Q. I have heard many differing opinions about the possible health benefits of feeding horses vinegar. Is vinegar good for horses to consume?

Nicole Livingston, via email

A. Vinegar in small amounts is fine for horses. It helps acidify the urinary tract, which might be helpful for some horses prone to urinary tract stones.

I suggest no more than a cup a day and use raw apple cider vinegar with the “mother” in it. The mother (mycoderma aceti) is a culture of cellulose and acetic acid bacteria used to ferment cider or wine into vinegar. The mother will look cloudy at the bottom of the bottle and is an excellent source of live microbials.

Start by adding a tablespoon of the vinegar to the horse’s feed twice daily. Gradually work toward 1/2 cup to each feeding (two feedings per day) for a total of one cup per day.

While there are no current studies on the use of vinegar in horses, research carried out in other species suggests that it could have health benefits.

In 2004, a study1 cited in the American Diabetes Foundation’s publication Diabetes Care found that taking vinegar before meals significantly increased insulin sensitivity and dramatically reduced the insulin and glucose spikes that occur after meals. The study involved 29 people, divided into three groups:

  1. One third had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes;
  2. One third had prediabetic signs; and
  3. One third were healthy.

The results were quite significant:

  • All three groups had