Over the past five years, vet Stephen Ashdown has written many articles, spoken on equine matters and contributed widely to horse magazines.

Here he reproduces in the form of questions and answers about 100 topics, all of them common problems which afflict horses.

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Wild at Heart
(Garlic-The root and bulbs are the most beneficial parts of the garlic plant!)
Q: Please can you advise me on the use of wild garlic? My hedgerows are full of it, but the horses grazing in the field never touch the stuff.

A: Wild garlic gives off a very similar smell and contains similar plant chemical to the normal garlic that we use in cooking and to feed out horses. However the most beneficial parts of the plant are in the root and this part of wild garlic is very small compared with that of commercially - grown garlic. Your horses are not attracted to eating the leaf parts of the plant, probably because there is no really benefit in eating this part.

Normally, horses know what plants are best for them to eat, and it is only imbalances in diet or lack of suitable forage that forces them to eat abnormally. Garlic can be very useful in horses for skin conditions, keeping off flies and to aid breathing.

Use an everyday commercial brand if you would like to try it, or crush your own fresh bulbs, which is even better. Fresh garlic is the only form of garlic, which has strong anti-bacterial action for gut, skin and chest problems.

If your question has not been covered adequately in the Vet Advice Topic Section, please feel free to start a thread in the Forum, and - time permitting - Stephen will endeavour to answer your question.