Is Bentonite Clay Safe and Beneficial for My Horse?

January 21, 2021

Many horse owners have already discovered the health benefits of bentonite clay for horses. Others may be wondering what all the buzz is about. Humans and animals have used bentonite for centuries to treat all sorts of internal and external maladies. So what exactly does it do?

Bentonite, also known as montmorillonite, is an age-old healing clay with incredible—and incredibly diverse—curative properties. Some call it Mother Nature’s pharmacy. We call it the “clay of a thousand uses.”

Do you have questions about clay, its efficacy, safety, and how it can help your horse? This article will help you understand what bentonite does and doesn’t do, and help you feel confident using it.

So, let’s get the scoop on bentonite—the clay that’s literally as old as dirt—so you and your horse can start experiencing its amazing, even life-changing health benefits!


What is Bentonite Clay?

Bentonite and montmorillonite belong to a family of clays called smectites. They’re formed when volcanic ash weathers and ages—usually in seawater—and are found in deposits throughout the world. Both clays are named after the geographic regions where they were originally found. The names bentonite and montmorillonite are often used interchangeably, and we’ll do the same throughout this article.

264889583_930516297588648_493231007051882377_nSo what does bentonite look, feel, smell, and taste like? Let’s take a moment for a sensory experience. Bentonite is a superfine powder so soft it almost disappears between your fingers. It tastes slightly dusty, and when it gets wet, smells like the first drops of rain on dry earth or warm concrete. It changes color from pale blue or green when freshly exposed, to a grayish cream as it weathers. That’s the color of a quality, finely-aged bentonite.

Where Does Redmond Clay Come From?

Now let’s drill down on Redmond’s specific brand of smectite used in our natural Redmond Equine products. Exactly what kind of clay is in your horse’s Daily Gold digestion supplement or Red Edge poultice? And where is it sourced from? Great questions.

Redmond Clay is sodium montmorillonite (aka sodium bentonite) clay. It’s mined from an ancient Jurassic Period seabed located right here where we’re headquartered in Redmond, Utah. This rich deposit remained untouched for thousands of years until we started harvesting the clay in the 1950s. 

Redmond clay is an extremely versatile resource we use to create natural soil, industrial, human, livestock, and equine products. The unique mineral deposit it's sourced from created a proprietary blend of highly effective clay known for its detoxifying properties, dozens of essential trace minerals, and natural ability to improve horse health and digestion. Learn more about our deposit and the internal benefits of Daily Gold for horses in the video below!

What is Daily Gold for Horses_ Redmonds Salt & Clay Deposit

Unique Properties of Bentonite Clay

Humans and animals through the ages have instinctively been drawn to clay. Every horse eats some amount of it every day—it’s a natural part of their diet! But what makes some horses specifically seek it out? Bentonite has three main superpowers that provide health-promoting benefits and shed light on why horses and humans need it, especially when ill or lacking minerals.

Absorption

Bentonite is a swelling clay with a talent for absorbing moisture. In fact, sodium bentonite (like Redmond clay) is particularly adept at soaking up the wet stuff. It can absorb and swell up to 20 times its original size. When used externally, such as in an equine poultice or wound cream, bentonite draws out excess fluid, infection, bacteria, toxins, and contaminants. It also improves circulation, increasing blood flow and oxygen in cells.

Adsorption & Detoxification

Bentonite also has an uncanny ability to seek out, bind and eliminate heavy metals, damaging toxins and pathogens inside the body—like those unwanted aflatoxins your horse consumes in feed. This National Institutes of Health (NIH) article notes, “Animal feeding studies have demonstrated that clay additives, such as bentonites, can bind aflatoxins in ingested feed and reduce or eliminate the toxicity.”

When clay is ingested on its own or in a supplement, it travels through the body looking for bad guys—toxins, chemicals, impurities, pathogens—to bind to. How, you ask? Clay is like a magnet. It contains negative molecules, while most toxins and impurities have positive molecules. That means clay is constantly on the hunt for that other half (positively charged impurities or toxins) to bind to, to become charged. Once united, those molecules stay together, allowing impurities to be carried out of the body. Pretty smart!

Micronutrients

Bentonite clay is absolutely packed with micronutrients humans and animals need. That’s because its absorbing ability allows it to soak up and capture nutrients in the environment where it lies—like a seabed. For example, Redmond Daily Gold contains a huge spectrum of loose minerals for horses , including calcium, magnesium, salt, potassium—and so many more. Want to see the whole rainbow of 60+ trace minerals naturally occurring in Redmond clay? Check out our Daily Gold guaranteed mineral analysis.

Health Benefits of Bentonite for Horses

Many horses have experienced amazing health benefits when given bentonite externally or internally—including healing dreaded equine ulcers. Here are some of the most documented benefits of bentonite.

Bentonite products collageInternal Uses and Benefits

This NIH study found that when bentonite is used internally, it can:

  • Treat digestive disorders and diarrhea
  • Improve gut flora activity
  • Increase gut nutrient absorption
  • Boost immune response
  • Improve renal health and kidney function
  • Regulate thyroid health
  • Act as a natural antibiotic for some harmful bacteria strains
  • Reduce the bioavailability of aflatoxins
  • Reduce metal poisoning

Thousands of customers who use Daily Gold, our pure bentonite clay horse digestive supplement, also report it:

  • Buffers gastric acid and heals ulcers in horses
  • Improves coat and hoof health
  • Reduces girthiness
  • Increases calm and focus in stressed horses

External Uses and Benefits

Bentonite clay can also be used externally on horses as a race paste or wound healing cream. Mix it with water to make a  poultice, or purchase it already mixed (like Redmond Red Edge Poultice or First Aid for Horses) to:

  • Prevent and treat skin lesions, cuts, infections, and irritations
  • Reduce swelling in horses’ legs
  • Relieve insect bites and stings
  • Heal hoof abscesses

Are there Side Effects of Using Bentonite in Horses?

