Appropriate Horse Treats

Appropriate treats for the Performance Horse

Almost all horse lovers and owners give their horses treats from time to time. Whether it be a reward for a job well done, a hidden treat in their feed or a frozen block on a hot day, your horse will love it. There are some guidelines, however, on what horse treats are safe, what should be avoided and how often they should be offered, that you should be aware of.

Ideally, selecting healthy treats for your horse is the best option. Most fruits and vegetables are safe horse treats, as are the many commercially available horse treats sold in produce stores and saddlery’s.

Below is a list of horse treats to offer your horse, and a list of those that should be avoided due to their toxicity.

Safe Horse Treats Horse Treats to avoid
Apricots (without pit)* Avocado
Apples (without core) Broccoli
Berries Brussel Sprouts
Banana* Cabbage
Carrots Cauliflower
Celery Chocolate
Grapes Kale
Green Beans Onion
Lettuce Alcohol
Mango  
Citrus fruits  
Peach  
Pear  
Plums*  
Pumpkin  
Squash  
Watermelon  
Sugar Cubes  

*Horses that suffer from equine hyperkalemic periodic paralysis disease (HYPP) should not be fed treats that are high in potassium, such as bananas, apricots and plums.

For all horse treats, it is important to remember that they are called “treats” for a reason, and moderation is key.  The equine digestive tract contains a delicate balance of bacteria and microbes that are essential for intestinal function. Introducing high quantities of treats and things that aren’t provided in the normal diet, can upset this balance. Horse treats also add calories that most horses don’t require which could lead to unwanted hyperactive behaviour.

In summary:

  • Natural options are always best- refer to the list above for safe fruits and vegetables.
  • If choosing packet treats, always read the list of ingredients.
  • Moderation is key.
  • Low sugar packet varieties are always recommended.
  • Only feed packet treats specifically formulated for horses.

Written by Ranvet Nutritionist Eliza Barton BAn Vet Bio Sc (Hons)

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2018-03-13T03:49:42+00:00

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