Despite misconceptions about hemp, an increasing number of horse owners are finding that the plant’s nutritional properties reduce inflammation and increase the overall well-being of their animals (all warm-blooded animals can benefit). “Hemp is emphatically not a drug. It is a natural product that is absolutely safe with no side effects,” says Lana Tatarliov, who has launched Hemp for Horses.
Although illegal to grow in the United States, the strictly regulated Canadian hemp can be imported to the U.S. “Commercial hemp is tracked, inspected and tested from certified seeds through harvesting to ensure that it contains less than 0.3 percent of the psychoactive agent THC,” says Tatarliov. Tatarliov, an organic farmer who raises beef cattle and Egyptian Arabian horses in Saskatchewan, was inspired when two farmers contacted her to market their human hemp product to horse owners as a holistic approach to better equine health. After seeing the positive results of feeding hemp to her own horses and doing her own research, Tatarliov was convinced that she had a nutritional powerhouse on her hands. In fact, it has been called by some the most nutritionally complete food source in the world.
Tatarliov enumerates the many nutritional qualities of hemp, which include essential amino acids, essential fatty acids, flavonoids, cannabinoids, and terpenoids. “Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, while essential fatty acids are important for the development of the brain, eyes, and nervous system,” she says. “Flavonoids are powerful antioxidants, cannabinoids have anti-inflammatory properties, and terpenoids have both, as well as antimicrobial properties.” In addition, hemp protein consists of edistin and albumin both commonly thought to be the most easily digestible protein.
While most human hemp food products use only the hemp-seed, Hemp for Horses uses the entire plant harvested at its nutritional peak. It is 100% hemp, with no additives. “We feel that the benefits are greater using the whole plant because there are important compounds in the leaves that are not in the hemp-seed. These compounds provide horses with a number of potential benefits,” Tatarliov says.
Tatarliov has solicited owners of several sanctuaries for abused and neglected horses to try the product on their most severe cases of arthritis, joint ailments, inflammation, intestinal conditions, founder, and hard keepers. The results have been astounding with horses regaining their mobility, hard keepers maintaining weight, and attitudes significantly improving with the decrease of pain. Concluded Tatarliov, “Although this is not a clinical trial per se, we’re confident that it will provide owners with the information they need to begin supplementing their horses’ diets with hemp.”