How to Feed a Horse Treats

Most of us feed our horses and ponies treats as a reward, or just because we love them. Treats that are close to a horse's natural foods are healthiest but a very small amount of almost any food item is safe to feed as a treat.

Steps

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    Find your horse's personal favorite treat. Every week, feed him a different treat and watch how he acts. Common favorite treats are cookies, carrots, and pitted cherries, but like people, every horse is different.
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    Do your research on treats. Here is a list of treats that horses enjoy eating: Pitted Dates, raisins, sugar cubes, hay cubes, apple pieces, carrot pieces, sunflower seeds (With or without shells), peppermints, naturally flavored cough drops (Believe it or not!)
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    Do not feed your horse the following: Lawn, hedge or garden clippings, cabbage, including broccoli, cauliflower, etc., potatoes, tomatoes, acorns, chocolate (If you are competing can cause a positive drug test.)
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    Instead of hand-feeding, put the treats in with his feed. Hand-feeding encourages nipping and biting and, as we all know, nobody wants that.
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    Do not feed more than three treats in one week. It is proven unhealthy, just like if you eat a bunch of Hershey bars in one day, your horse may get sick.

Tips

  • Historically, horses have been fed some strange things to survive--like fish. But horses are herbivores-animals whose digestive system is geared to digesting grass and soft plant matter. Although some horses can eat these things with no apparent ill effects, it is always better to stick to treats similar to their natural foodstuffs.
  • Don't feed treats to a strange horse. The horse could have a medical condition that disallows certain types of food. Or some owners don't believe in feeding treats at all.
  • Horses will eat surprisingly weird foods-from roast beef sandwiches to ice cream.

Warnings

  • Some treats can be a choking hazard. Apples and carrots are best cut into pieces. Only feed a very small amount of any hard foods like mints and hay cubes. A greedy horse may not chew the treat completely and bolt a treat down. The food can then become lodged in the horse's throat, causing choke.
  • Dispose of all food wrappings out of reach of your horse. A bag smelling of sticky peppermints could be ingested and cause a blockage that could be deadly.

Article Info

Categories: Horse Feeding