Vampire folklore recommends using garlic to ward off the blood-sucking undead. This handy advice was likely derived from the fact that mosquitoes are repelled by the pungent herb. Several companies market a variety of garlic-based products for horses under the hypothesis that altering their body odor will reduce their appeal to biting insects. As with all such supplements, some horse-owners report near-miraculous results while others report nothing more than money wasted (and horses that smell like pizzerias).
Feeding garlic to horses is not risk-free. As a member of the allium genus (onion-type bulbs that produce those tasty sulfurous compounds) garlic has the potential to produce a low-level anemic response that can affect energy, stamina and immune function. With this in mind I have started giving Tonka and Raven a tablespoon of air-dried garlic flakes with their breakfast and dinner. Mosquitoes, gnats and flies are a fact of summer life in Deroche and the horses are likely to be stuck here with us for years to come. My plan is to re-evaluate the decision at the end of a one-month trial. Any real epidemiologist (what I claim to be at all the conferences) would have implemented a randomized controlled trial (by supplementing only one horse), but I deemed that option unethical in light of the potential benefits of treatment.