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Corro Stories

Can CBD Really Work for Horses? - An Interview with Founder of Mikko’s Choice: CBD Pellets for Horses

By Jessica Konopinski

With all the rave about CBD products over the past couple of years, it’s about time to see it enter the horse world. We’ve all heard numerous success stories regarding humans and dogs, but can CBD really work for horses?

We sat down with Emma Brayfield, owner and founder of Mikko’s Choice, to tell us everything there is to know about CBD, its effects on horses, and how to use it properly. In addition to her own experience and success using CBD products for herself and her animals, Emma was excited to also share her customers' miraculous stories and satisfaction with CBD pellets for horses.

CBD has become very big and “trendy” in the sense that we are seeing a lot of products made with it recently. What exactly is CBD and why is it being used in nearly every product on the market, including horse products?

At a very basic level, it's a compound in the hemp or cannabis plant, the type that you're seeing advertised everywhere in the grocery stores and pharmacies and now online. This has a lot to do with the laws surrounding the plant and why it is more readily available.

CBD, in the sense of horses, is pretty new. It's been around for dogs for a few years now, which is the type of plant and compound that can be used in any vertebrate. It interacts with our endocannabinoid system, which is a function of the body that knows what to do with CBD as a compound itself.

It's now just making the jump to horses because people have seen the benefits in dogs and humans. If it works in all of these three species, why can't it work with horses as well?

I think that it's been successful for people who have tried it with their horses because it is a great natural alternative to things like Equioxx.

 

Photo courtesy of Mikko's Choice

So essentially, it could be a natural alternative to some of the medications that we have our horses on for their overall wellness?

Yes, that's certainly one application. The other is there's not a whole lot of products out there for horse anxiety and stress. There are natural products like mushrooms, but historically I think people have tried those things, and most don't see a huge difference in their horses with them.

CBD is coming into this space as a great option for equine anxiety and stress.

Let’s say your horse needs to be trailered, and that is stressful to them. You can give them a little bit of these CBD pellets and take it down a notch. This has been a game-changer for a lot of my customers.

Are there other benefits to CBD for horses other than anxiety and relaxation?

Yes, definitely. I have one brand ambassador who is a rancher in Montana. He works his horses pretty hard doing ranch work in the snow all day, every day. He was looking into CBD because his horses were getting back sore. He’s noticed a huge difference. Now when he runs out, it's very clear, and he calls me up and asks, “how fast can you get some here?”

Photo courtesy of Mikko's Choice

Are there any other key benefits of CBD in horse care products?

Yes, I think it can support arthritis as well. A lot of people use it for that reason. So, overall comfort and health, horses in heavy work and retired horses can benefit from CBD significantly.

Tell me a little about Mikko’s Choice and how it came to be.

I have a background in animal science and pre-veterinary medicine. I had a lot of experience in that world, and through a series of life events, I got seriously injured on a horse and had to take a year off from life.

I had to rehab myself and learn how to walk again. I was in a lot of pain, had a lot of nerve pain, and had a lot of muscle pain. They prescribed me these heavy opioids, and I took them for a little bit, and I just really did not like them. At the same time, my brother was starting up a cannabis delivery for people in Los Angeles.

He suggested that I try some cannabis to help with my pain. So, I started using it and immediately was able to go off of those heavy pain meds. I had an appetite, I was able to move better, and I just felt really good.

That's when I realized there's something to this. The same year my dog was diagnosed with liver cancer and given three to four months to live. So I decided to give CBD a try. He did great. He was awesome and long story short, he lived for four more years.

Needless to say, I went into business with my brother and ran this delivery service with him all while I was riding horses. It was my main job for a long time. In the back of my mind, I thought about how we could use this with some horses but wasn't sure how that would happen, and there were no laws set up for it yet. So, I just sat on the idea for four and a half to five years, and through that time, I built connections in the industry. I had it all planned out. I was basically just waiting until the laws became favorable to launch this product.

At the same time, I rescued my horse Mikko. I adopted him for a ranch that I was working at. Then I got injured, and the ranch sold him, and I lost track of him. A few years later, I found him on Craigslist. He was skin and bones and even terrified to take steps. I have never seen a horse in this mental shape before. When I got him back, I really wanted to give him CBD, which was at the same time I began forming my idea with my brother, and it didn’t make sense to give him a tincture as we did with my dog.

