We all like to give our horses treats now and then, but which ones are safe and which ones aren’t? In this article, we talk about which human foods are safe for your horse to eat and give good advice on how much and how often you can treat your horse. Read on to find out more about what people’s food horses can eat.
What are the best foods for people to feed a horse?
In general, almost all fruits and quite a few vegetables are safe to feed your horse. Most horses like carrots and apples, and it’s safe to give your horse one carrot or apple every day.
Some other unusual choices are:
- Snow Peas
Some horses won’t eat any of these strange treats, while others can’t get enough of them.
In general, donkeys are more open to strange foods like bananas and pumpkin than horses and mules, but this isn’t always the case. Sometimes horses and mules will also enjoy these foods.
Are There Any Dangerous Fruits & Veggies?
Avoid giving your horse anything that might upset its digestive system or give it gas. Don’t forget that horses can’t burp and often get colic.
Some fruits and vegetables that can cause these kinds of issues are:
- Brussels Sprouts
In general, you should stay away from fruits and vegetables that come from the hemlock family or the cruciferous vegetable family.
7 human foods that horses love and can eat
Mixing high-quality hay with treats that people eat could be good for your horses because it will make them less likely to get an upset stomach. Do you know what treats they’ll love and what you shouldn’t give them?
In general, a healthy horse needs between 2 and 2.5 pounds of food for every 100 pounds it weighs. For example, a 1,000-pound horse needs 20 to 25 pounds of food every day. A horse that is ridden for about an hour, five days a week, should eat 2 to 5 pounds of concentrates and 15 to 20 pounds of hay.
The stomachs of horses are very weak and compared to their size, they are small. Because of this, horses eat small amounts of food all the time. Horses shouldn’t go without food for more than 8 hours, and they need 12 gallons of clean, fresh water every day. This is why it’s best to only give them one or two treats, even if they keep asking for more.
Horses love carrots, but if they have Cushing’s syndrome, equine polysaccharide storage myopathy (EPSM), or insulin resistance, it’s best not to give them too many carrots or other treats with a lot of sugar.
Carrots taste good, are good for your health, and most horses love the way they taste. Just limit the number of carrots you give your horse, as there have been cases of horses changing their coat color a little when given a lot of carrots.
Bananas are a fun snack for horses, which may sound strange. They are interested in how soft and mushy it is, and it’s a great source of potassium. You can even give them the banana peel as a hint.
Even though Christmas is over, I still love peppermints. Equine Wellness Magazine says that peppermint helps horses’ digestive systems because it is bitter and makes them want to eat. This is why it can help horses who have loose stools or bouts of diarrhea. A few sugar cubes (one or two) are fine when feeding them peppermint candies, and so are peppermint horse treats you can buy in stores.
Dogs and cats shouldn’t eat grapes or raisins because they are dangerous for them. However, horses love the sweet taste of grapes and raisins. Also, healthy horses can enjoy them safely, and you can give them a pound or less per day.
When giving your horse a big treat, keep in mind that horses usually chew treats before swallowing them. However, some horses might gulp down big pieces of fruit or vegetables, which could cause them to choke. Cut all treats into small pieces before giving them to your horse.
Your horse can enjoy some pumpkin treats while you watch horse shows at home with a pumpkin spiced latte. You can eat these, and they are safe to do so. They have a lot of vitamin A, as well as vitamins C and E. It also has a lot of potassium and about the same amounts of calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium.
To avoid stomach upsets and digestive problems, though, only give your horse small amounts of treats and only pumpkins that are sold for carving or baking. Avoid fall squashes and gourds, as some of them may be toxic to horses.
When it’s warmer outside, giving your horse some strawberries after a hard day of training can be a nice treat. Strawberries have fiber, water, antioxidants, and vitamins. This is a great way to make sure horses stay healthy and drink enough water. We don’t think strawberries should grow in the pasture where your horse is free to roam, since strawberries have a lot of sugar and should only be eaten in small amounts.
Watermelon and other melons like cantaloupe are great treats for the summer. Even though the smell might turn your horse off at first, once they try it, they’ll love it. As a safety measure, take out the seeds from the piece you are giving them and only give them one or two pieces.
Best to avoid
You shouldn’t feed your horse tomatoes, potatoes, onions, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, and other foods that can cause gas or are in the nightshade family.
Some horses like chocolate and a small piece won’t hurt them. But if your horse competes in events, substances in chocolate can cause a positive drug test.
Horses like getting treats either by hand or in a bucket, but horses that are fed by hand tend to get nippy. The safest way to feed a horse is with a bucket, but if you want to do it by hand, put the treat in the middle of your flat hand and move it slightly toward the horse’s mouth.
Also, don’t make a habit of giving horses treats every day or on a regular basis, like after a lesson. This could cause him to expect a treat at a certain time, and if he doesn’t get it, he might start acting up.