• Welcome to the Chronicle Forums.
    Please complete your profile. The forums and the rest of www.chronofhorse.com has single sign-in, so your log in information for one will automatically work for the other. Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are the views of the individual and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of The Chronicle of the Horse.



Forum rules and no-advertising policy

As a participant on this forum, it is your responsibility to know and follow our rules. Please read this message in its entirety.

Board Rules

1. You’re responsible for what you say.
As outlined in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, The Chronicle of the Horse and its affiliates, as well Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd., the developers of vBulletin, are not legally responsible for statements made in the forums.

This is a public forum viewed by a wide spectrum of people, so please be mindful of what you say and who might be reading it—details of personal disputes are likely better handled privately. While posters are legally responsible for their statements, the moderators may in their discretion remove or edit posts that violate these rules. Users have the ability to modify or delete their own messages after posting, but administrators generally will not delete posts, threads or accounts upon request.

Outright inflammatory, vulgar, harassing, malicious or otherwise inappropriate statements and criminal charges unsubstantiated by a reputable news source or legal documentation will not be tolerated and will be dealt with at the discretion of the moderators.

2. Conversations in horse-related forums should be horse-related.
The forums are a wonderful source of information and support for members of the horse community. While it’s understandably tempting to share information or search for input on other topics upon which members might have a similar level of knowledge, members must maintain the focus on horses.

3. Keep conversations productive, on topic and civil.
Discussion and disagreement are inevitable and encouraged; personal insults, diatribes and sniping comments are unproductive and unacceptable. Whether a subject is light-hearted or serious, keep posts focused on the current topic and of general interest to other participants of that thread. Utilize the private message feature or personal email where appropriate to address side topics or personal issues not related to the topic at large.

4. No advertising in the discussion forums.
Posts in the discussion forums directly or indirectly advertising horses, jobs, items or services for sale or wanted will be removed at the discretion of the moderators. Use of the private messaging feature or email addresses obtained through users’ profiles for unsolicited advertising is not permitted.

Company representatives may participate in discussions and answer questions about their products or services, or suggest their products on recent threads if they fulfill the criteria of a query. False "testimonials" provided by company affiliates posing as general consumers are not appropriate, and self-promotion of sales, ad campaigns, etc. through the discussion forums is not allowed.

Paid advertising is available on our classifieds site and through the purchase of banner ads. The tightly monitored Giveaways forum permits free listings of genuinely free horses and items available or wanted (on a limited basis). Items offered for trade are not allowed.

Advertising Policy Specifics
When in doubt of whether something you want to post constitutes advertising, please contact a moderator privately in advance for further clarification. Refer to the following points for general guidelines:

Horses – Only general discussion about the buying, leasing, selling and pricing of horses is permitted. If the post contains, or links to, the type of specific information typically found in a sales or wanted ad, and it’s related to a horse for sale, regardless of who’s selling it, it doesn’t belong in the discussion forums.

Stallions – Board members may ask for suggestions on breeding stallion recommendations. Stallion owners may reply to such queries by suggesting their own stallions, only if their horse fits the specific criteria of the original poster. Excessive promotion of a stallion by its owner or related parties is not permitted and will be addressed at the discretion of the moderators.

Services – Members may use the forums to ask for general recommendations of trainers, barns, shippers, farriers, etc., and other members may answer those requests by suggesting themselves or their company, if their services fulfill the specific criteria of the original post. Members may not solicit other members for business if it is not in response to a direct, genuine query.

Products – While members may ask for general opinions and suggestions on equipment, trailers, trucks, etc., they may not list the specific attributes for which they are in the market, as such posts serve as wanted ads.

Event Announcements – Members may post one notification of an upcoming event that may be of interest to fellow members, if the original poster does not benefit financially from the event. Such threads may not be “bumped” excessively. Premium members may post their own notices in the Event Announcements forum.

Charities/Rescues – Announcements for charitable or fundraising events can only be made for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations. Special exceptions may be made, at the moderators’ discretion and direction, for board-related events or fundraising activities in extraordinary circumstances.

Occasional posts regarding horses available for adoption through IRS-registered horse rescue or placement programs are permitted in the appropriate forums, but these threads may be limited at the discretion of the moderators. Individuals may not advertise or make announcements for horses in need of rescue, placement or adoption unless the horse is available through a recognized rescue or placement agency or government-run entity or the thread fits the criteria for and is located in the Giveaways forum.

