EM and Horses

EM stands for “Effective Micro-organisms” and is a liquid culture of about one hundred micro- organisms from five (5) major microbe groups. It was developed in Japan in the seventies and is now being used in more than eighty countries. The micro-organisms 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, and is safe for the environment. It 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 and technical and medical applications.

Thorough experience in the use of EM for cattle husbandry, poultry farming, piggeries, fisheries, shrimp farming etc. has been gathered, but to our knowledge there is no systematic documentation of EM use in the care of horses published.

This summary is based on experiences gained in the field of equine with EM colleagues across the world. A book called “Healthy Horses & EM “written by Ernest Hammes has been published containing testimonials of many horse owners of their experiences with using EM in their horse care regime.

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. 

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. In cases of sick animals in need of disinfection measures on their environment, EM can very well replace the use of biocidal applications such as disinfectants.

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.

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.

EM activated should be added to the horses drinking water by adding it to buckets or troughs when needed. Whenever hay or straw is given as fodder, this may be sprayed with the same  EM solution.

EM can be used for the care of wounds in horses 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, possible tranquilisation, 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.