EM and the care of horses

EM stands for “Effective Micro-organisms” and is a liquid culture of  micro- organisms from 5 major microbe groups. It was developed in Japan in the seventies and is now being used in many countries. The microorganisms in EM are taken from natural sources and are not genetically modified. They are primarily organisms which are traditionally used for fermentation of human food. EM has never been found harmful to plants, animals or humans, is safe for the environment and is harmless if accidentally ingested.

Originally developed for higher horticultural productivity, the use of EM has been extended from agriculture to animal husbandry, aquaculture, general waste management, environmental regeneration, technical and medical applications.

Horse care with effective microorganisms

Healthy Horses by Ernst Hammes

EM use in the care of horses is reported to make the animals more disease and stress resistant, e.g. to changes of weather and temperature, to improve their general health, to improve their coat, to decrease requirements for compound feed (and expenses), to decrease unpleasant odour, to eliminate tics and to reduce fly nuisance. EM use also adds to the value of the excrements as compost and liquid fertiliser. It goes without saying that the use of EM is complementary to appropriate care of animals and does not invalidate other knowledge and skills in the care of the animals. The book “Healthy Horses” written by Ernest Hammes deals with testimonials of many horse owners of their experiences with using EM in their horse care regime.

EM treatment of the stables
Activated EM solution should be used in a dilution with water (1:10 up to 1:100) to wash floors, walls and ceilings of stables and anything that comes into contact with the horses, troughs, harnesses etc. If the floor consists of sand, activated EM solution can also be sprayed over the sand. Open stables will also benefit from a spray of activated EM (diluted 1:1,000) every few months.

Daily EM applications in the stables will control bad odours, flies, tics, and, to some extent, fungal and other diseases which are being transmitted via soil or floors. EM use takes away factors which are stressful for the horses and it helps in preventing diseases. EM applications on leather equipment help in preventing fungal growth on the equipment which would occur under high humidity conditions and when little used.

EM for washing the animals
Whenever the horses are getting a wash or a bath, activated EM should be added in the last rinse of the animal, at a dilution of 1:100. After this EM rinse, further washing should be avoided. This helps in keeping flies and tics away and is preventive measure minimising cross infection of disease
causing pathogens. For the control of tics, the use of EM5 is strongly recommended as it has proven to be more efficient than chemical acaricides.

EM in food and drink
EM activated should be added to the horses drinking water in a concentration of 0.1% (1 : 1.000), either by continuously adding it ( via a drip dosatron system) or to the general drinking water supply of the horses, by adding it to buckets or troughs when needed. In horses accustomed to EM, an additional dose of 10 to 20 ml activated EM given via the mouth of the animal, may be administered on a daily base. Whenever hay or straw is given as fodder, this may be sprayed with the same highly diluted EM solution.

The odours of urine and dung under EM care are said to be less offensive.
(The dung from horses treated with EM has a higher nutritive and fertiliser value for the soil and can be utilised for horticultural and agricultural purposes.)

EM in veterinary care
For the care of wounds: gauze for cleaning and dressings for wounds can be soaked in undiluted EM. Even wounds from bites or tics which would normally require surgical care and attention from several qualified people, may be washed three times daily with EM solution. In the second week: twice daily, and later once daily. It may be possible to avoid antibiotics. Bleeding will stop fast, inflammatory swellings will be minimised, pus formation and growth of wild tissue can be avoided, healing is improved and leaves fine healthy scars. During such a treatment, the animal will be allowed its usual activity and movement.

In the case of treating infected wounds or wounds covered with crust and dirt even when already malodorous, a paste made from a seed oil (olive oil, sesame oil) and from EM stock solution (also along with EM-X ceramics powder, can be applied daily. In the case of hoof ulcers (due to foreign bodies) which have to be opened surgically, activated EM solution should be flushed into the ulcer cavity, and an EM-soaked wick introduced. This should be repeated at least every second day.

In periods of intensive wound care or ulcer treatment, when the danger of infection and fever are to be avoided, the daily doses of EM activated should be doubled. In cases of suspicious changes in the appearance of the coat, it is recommended to massage the affected area with a sponge soaked in undiluted EM activated solution. This will help to relax and soothe the animal, control fly nuisance and prevent infections. In the case of sore gums and mouth, undiluted EM may be applied with the help of cotton swabs. Eye irritations and inflammations should be controlled at an early stage by washing with a lukewarm mixture of activated EM and water of 1:1. this also helps to control fly nuisance. As horses are strongly dependent on their eyesight, early treatment of eye problems will reduce stress significantly.

An experienced horse keeper in Germany working with EM for several years is fully convinced of the benefits exerted by EM on the general microbial environment of stables, corrals and horses.