The Magic of Moringa

Darling calling for her bucket with fruits and moringa.

Darling calling for her bucket with fruits and moringa.

Moringa is a tree..now..what’s that got to do with horses?? 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.

Jack talking to Moonlight

Jack talking to Moonlight

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.

Video of my horses in the fruitgarden 1 year after the rescue in 2008.

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.

Horse Pellets with GMO

Horse Pellets with GMO

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.

Moringa Tree

Moringa Tree

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!

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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. Here you can see Elena and Moonlight doing the Moringa Ritual!

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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

 

Susan and Stina will host the Sahaja 2015 in St. Vincent. Welcome!

Susan and Stina will host the Sahaja 2015 in St. Vincent. Welcome!

Welcome to Sahaja 2015!
– at this clinic we will work with horses from the ground to the saddle, including body work and other crucial elements for a horses’ health for riding.

Learn more about Susan and Stina’s clinic 7th of December 2015.

Learn more about Susan

Learn more about Stina

Dance with Horses at Sahaja 2015

Dance with Horses at Sahaja 2015

sahaja

Training of the rider at Sahaja 2015

Powerful Body work with Horses at Sahaja 2015

Powerful Body work with Horses at Sahaja 2015

 

Get close to horses at Sahaja 2015

Get close to horses at Sahaja 2015

 

Experience the magic with Sahaja 2015

Experience the magic with Sahaja 2015

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10 thoughts on “The Magic of Moringa

  1. This is so interesting about the moringa tree! I can’t wait to hear about the development of this project; what you’re doing in St Vincent is such a fantastic example to follow! Good job!

    • Hi Capucine,

      Thank you for your comment. Yes it is interesting, what we are going to do in the coming weeks is to increase the amount we feed the horses and cut down on the GMO foods. In two months there will be a blog follow up!
      Kind regards Stina

      • Good day Stina
        Im currently investigating the benefits of Moringa for Arabian feeds amongst others including rehabilitating horses. Im a horse novice so would appreciate any advice on what a typical active horse’s dietary breakdown is. Theres so many websites with information, its getting confusing. Our Moringa is totally organic, our soil is very rich and we use no extra fertilisers or herbicides and we have had enquiries from horse owners on how to incorporate it into their feeds. We just want to give them the best advice possible.
        Your feedback would be appreciated.
        Regards
        Chantal Robson

        • Hi Chantal, thank you for your comment.

          I live in a country where there is alot of variety for the horses to eat and I have big areas for them where they can graze. I have space and climate to grow moringa. My experience is to experiment and then look at the horse. I cannot give any professional advice, just share my own experiences from my own horses in my own setting.

          My horses did not want to eat the Moringa raw unless i mixed with fruits.
          We can mix with fruits when we have enough people to collect the fruits, but to find a more simple option I started to dry the Moringa, grid it and give to them. They love it.

          Here is a video on how I make the powder.
          http://stinaherberg.com/sustainable-horsekeeping/
          Hope this is of help.

          Kind regards Stina

  2. Fascinating about the Moringa tree, Stina, and so exciting that you can harvest them on the island and create horse food as well as human food.

    What a great example of what can be done to grow your own food and avoid exposure to GMOs and pesticides.

    Thanks,
    Susan

    • Hi Susan,

      Thank you for your comment. Yes Moringa is very healthy I eat it myself too in salads, cooked like spinach and drink it as tea. In health food stores you can buy the powder and you can always try it as a supplement. Do you think you can buy it for horses ? Maybe it is expensive in USA?
      Kind regards Stina

  3. I am living in Southern Italy and know Moringa already as a powder, which is very good to join to the daily food. I would like to get hold of some Moringa seeds, as I think the climate here in the very south could be warm enough to make the trees grow.
    Thanks in advance and looking forward to getting your answer to my personal email: sdeleo@bluewin.ch

    Sigrid De Lei

  4. I have been using moringa for 3 years or more and the health benefits are wonderful!! I live in southern Wisconsin and it is not a happy plant to grow here. I buy it fresh from the local Asian store and dry and grind it myself. I also have friends that live in Florida that grow moringa and send my way when I can’t get here in Wisconsin. What is the dose for horses? I use 1 teaspoon to a 1/2 depends on the day for myself. Thanks!

    • Greetings Janet, very good you use moringa, maybe there are other trees and herbs as well that grow in your area.
      I just cut big branches with leaves and feed the horses. They eat as much as they like , then they break to eat grass and return to finish later.

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