5. Do not post copyrighted photographs unless you have purchased that photo and have permission to do so.

6. Respect other members.
As members are often passionate about their beliefs and intentions can easily be misinterpreted in this type of environment, try to explore or resolve the inevitable disagreements that arise in the course of threads calmly and rationally.

If you see a post that you feel violates the rules of the board, please click the “alert” button (exclamation point inside of a triangle) in the bottom left corner of the post, which will alert ONLY the moderators to the post in question. They will then take whatever action, or no action, as deemed appropriate for the situation at their discretion. Do not air grievances regarding other posters or the moderators in the discussion forums.

Please be advised that adding another user to your “Ignore” list via your User Control Panel can be a useful tactic, which blocks posts and private messages by members whose commentary you’d rather avoid reading.

7. We have the right to reproduce statements made in the forums.
The Chronicle of the Horse may copy, quote, link to or otherwise reproduce posts, or portions of posts, in print or online for advertising or editorial purposes, if attributed to their original authors, and by posting in this forum, you hereby grant to The Chronicle of the Horse a perpetual, non-exclusive license under copyright and other rights, to do so.

8. We reserve the right to enforce and amend the rules.
The moderators may delete, edit, move or close any post or thread at any time, or refrain from doing any of the foregoing, in their discretion, and may suspend or revoke a user’s membership privileges at any time to maintain adherence to the rules and the general spirit of the forum. These rules may be amended at any time to address the current needs of the board.

Please see our full Terms of Service and Privacy Policy for more information.

Thanks for being a part of the COTH forums!

(Revised 1/26/16)
See more
See less

Horses Eating Dirt

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Horses Eating Dirt

    I have a spot in my corral where I will catch my horses eating a mouthful of dirt. They are feed a quality feed (TC), quality hay, a daily multivitamin, a mg supplement and Equishure or Smart Digest Ultra (depending on the horse). Any ideas why? It is one specific area but it just looks like dirt to me.

  • #2
    Boredom? I had a TB gelding that would turn around and eat every fresh pile of poo he dropped, but only on the days he wasn't being ridden. I knew another that would down a bucket full of water as soon as it was filled. Both were bored as they could be


    • #3
      Mine will do that too, occasionally. She'll bite at the ground (clay). She is on a good feed (TC Senior), free choice hay, a regular deworming program, and has no health problems that I know of. A few years ago I had a blood panel made on her, and nothing was amiss . She also likes to eat dead oak leaves, she'll look for them outside.
      Ottbs - The finish line is only the beginning!


      • #4
        One of mine will occasionally do this if she happens to be in a new place with--presumably--a new flavor of dirt. She will scrape up a little and then never bother with it again. None of my others ever does that I've witnessed.

        This same mare LOVES the taste of bleach and will come running when I clean the auto-waterer to slurp bleach-y mud off the ground. Even if I chase her off she just waits until I leave and licks the ground where the (diluted) bleach-water was thrown.

        I figure it's simply something where she likes the taste.

        I'm pretty sure it's been reasonably well shown that sodium is the only mineral horses can consciously seek out if they are deficient.

        As long as it's infrequent and the spot is not full of sand I probably wouldn't sweat it.
        Click here before you buy.


        • #5
          I believe my horse does this after periouds of stress when he doesn't eat hay well.

          I believe it aggravates ulcers and he tries to "soothe" them by eating clay dirt.

          Yesterday, because he had to stay in I caught him eating mouthfuls of sawdust.

          Even though he has hay 24/7.
          *Member of the Quality Free-Choice Hay/Pasture Feeders Society* Member of the As Much Turnout as Possible Group* FEED by WEIGHT not VOLUME*


          • #6
            Mine have all done that occasionally. I just figure they are weird.


            • #7
              We had a horse years ago who did that only in KY. We are from up north ( eastern township of Quebec) and the horse had digestive problems even if he evented successfully for some years. This was way before there was any talk of ulcers in horses, IMO he had a bad case of them. But when ever we took him to KY either for lay over or for competing when hand grazing he would allways pull the grass and eat the dirt.
              I expect there was something in the dirt down there that soothed his stomac or intestines.
              Sweet horse he was.


              • #8
                they have a deficency in a mineral noramlly salt content as they are seeking the salt from the earth


                • #9
                  Originally posted by goeslikestink View Post
                  they have a deficency in a mineral noramlly salt content as they are seeking the salt from the earth
                  I was told it was a mineral deficiency as well by a trainer. Does your horse have a salt block in his/her stall? Also if his diet (hay/grain) isn't giving him all the minerals he needs, you could look into adding a supplement into his diet.


