posted by deltawave View Post
          The better question would be "why". Ethanol is toxic and has no proven benefits to the health of man or beast. No proof whatsoever that it helps with anhidrosis, a condition that can wax and wane and thereby seem to respond (or not) to whatever remedy.
          DW you are SUCH a scientist!! Thank you for keeping us all on the straight and narrow.
          Proud and achy member of the Eventing Grannies clique.


          • #6
            FWIW (and I know little about the science behind this "treatment"), the old school steeplechase trainer that I used to work for gave a six pack of guinness (never another beer and I think it had to do with the yeast and digestion?) in his grain 1x per week.

            I would not do this without consulting your vet or a trainer that can explain it REALLY well to you and who has a reason for why it would benefit YOUR horse.

            Best of luck.
            "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals" Immanuel Kant


            • #7
              AH my horse was a steeplechase horse in Ireland and was raised with Guinness. I was told it had something to do with blood thinning and adding calories.


              • #8
                Only as much as will not get him pulled over for a breathalizer test from a state cop!
                "Oh, sure, you may be able to take down one smurf, but mark my words: You bonk one smurf, you better be ready for a blue wave."---Bucky Katt


                • #9
                  Ethanol, ounce for ounce, is certainly very calorie-rich, but there are so few calories in a beer as opposed to something else, it's not even close to being worth it. And it does not thin the blood in any way, shape, or form. More wives' tales that survive because they have the appeal of being vaguely Irish, old-fashioned, and in possession of some sort of patina of "tradition". Bah! Humbug.
                  Click here before you buy.


                  • #10
                    Jack likes a bottle of Guiness now and then in his feed, but he is Irish born and bred - well ISH.

                    Living near a town which used to have many breweries, some of the locals used to feed the "malts" - the left over grain from the brewing process. Never tried it myself.

                    Now we are down to just one Brewery - Coors - who took over Bass. I doubt anyone even bothers to go and ask for the malts. You used to be be able to go and fill a 50 litre dairy barrel for nowt.

                    Some swore by it for condition.

                    "Chaos, panic and disorder. My work here is done"

                    ~Member of the "Addicted to Lessons" clique~


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by deltawave View Post
                      Ethanol, ounce for ounce, is certainly very calorie-rich, but there are so few calories in a beer as opposed to something else, it's not even close to being worth it. And it does not thin the blood in any way, shape, or form. More wives' tales that survive because they have the appeal of being vaguely Irish, old-fashioned, and in possession of some sort of patina of "tradition". Bah! Humbug.
                      Delta, as far as I know there have been no studies conducted on how/why Guinness might work, but it's not unheard of around the racetrack. The champion mare Pebbles raced on, I believe, a pint per day. The thought being that the darker, less refined beers have higher concentration of vitamins. Since there is/was always Guinness around the yards in Ireland, it was an easy additive and most horses find it quite palatable.

                      ETA - I couldn't remember which recent filly was a Guinness drinker, so I looked it up and it was Forever Together, owned by George Strawbridge and trained by Jonathan Sheppard. She won the 2008 Breeders' Cup F&M Turf and has earned just under $3million.

                      Here's a link to the story.

                      Last edited by Las Olas; May. 31, 2010, 03:35 PM.


                      • #12
                        Another reason to ask questions: There are lots of good supplements out there made for specific purposes that may not have existed when the whole "guinness on the grain" thing began. Guinness is also expensive when compared to many modern day supplements so one might be fiscally prudent to try to find the same desired effect through a specifically formulated dietary supplement.

                        Delta: I agree that this "tradition" is strongly based on lore and romanticism. However, much horsemanship (especially in the racing world) still is founded on these things.
                        "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals" Immanuel Kant


                        • #13
                          Beer n Broodmares

                          I feed rich dark beer any brand on sale to my broodmares. If they are low on milk quantity.
                          Swear by it, have seen it work.
                          Any horse who comes in with a poor appetite and low in weight gets dark beer.
                          Even on a calorie rich diet sometimes they just need a little extra boost to their appetite.


                          • #14
                            My donkey likes a bottle every once in a while. He actually takes the bottle, ever so gingerly with his teeth and you just help him tip it up.

                            It scared me at first that he was going to bite the glass too hard but he came from a family of drinkers (our old neighbors) so I think they taught him well..

                            He does, however, sweat and stay fat so the beer drinking is purely for our entertainment.


                            • #15
                              Last summer our 2 yr old was not sweating I put him on one AC with no change then tried the Let-M-Sweat still no luck once I added the Gunniness in a week he was sweating....could be the other finally kicked in but was really relieved to see the sweat no matter what did it! One of our dogs loves beer also, if someone spills one it is a race to get it cleaned up before the dog gets to it.


                              • #16
                                For what it is worth:
                                Guiness made special sized bottles for the maternity ward in Dublin and no doubt other Irish hospitals for the nursing mothers. This was to resupply "iron and vitamins" lost during labor. As told to me by a former brew master of the Guiness in Dublin.
                                Many folks in the UK dampen the feed with beer (usually Guiness) about once a week to maintain appetite and 'their coat'. The only horse receiving beer on the yard did look have a better coat than the rest. . .
                                Around 1994 a vet in GA suggested a friend give their horse beer when the horse went completely off his feed. After a 6-pack of Bud (1 per day) the horse vastly improved and lived many more years. Not to mention he wanted at least another 6-pack
                                I have known many horses who love the taste of beer and will do almost anything for it. My old girl who is normally very picky about food 'licks the bowl' when I put beer on her food.

