There is a lot of magic and passion being with horses and I must say I am very lucky to be in St. Vincent and my journey with a wild herd of horses was magical from the very beginning. After the rescuing the wild herd in 2007, I built fences around big areas on the farm for the horses in a variety of terrain. I made sure to add some great views to the pastures so I could overlook the ocean and the lush green mountains while spending hours studying the horses. There was so much to learn in understanding the language of the horse and the different interactions between the herd members. I studied the roles of the lead horse, the dominant horses and the submissive horse, also how some of the roles sometimes changed. The horses were mostly eating grass, bushes and fruits until I decided to start some of the horses under saddle. At this time the dry season had come and there was not much nutrition in the dry grass. To carry a rider and do a bit of training every day, more food was needed. I found out where to buy animal feed and went to East Caribbean Feeds to buy some grain. I didn’t really think about where the grain came from and how it was produced. They sold the grain by the sack of 20lbs and even had a variety called “Horse Pellets”. The pellets did not look very exciting and had no smell, but nevertheless my horses happily ate them. So during the dry seasons and times with less grass we added grains to the feed. Last fall we started to ride Jack and Darling and get Spirit and Magic ready for riding. We discussed the horses’ diet with our new riding trainer Gabriel and decided to give grain and feed the horses 4 small portions a day. We added more fruits to the diet and made a good system for moving the horses between pastures to ensure enough grass. The feeding system has to be different for “working” horses. Our Academy in St. Vincent is a model Center of sustainability in our small island nation. We harvest rainwater, grow organic vegetables with Permaculture design, raise our own animals, make yoghurt, bake bread, produce jam, pick eggs, grow herbs and use renewable energy. People come from all over the island to study at our model center. We also started to rethink how we could produce our own animal feed and buy less imported food. The animal food we buy consist of a big portion corn and soy along with a few other ingredients. 90% of all soy and 85% of all corn that humans and animals are eating have GMO’s.
What are GMOs? GMOs (or “genetically modified organisms”) are living organisms whose genetic material has been artificially manipulated in a laboratory through genetic engineering, or GE. This relatively new science creates unstable combinations of plant, animal, bacteria and viral genes that do not occur in nature or through traditional crossbreeding methods. Virtually all commercial GMOs are engineered to withstand direct application of herbicide and/or to produce an insecticide. Despite biotech industry promises, none of the GMO traits currently on the market offer increased yield, drought tolerance, enhanced nutrition, or any other consumer benefit. Growing evidence connects GMOs with health problems, environmental damage and violation of farmers’ and consumers’ rights. Soy and corn were Genetically Modified twenty years ago and it is no coincidence that during this time the US population has suffered a 400% increase in allergies and a 300% increase in asthma and a 400% increase in attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), 1500% increase in other a autism spectrum disorders. Food related illness doubled between 1994 and 2001. Looking into Moringa Olifera as a solution to replace Horse Pellets When I worked in Africa we used Moringa to help people with HIV improve their immunity system. Moringa is perhaps the most nutrient dense single food source on the planet. It outperforms many of the classic sources of vitamins and minerals such as 25 times the amount of iron as spinach or seven times the amount of vitamin C as oranges. It is also has a lot of vitamin A (more than carrots), several B vitamins (more than peanuts), calcium (more than milk), protein (more than yogurt), and potassium (more than bananas).
The list of medicinal qualities is also amazing, helping with all sorts of things, from skin ailments to headaches to intestinal worms to ulcers, tumors, diabetes, malaria, and on and on and on. These medicinal properties are not only from indigenous sources, but have also been proven and expanded by scientific research. The miracle tree contains upwards of 46 different antioxidants, 36 anti-inflammatories, and 90 nutrients. So we decided to find a way to grow organic and local animal feed and spread the message of the miracles of moringa. Around the island we went and searched for trees, found some, harvested the pods and set the tree seedlings. We planted five hundred at our center and thousands of trees around the whole island to enhance nutrition and promote the importance of trees. Even the Premier Minister of St. Vincent Hon. Ralph Gonsalves came up to me and said he was drinking Moringa Tea and the TV came too!
When working student Tanya from California arrived last month we started to harvest moringa leaves, mixed them with fruits and introduce them to the horses. The Moringa tree grows mainly in tropical and sub-tropical areas. It grows best between 25 and 35 C (77 to 95 F) in the shade and can survive a light frost. In the USA it can only grow outdoors and possibly year-round in places like the southern parts of Florida, Arizona, California and Texas. One month have passed and it’s a bit early to say if there is a difference, but I think I can notice after this month is a bit more shiny coat on two of the horses. Hope you enjoyed this article, it was very interesting to write it and a bit different than the others I have written. I will keep blogging on the moringa adventure. Warmly Stina