Volume III, No. 2, Winter 1975


Compiled by Kathy Hawk

In horse and buggy days horses were depended upon for transportation and many jobs around the farm. If the horse was sick, plowing and essential work could not get done. Therefore, their health was of vital concern. But times were rough and veterinarians were scarce. Farmers had to depend on their own remedies to cure their horse's ailments, for even when a town happened to have a veterianarian, money was too tight and precious to spend on a horse when a home remedy would do. Many of these remedies are still used today.

An all-purpose ointment, called "White Liniment," combines 1/4 pint salty meat grease, 1/2 pint turpentine, 1/2 pint kerosene, 1 pint vinegar, 1 pint apple cider, a handful of salt and three or four egg whites. This can be used on cuts, bruises and just about everything.

Kerosene or turpentine, two of the most widely used ingredients in home remedies for horses, are used by themselves on cuts. After using either one of these, put salty meat grease, another common remedy, on the wound to keep the hair around it from turning white.

Another remedy for cuts, especially those from metal, is to apply a mixture of ground golden seal root mixed with lard. The herb pulls out the pus and the lard keeps the wound soft.Pine tar is also good for cuts.

For swellings on the horse's leg, mix into apple cider vinegar all the salt that will dissolve. Put this mixture on the swelled area. The salt draws out the water.

Another remedy for swelling is to make a wet, hot poultice of dried comfrey mixed with lard. Leave it on for an hour or two. Re-heat the poultice and re-apply. The swelling will soon disappear.

To keep flies away from horses before days of insect repellent, some soaked a rag with coal oil and attached it to the latch string that held the bridle on. Or tie a little bush there. The horse's movements would swing the bush to scare away the flies.To treat a horse for distemper, burn old leather under his nose. This keeps his nose from clogging and prevents choking.

For heaves (or a cough) pull out the horse's tongue and smear it with pine tar.

Fistula, a boil-like sore from an ill-fitting collar can ruin a horse. To cure this, put powdered alum on the sore area.

When worked hard, horses would get growths like corns on their hooves.

To rid the horse of these, lift up the hoof and pour spirits of turpentine in it. Then set the turpentine on fire. The heat will heal it and keep the hoof from getting so sore.

To relieve the horse of gas, make him jump logs. If he lies down he will likely die.

If a horse hurts his eye (like hitting a twig), throw table salt in it.

To stop the bleeding from a cut, make a mixture of turpentine and sugar and apply it to the cut.

We have given you these old-time cures for horses just as they were told to us, but like many veterinarians disagree on the worth of modern treatments, so do people disagree on the worth of the home remedies shared with us.


Copyright © 1981 BITTERSWEET, INC.

Next Article | Table of Contents | Other Issues

Local History Home

 Springfield-Greene County Library