It’s that time of year again!
Fall is everywhere even in Arizona! The days are shorter, mornings are cooler, and baking is at an all-time high in our house. One of the biggest ways my daughters and I bond is through baking our favorite goodies. This time of year, apples are our go-to. We make applesauce, apple pies, and apple crisps! Yum!
One of my biggest pet peeves though is letting food go to waste; even if it’s just the skins of an apple. So instead of tossing them out, we put them in a big pot then take them out to our horses for the evening feeding. It’s the perfect side dish for them to indulge in along with their hay, grains, and pellets.
I’m a huge fan of feeding occasional fruits and veggies to my horses, but since my oldest mare was diagnosed with Cushing’s Disease I have to be extremely careful of her sugar intake. Instead of feeding her an entire sugary fruit (like a full apple) she does enjoy just the peels! During the summer months, she also enjoys watermelon rines which has a much lower sugar concentration rather than the fruit itself, it doesn’t leave her feeling left out, and it is a safe treat for horses to consume! Next time you’re wanting to indulge your insulin resistant horse to a treat consider just the peels of an apple or watermelon rather than the actual flesh of the fruit.
The first time I saw a horse choke I was in utter shock. It had nothing to do with eating a fruit or vegetable that wasn’t cut proportionately, but it did make me realize how easily this can happen. I grew up feeding my horses whole carrots; I’d hold it and they would take one bite at a time. Seemingly harmless, right? Well, after the first time I witnessed a choking horse I swore I would never feed a full fruit or vegetable to my horse again. Although they are large animals and we can overlook the choking hazard, it’s still a possibility. The next time you’re getting ready to head out to your barn to feed a treat, please make sure it is cut into small/thin enough bites. They will thank you for it.
If you’re anything like me you enjoy spoiling the heck out of your horses! But, be careful to not get carried away when it comes to the goodies. Too many fruits or veggies can upset your horse’s gut health leading to colic or laminitis. Consider one apple or one to two carrots at a time; be sure to not overdo it or else you will be dealing with the consequences later.
You should also avoid feeding them treats at the same time every day or on a regular schedule. If that is done, your horse will come to expect them, and naturally bad behaviors will follow if this expectation isn’t fulfilled. Keep it spontaneous! My most favorite way to give mine a treat is if it’s something I have prepared for my family and they get the clippings or skins from it; no food goes to waste, it’s not scheduled, and we both get a treat. Everybody wins!
I would love to hear from you if you feed your horses fresh goodies and what’s your favorite method to do so! Please drop a comment below or message me on my Instagram @unbridledmama.
Emily Griffin is a mama to two stunning daughters, a wife to her hunky husband, an experienced equestrian, and an Arizona native. She resides in a very small town in Southeastern, Arizona. Her days consist of raising children, everything equine, reading/ writing, and balancing the fine line between motherhood and insanity. She appreciates nature, the smell of a satisfying rain, and the lovely sunsets the Arizona deserts have to offer. Her life is unbridled in every sense of the word and she wouldn’t have it any other way! Follow her on Instagram at @unbridledmama.