We’ve all seen it: Horses that eat hot dogs or prefer soda or sweet tea over water. But are these things REALLY safe for your equine to be snacking on? Like in human diets, the answer is: Everything in moderation.
By Sarah E. Coleman
While some horses are snobby about just what they’ll eat (only apples with no brown spots!) and others will eat just about anything (slimy carrots? No problem!), there are certain foods that should never be offered to equines—and there are some more-unusual ones you may just have to try!
Many fruits and veggies are safe for horses eat, but some are definitely not safe for them to snack on. It’s important to note that if your horse is chubby, insulin resistant or has other metabolic issues that you should refrain from giving him anything high in sugar, including fruits and veggies with a high sugar content.
Though a little snack of bread is OK for most horses, it’s important to remember that some prepared foods can be toxic to horses. Chocolate is one example; though an occasional chocolate chip cookie is harmless, a steady diet of chocolate treats can be hard on a horse’s health. Caffeine can also be toxic in large quantities, in the form of drinks or treats.
So what can you feed your steed to reward him for a job well done?
- green beans
For Those Horses With Metabolic Issues….
If your horse has metabolic issues, you will need to avoid feeding an abundance of these:
- apples (this includes apple sauce)
- pretzels, chips and most cereals
- cookies, both human and equine
- jelly beans
Good snacks include:
- beet pulp with no molasses
- cherries (without the pit)
- peanuts (in the shell)
- pumpkin seeds
- sugar-free candy (like that for diabetics)
- hay cubes, cut into pieces
- alfalfa pellets
- banana or apple peels
For horses that have HYPP, owners will need to stay away from treats and food that are high in potassium, like bananas, pumpkin and plums (prunes are also very not healthy for HYPP horses).