Combining high quality hay with some other treats found in the human diet could be beneficial for your horses as it reduces their chances of getting an upset stomach. Do you know what human food treats they’ll love and which ones you should avoid giving?
Generally speaking, healthy horses need around 2 to 2.5 pounds of feed for every 100 pounds of their weight. For example, a horse that weighs 1000 pounds will need 20 to 25 pounds of feed per day. A diet for a horse that is ridden for about an hour, five days a week, would be 2 to 5 pounds of concentrates and 15 to 20 pounds of hay.
Horses’ stomachs are very delicate, and in comparison with their size, they are actually small. This is why horses eat small amounts of food on a continuous basis. Horses should not go more than 8 hours without food and they need 12 gallons of fresh, clean water per day. For this reason, even if they keep asking for treats, it is best to keep it at one or two treats.
It is well known that horses love carrots, however, for horses with Cushing’s syndrome, equine polysaccharide storage myopathy (EPSM) or insulin resistance, it is best to avoid feeding them large amounts of carrots or other treats with high levels of sugars.
Carrots are delicious, provide several health benefits and most horses love their taste. Just limit the quantity of carrots as there are cases of horses getting a slight change of coat colour when being fed large amounts.
Related article: The different horse coat colours and patterns
As curious as it may sound, horses find bananas a fun treat. They get curious about the soft and mushy texture and it is a great source of potassium. As a tip, you can even give them the peel of the banana.
The Christmas-time is over but not the love for peppermints! According to Equine Wellness Magazine, peppermint helps horses’ digestive system as it contains a bitter quality that helps stimulate appetite. This is why it can help horses who are suffering from bouts of diarrhoea or loose droppings. When feeding them peppermint candies, a few sugar cubes (one or two) are okay, and so are commercially available horse treats containing peppermint.
Although it is dangerous for small mammals, like dogs or cats, horses love grapes and raisins for their sweet taste. Also, they are a safe treat for healthy horses and you can offer them a pound or less per day.
When feeding large treats, be mindful that horses normally chew treats before swallowing, but some horses could gulp large pieces of fruits or vegetables and have choking hazard risk. For this reason, cut all treats in small pieces before feeding your horse.