The Do’s and Don’ts of Feeding Treats to Horses
Many horse owners offer treats to their horses to say thank you for performing their jobs well. The treats are also given as rewards while training. And while there is nothing wrong with giving your horse a few tasty snacks now and then, there are a few things you need to be careful with when selecting the type and amount of treats.
Have a look at some guidelines, or the do’s and don’ts, for feeding treats to horses:
- Do select healthy fruits and vegetables as treats. Apple and carrots are horses’ favourite treat, so add them in their diet to aid digestion.
- Do make sure to feed only in small amounts. Feeding your horse 15 apples at a time may lead to digestive issues. On average, one or two apples are enough for a horse. Feeding in large quantities can disrupt their balanced diet. It can lower the protein content and raise the starch levels in a horse’s body, which dilutes the vitamins and minerals. Moreover, overfeeding can also cause laminitis or colic.
- Make cut snacks like apples, carrots and others into slices and cubes to help them digest quickly. You can also serve your horse hay cubes or pallets as treats for this purpose.
- Do add commercially formulated supplements like Super Codlivine as snacks for your horse. They are fully loaded with vitamins, minerals, and traced elements to optimize the health and wellbeing of your horse. They are better options than fruits and vegetables if you are travelling with your horse.
- Do include a portion of normal grain and concentrates in your horse treats. You can also use sunflower seeds and raisins to have a variety of flavour options for your horse.
- Do use pitted dates as treats for your horse. Horses have a sweet tooth and dates are better alternatives to sugar cubes.
- Do feed your horse according to its size, age, weight, and workload.
- Do feed your horse treats only after they perform their task, not before it.
- Do keep the same routine for feeding snacks and treats.
- Don’t overfeed your horse with treats as it can make your horse sluggish, taking away from the purpose of feeding those treats.
- Don’t feed the treats right after or before a meal or an exercise session.
- Don’t Introduce any new treat suddenly as you never know how it may react to it; instead, add small quantities of the new snack first to check for any possible reactions.
- Don’t feed lawn clippings to your horse as they contain many poisonous plants that can choke your horse and disturb the pH level of the hindgut.
- Don’t give your horse cauliflower, cabbage, or broccoli as they can cause severe gas.
- Don’t feed your horse unpitted stone foods as they can cause choking.
- Don’t give your horse bread, doughnuts, or other baked items as snacks as they can make a doughy mass in the digestive tract resulting in a blockage.
- Don’t carry treats in your pocket or feed from your hands as your horse might rip your clothes or nip you in search of treats. Use a bucket or feeder to ensure your safety.
These were some of the dos and don’ts of feeding treats to your horse. The best way to ensure giving safe and healthy treats to your horse is by feeding them supplements that are loaded with essential nutrients.
If you want to explore horse supplements that can be given as treats, visit Little Fields Farm.