                  • Original Poster

                    Thanks All! maybe they aren't quite as weird as I thought. They do have salt in each stall but there could be some other mineral they are lacking.

                    I have the vet out later this month for vaccinations and teeth. I think I may run a blood panel just out of curiosity.


                    • #11
                      As I mentioned above, there are some studies out there showing that horses DO NOT and CANNOT self-select what minerals to eat if they are deficient, the exception being sodium.
                      Click here before you buy.


                      • #12
                        Mine are on a ration balancer, with a salt block and often a mineral block as well, so I seriously doubt that is the issue. It sounds reasonable, of course, but the circumstances don't back that up.


                        • #13
                          One of mine loves to lick and eat the dirt around creeks and ponds. I think it's just something different and probably does have extra minerals and lots of flavor.

                          He doesn't have access to a mineral block because he just eats it in chunks and they are gone in a few days. He's also picky about his grass, he only selects the best sprouts and just sniffs and passes on the rest.

                          Some horses are just 'foodies' I think.


                          • #14
                            I have a few days off for flu/ Easter and just realized my pony is doing this. Took him yesterday to a friend's yard which has some of the last dry grass left in Deschapelles. He went straight to a bare patch, pawed the ground to dust, and slurped it up. Then came to greet everyone with his muddy mouth . The soils are all clay so if he can only detect sodium, I'm not sure why he'd go for that. No sign of ulcers that I can tell, though his diet if anything is deficient in calcium right the moment. Our dirt is almost all calcium carbonate so I figure if he stays away from poop piles, it shouldn't do him in. He gets free choice water and loose salt mixed with his twice a day feed. Otherwise the loose salt turns to brine, even in the dry season. I'm upping the salt in his food, just in case.
                            HAS provides hospital care to 340,000 people in Haiti's Artibonite Valley 24/7/365/earthquake/cholera/whatever.
                            www.hashaiti.org blog:http://hashaiti.org/blog


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by HorsesinHaiti View Post
                              The soils are all clay so if he can only detect sodium, I'm not sure why he'd go for that.
                              search 'sodic soil'. Sodic = high in sodium. Fairly common in clay soils, where the high capillary action sucks up salts from lower layers as they dry out.
                              Are you feeding your horse like a cow? www.safergrass.org


                              • #16
                                I had a TB gelding that would do this, in each paddock he lived in he would find a low spot of rich black clay type soil and although I never saw him do it, he would over time lick/chew the soil into a perfectly shaped bowl of about 14" in diameter. I only figured out what was creating the "bowl" after I moved him to a different stall/paddock!

                                He was well fed and supplemented, and in much higher spirits here at my farm than when he came to me. Of course he had a salt block in his stall with 24/7 access to a paddock as well.

                                I agree some of them are "foodies". Personally, I prefer salt from Omaha over regular table salt or other fancy Himalyan varieties. I'm sure they have select taste buds as well.


                                • #17
                                  The only horse of ours who ever did that was in the bouts of a serious gastric upset due to an allergy to corn. She was hospitalized and they had to keep her on pavement at the hospital because she would try and eat dirt. After the gastritis cleared up, so did her temptation to "self medicate" with dirt.


                                  • #18
                                    I've been mystified for years by my mare's odd fixation with black soil found in year-round wetland areas, with lots of oak leaves that, presumably, have composted into the black soil.

                                    Today, in fact, on my first ride back in Natchaug forest, my mare decided to take a side trail and, as I expected, she took this longer route in order to get to a patch of ground she remembered from past rides. She dove in, trying to get mouthfuls of the black soil. She wants to eat this sort of soil whenever we come across it. There has GOT to be something in it she's missing in her diet, even with getting Accel and free-choice "Rush Creek minerals" (which she devours as soon as I put them out for her ... but don't seem to make a difference in her fixation on that mucky, yucky black soil!)


                                    • #19
                                      Since I was home today, I put out extra salt in Hoover's feed bucket. He ignored it for awhile, but by dinnertime the extra was gone. I'll come up with a salt container and put extra out each evening until I find out how much he'll eat in a day, and we'll see how that goes.
                                      HAS provides hospital care to 340,000 people in Haiti's Artibonite Valley 24/7/365/earthquake/cholera/whatever.
                                      www.hashaiti.org blog:http://hashaiti.org/blog


                                      • #20
                                        Minerals the dirt has that they are seeking