There is nothing wrong with treating your horse. He deserves it, and so do you. Here are some guidelines everyone can use when selecting the type of treats, as well as feeding frequency and amount.
What are good treats?
- Healthy snacks like apple slices, carrots, and hay cubes are good places to start for a treat. Many horses will even enjoy a banana.
- Commercially made horse treats can be a favorite for many horses and they may store and travel better than fresh fruit or vegetables when you're on the road.
- Sugar cubes are a very traditional (although not very healthy) treat for horses.
What treats shouldn't I feed?
- Don't feed lawn clippings (these can contain poisonous plants, can cause choke, and can drastically change the pH of the hindgut)
- Cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower can cause severe gas if fed in large amounts.
- Potatoes and tomatoes are members of the nightshade family and while some people report feeding these with no issues it is best to avoid them.
- Don't feed unpitted stone fruits, as the pits can cause choke.
- Chocolate - while your horse may enjoy it, chocolate can cause a positive result in a drug test.
- Fresh bread, donuts, etc. - these items can become a doughy mass in the digestive tract and cause a blockage.
When feeding treats, remember the acronym A.I.M. - Always In Moderation. Keep your treats as close as possible to the natural diet and enjoy being a hero to your horse!