Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Chastetree Berry - What is it and why do I feed it to my horses?

AareneX asked in a comment about chastetree berry and why I feed it to my horses. :) SO I thought perhaps an entire post should be dedicated to it.


Back in early 2000, my mare Sparky was diagnosed with Cushing's disease. I did not want to put her on Pergolide, so I asked my vet about other alternatives. He recommended Evitex (which was then called Hormonise). I purchased it through Emerald Valley and loved the product (I still buy Wind for Dreamy's COPD). It really helped lessen Sparky's symptoms and she ate the Evitex on her evening grain with no problem. Basically it is an aqueous infusion of the chastetree berry.

Chastetree berry restores balance and function to the female reproductive system by stimulating the natural production of progesterone. It also acts upon the pituitary gland, reducing the production of certain hormones and increasing the production of others, which is why it is recommended for Cushing's horses.

When I decided to become a stay at home mom, we looked into ways to save money. The Evitex ran about $60 a month, so I looked around for a cheaper, but still effective, alternative. I found out that chastetree berry can be bought and fed as a whole dried berry. I did some research and found a site called More Than Alive where I could buy it in bulk. I keep it in the refrigerator and only bring about one pound of it out to the feed room in an airtight Ziploc plastic container.

I grind 3 teaspoons of the chastetree berries in a coffee grinder (just used for this purpose!) and put it on top of her evening grain. Sparky is roughly 1000 lbs., so depending on the weight of the horse, I would adjust the amount of chastetree berries accordingly. I use approx. a pound a month (30 days).

There is a website of a woman who has done this with great success for her horses. This is how I first decided to try it. So far so good. Sparky looks great and eats the chastetree berries with no problem.

So if it is good for Cushing's, why do I feed it to Dreamy and will also feed it to Reva? Well, I noticed last year that Dreamy was starting to have temper tantrums under saddle. The worst ones started to fall about once a month. Now with two mares (at the time) I never really noticed their heat cycles. But it was obvious by reading my blog that Dreamy was really touchy under saddle once a month, poor girl. So I decided to try it for her heats. I have found that she is MUCH easier to ride during her heats now that I have had her on it for a while.

And because Reva had such a glaring heat when she arrived and was so touchy on her flanks, I think she will benefit from it as well. I was also told she is did not train as well when in heat.

The cool thing is that chasetree berry is NOT banned or forbidden by the USEF, which means I can use it while I compete at rated shows. It is cost effective, the horses eat it, and it is easy to feed. I love the product and recommend it to anyone! :)

1 comment:

  1. thank you for the info I have a 25 year old mare that has been on a combvent inhaler since 2004 and now
    showing signs of cushings(curlly hair and not shedding completely and I read about the berry but was concerned about whether there would be any interaction with her inhaler

    ReplyDelete

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