Clay has incredible health benefits—but are there dangers to using it internally? You don’t want to give your horse bentonite at the risk of negative side effects.

If you have concerns about clay, we may be able to help. Here are some common questions we’ve heard customers ask about Daily Gold, our pure bentonite clay digestive supplement. The answers, backed by research, should help resolve concerns you may have about feeding it to your horse.

Q.  Does Bentonite Contain Harmful Levels of Lead?

While it's true lead is naturally found in many bentonites, how much lead differs by the deposit it originates from. Different deposits of bentonite contain varying levels of lead—which, by the way, is found abundantly in all parts of our environment. You should check with the manufacturer if you're worried about how much lead is in your bentonite product.

So, specifically, how much lead is in Redmond clay used in all our bentonite products? The U.S. Pharmacopoeia limits for lead in bentonite products is 40 parts per million (ppm). Redmond clay typically contains levels around 0.38 ppm. That’s far, far below the allowed amount. So give a little fist pump! You can feel reassured lead toxicity is not a risk when feeding your horse Redmond Daily Gold.

Did You Know?  It’s an interesting juxtaposition that bentonite contains lead but has also been shown effective at removing heavy metals, including lead, from the body. Check out this statement from the NIH study: “In pigs, the feeding supplementation of montmorillonite for 100 days reduced lead concentration in blood, brain, liver, bone, kidney and hair.” The study concluded, “Generally, it seems that bentonite is a reliable treatment for metal poisoning.” 

Q.  Will Bentonite Absorb Vitamins, Minerals, or Other Supplements?

Since clay is such a wiz at binding and absorbing, where do its capabilities end? Can it also draw vitamins, minerals, or other supplements from horses?

The same NIH article provides some valuable insight: “While bentonite can absorb many organic and inorganic materials in GI tract, it is reported not to affect mineral metabolism and absorption.” The article concludes that bentonite rather improves nutrient absorption through increasing good gut flora activity.

Erring on the side of caution, when it comes to giving your horse pharmaceuticals which may contain chemicals, we do recommend feeding them opposite of Redmond Daily Gold.

Q.  Will Bentonite Cause Impaction in My Horse?

Because bentonite is a clay with swelling capabilities, is there a risk my horse will develop a bowel obstruction similar to horses eating too much sand or silt?

The worry of impaction can strike real fear in horse owners. However, you should feel very comfortable offering your horse Daily Gold. Thousands of horse owners have used it to improve their horses’ digestion and health, and we know of no cases of Daily Gold causing impaction. Here’s reassurance from veterinarian Dr. Jessica Huntington, who backs the research, development, and safety of our equine products:

“Soil minerals are classified into three different groups: sand, silt, and clay. Sand is the heaviest of the minerals and clay is the lightest. Redmond Daily Gold is composed of clay material and should not accumulate in the colon if fed at the recommended labeled dose. In fact, veterinarians routinely administer clay products in excess of the recommended daily dose of Daily Gold multiple times a day to treat patients with GI disturbances, in addition to using other medications simultaneously, without negative effects. Daily Gold Stress Relief, using the labeled amount, has not caused any impactions to date—and if it had, we would have certainly addressed our formulation.”  - Jessica Huntington, DVM

As noted, using the recommended amount of Daily Gold, your horse should experience valuable health benefits without any ill side effects.

Redmond Bentonite Clay Products

Ready to help your horse experience the amazing benefits of bentonite clay? Redmond has your horse covered from head to hoof! Our bentonite products are natural, healing, and as always, locally sourced from our own mineral deposit. Here is our bentonite clay horse product lineup.

264465242_609956616816575_76987981364036524_nDaily Gold Stress Relief

Daily Gold digestive supplement buffers acid and naturally alleviates equine ulcers and other common issues horses experience, such as diarrhea, lack of appetite, stomach upset, and stress. It comes in powder form that’s easy to add to feed, or in new palatable pellets your horse will love! Click here to learn more about pelleted Daily Gold.

Also check out fast-acting Daily Gold Stress Relief syringe! It's perfect to give before your horse travels, competes, or any situation that creates stress and anxiety.

Red Edge Poultice

Red Edge poultice for horses soothes hot, tired muscles and reduces swelling in legs. Apply our hydrated Redmond clay, infused with essential oils, for natural pain relief or as a race paste to help your horse achieve peak performance. Also great for healing hoof soreness and abscesses.

First Aid for Horses

Our natural bentonite wound cream helps horses heal from painful bites, sores, cuts, and burns. It gently seals horse wounds and draws out infection, repels flies, and prevents proud flesh. Make Horse First Aid wound cream your first choice for natural healing.

Click below to visit our online story today and select your choice of all-natural Redmond bentonite clay products for your horse.

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Learn More

Bentonite's natural properties work wonders at helping horses maintain a steady, healthy gut. Learn how it can help your horse's digestion! 

Your horse can experience the benefits of bentonite in an equine poultice! Find out how it naturally reduces swelling in horses' legs and improves performance

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