I thought it would be really cool if we could put it into a pellet form because that's what horses are used to, and that's what people are used to giving them. So, basically, Mikko was the inspiration for the brand side of it, but I always had the idea to give it to horses, and so it all came together in time.

I found a manufacturer that could make the pellets, and when I was trying to come up with names for the brand, I thought it made sense to name it after Mikko. The idea of Mikko's choice is that I'm not going to offer a product out there that I wouldn't give him myself.

Photo courtesy of Mikko's Choice

How did you find the right amount to be effective for horses? Also, is it FEI approved?

I always tell people to check with their organization and do their research to see if it's approved. They’re being really cautious at the moment, or at least until there's a little bit more science behind it.

UC Davis here in California has done some research into it. They haven't released a lot yet, and there isn't a whole lot of research in general about CBD for animals, but there’s a few studies here and there that have promising suggestions.

As far as finding the right dose, I will always help. I always tell people to adjust, either up or down, from the recommended dose. I can use myself as an example. When I started taking a tincture, I would only take half of the dropper in the beginning. It worked, but it began to be too much, and so, I started tapering down. It’s the same case with animals too.

I think it's also hard because we are so conditioned to take this like a prescription. A prescription is “take this pill today, and you're good.” That's just not the case when it comes to CBD across the board for people or animals, regardless of the type of product you're taking. It’s a learning curve for people who are new to it.

What are some guidelines when it comes to products or which products are the best?

Transparency and education come into play by the company or brand, and that's something that's very important to me. Most people don’t know that our products come from licensed hemp farms, but I think that's what sets this brand apart. So I share that with people.

It’s rare that if it’s from the United States that they are licensed and that every batch is tested. So, ours is tested for CBD and THC amount by any factor, and then I also send it out to an independent lab to be tested for heavy metals molds and presides.

When looking to buy a CBD product, the most important thing is to search for brands that do that type of testing and share about it.

There's a lot of CBD oils out there. The way to do oil is to put it under the tongue, but we know that horses have trouble with that, just like worming. So, how are you going to get a little dropper in your horse? You can put it on their food, but also, how many horses do we know that like to tip their food over?

Compared to a pellet, it's just easier and more concentrated than an oil. I think people get more bang for their buck, too, when you compare milligram prices in different products and how long they will last. It may seem expensive at first, but when you think about how long the jar or the bag will last, it will go a long way.

Photo courtesy of Mikko's Choice

Photo courtesy of Mikko's Choice

What would you say to someone who is hesitant about trying CBD on their horses?

I would say that it's natural and organic, and you can always start with a small amount and go up from there depending on your comfort levels or how your horse is doing.

There’s really no harm in trying it. Their horses are not going to get stoned, there's no THC in it, and they’re not going to become super lazy and unmotivated all of a sudden.

Can you talk about some great cases with CBD that you've heard?

The pellets have been really beneficial for my customers.

When I was first testing the products out, I had a friend with a horse who had navicular issues. She came to me and said, “This is my last chance. If this doesn't work, I'm going to have to euthanize her because it's not fair to her anymore.”

Within a month, this horse was walking freely and was in a lot less pain. So while it's not going to reverse the navicular altogether, it made her very comfortable to the point where my friend said, “maybe I'll get on her and walk her around a little bit.

I also have someone who uses it for arthritis on her horse. The horse gets really sore at her knees in the wintertime, and it definitely helped. She has noticed such a big difference. The horse is doing really well. He now doesn't have to warm it up for 20 minutes.

Emma’s Final Thoughts

CBD is not about hiding anything. It's essentially helping with the relaxation of the muscles and overall relaxation of the mind. It increases relaxation, which can then help heal many other conditions and problems that correct it.

Photo courtesy of Mikko's Choice

Looking to try CBD? Learn more about Mikko's Choice and check out Mikko's Choice CBD Pellets now on Corro.

Mikko's Choice CBD Pellets for Horses

Mikko's Choice CBD Pellets for horses uses phytocannabinoids and is recommended for addressing pain, stiffness, swelling, and anxiety in your horse. Organically grown and manufactured in the USA, the hemp used in these pellets is vertically integrated, meaning the production process was tracked from seed to sale. The hemp used in these pellets is grown using sustainable farming processes, free of synthetic pesticides and chemicals.

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