From chocolate to bread to fruit, It’s tempting to want to feed our horses all the treats that we enjoy. And many horses aren’t picky they may very well eat anything we try to feed them. But which treats are actually safe and healthy to feed your horse?

Fruits

Many fruits make safe treats for (most) horses, so long as you remove the pit and cut the fruit into appropriate, bite-sized pieces (to avoid choke). However, fruits should only be fed in small amounts since too much could lead to sugar/starch overload (and possibly colic/laminitis). But with that said, here are a few safe fruits to feed in small amounts:
apples
apricots
bananas
berries
cherries
dates
grapes
mango
melons
oranges
peaches
pears
pineapple
plums
tangerine

Please be aware that if your horse has a metabolic condition such as insulin resistance, you will want to limit the amount of fruit you feed, and you may want to avoid apples altogether.

Vegetables

Many veggies are safe and healthy to feed as well. Here are a few:
• beets
• carrots
• celery
• lettuce
• peas
• pumpkin
• sprouts (alfalfa, wheat, barley)
• squash
• sweet potatoes

Again, if your horse is insulin resistant, you may want to avoid feeding carrots.

Nuts/Seeds

You might hear that nuts/seeds aren’t safe to feed to horses, but there are actually a few which are.

These include:
• almonds
• chia seeds
• coconut
• roasted peanuts (never raw)
• sunflower seeds

Potentially Toxic Foods

These fruits/veggies could be dangerous to feed to your horse:
avocados
broccoli
cabbage
cauliflower
onion
peppers
persimmons
potatoes
spinach
tomatoes

Likewise, these treats are not safe for horses:
• chocolate
• bread
• meat of any kind
• lawn clippings

As you can see, there are many options when it comes to safe treats to offer your horse. Fruits, veggies, and nuts are nutritious and many horses enjoy eating them, so give them a try if you haven’t already. And feel free to share your horse’s favorite healthy treat in the comments below!

*Casie Bazay is a freelance and young adult writer, as well as an owner/barefoot trimmer and certified equine acupressure practitioner. She hosts the blog, The Naturally Healthy Horse, where she regularly shares information on barefoot, equine nutrition, and holistic horse health. Once an avid barrel racer, Casie now enjoys just giving back to the horses who have given her so much. Follow Casie at www.casiebazay.com.

December 11, 2018

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2 Comments

  1. Reply

    Kathy Waite

    December 7, 2018

    Why is bread not safe? I did not know this and if I am in the barn eating a sandwich I give my horse the crusts. On the basis, he eats grains anyway it never occurred to me it is not OK. Not white bread it’s whole grain. Is it the yeast? Perhaps what I do is Ok as a small quantity. The crust off 1 sandwich about twice a month. He loves sharing!

  2. Reply

    Casie Bazay

    December 10, 2018

    Hi Kathy,

    Bread is high in starch and can also pose a colic risk (balling up in the intestines) if fed in substantial amounts. A small piece here or there probably won’t hurt your horse, but bread generally isn’t considered a “healthy” treat.

    -Casie

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