                                Of course one can use a "non-acoholic" beer, because most horses like the taste of the beer - not the 'buzz'
                                "Never do anything that you have to explain twice to the paramedics."
                                Courtesy my cousin Tim


                                • #17
                                  I never could find any "real" research that proved that it worked to help with a non-sweater, but as I messed around with treating Buzz for anhydrosis, I used it, as my vet suggested it.

                                  Buzz had terrible allergies -- mostly to Bahia grass, which all pastures here are loaded with -- and every May we put him on an antihistimine.

                                  He would shut down and stop sweating after a day or two of the meds. I collected data and actually had it informally reviewed at one point and there is something in the antihistimines that has an adverse affect on the hypothalmus, which is where the horses thermoregulation system is located.

                                  Now, not every horse totally shuts down and some are worse than others (I cannot find my information on the cases studies I gathered several years ago -- dang computer crash!) but I found that if I started Buzz on several sweating treatments a couple of days prior to starting the meds, he would have reduced sweating, but wouldn't shut down all together.

                                  So, what "worked" for us was One AC, a supplement called "Pro-Sweat", and a beer a day.

                                  He got Amber Bock (he hated Guinness -- go figure) in a mash at bedtime every night during the summer.

                                  The only problem I ever had with it was when I dropped him off at his trainer's with a 12 pack, and had him run out much sooner than expected. Cough*Ralph*Cough would never have gotten into it, of course, but either Buzz was entertaining all his stall buddies at night, or something!

                                  Buzz LOVED Amber Bock. The vet had one of his beers one afternoon when he stopped by to check Buzz on his way home, and Buzz was quite offended. He walked over and attempted to take it away from him.

                                  Oh, fwiw, any of the light or really cheap beers? Wouldn't touch it.

                                  He was a very strange horse.

                                  Libby (and I still miss him terribly!)
                                  I have Higher Standards ...do you? Find us on FB!
                                  Higher Standards Custom Leather Care -- Handcrafted Saddle Soap


                                  • #18
                                    Well, who needs facts when we have romanticism? Iron and vitamins in beer, puh-leeze. If the horse enjoys it, cheers--call it a treat. But let's not confuse 18th century folklore with modern day knowledge. Each has its place, one is vastly more colorful than the other, but they ain't the same thing. My cat loves beer.
                                    Click here before you buy.


                                    • #19
                                      Ok, Dr. Delta, found this bit that includes research from the Kings College London and University of Wisconsin. There are apparently some vitamins/minerals, but the amounts appear negligible. I'd be interested to now how much silicon it contains.

                                      The UW study at the bottom might be of interest. Seems like they're reaching, but you're in a better position to judge those claims.

                                      I have no idea if there is any actual benefit (re anhidrosis or otherwise), and like you, I'm inclined to think no. However, most horses do love the taste and if it would help put a picky eater back in his tub, then I'd use it.

                                      In limited amounts, it may have some nutritional benefit. Researchers at King's College London found that a glass of beer a day is one of the best ways to ensure strong and healthy bones because it is one of the richest sources of the mineral silicon. It is also a good source of the B vitamin folate: adults need 200mcg a day, though women of child-bearing age need 400mcg. A pint of beer provides 68mcg.

                                      Beer also contains boron, another trace mineral needed to maintain healthy bones. And a pint supplies a tenth of the recommended daily allowance of niacin, which is needed to help release energy from food. The concept of a 'beer belly' is in some ways a misnomer.

                                      While beer contains plenty of calories, it is the fact that it is an appetite stimulant — increasing the desire to eat - which really piles on the pounds. And beer also contains purines, which increase the level of uric acid in the joints, leading to gout.

                                      ABV: 3.5 per centCalories:
                                      170 per pint

                                      It was once promoted as a healthy form of alcohol and given to patients after operations, pregnant women and blood donors because it was thought to be high in iron and so prevent anaemia. However, Guinness contains only 1.1mg of iron per pint: the recommended daily allowance for women is 14mg, with 8.7mg for men. A better source of iron is lean red meat.

                                      Researchers at the University of Wisconsin found that a daily pint of Guinness with a meal reduced heart clots and reduced the risk of cardiac attacks. This is because it contains antioxidants - similar to those found in fruit and vegetables - which slow down the deposit of cholesterol on the artery walls.


                                      • #20
                                        Is it possible that while it has no nutritional value, the horses that consistently consume beer on their feed are more consistently eating and drinking (I know beer makes me MORE thirsty lol) so their condition is better?

                                        On the lactating mares....when I had my now 10 month old last year, my mom came out to help me with him. The day we got home from the hospital, my mom brought me 1/2 a glass of my favorite wine and the baby to nurse. When I protested the wine, she said if I didn't relax a little none of us would get any sleep. Worked like a charm.
                                        Equestrian Photography