The Five Best Horse Treats

Jul 30, 2019

If you have a horse, chances are that you love to feed him a tasty titbit. There’s something so satisfying about seeing your equine friend chow down on a yummy snack. But there are do’s and don’ts when it comes to feeding treats. Read on for some practical tips as well as the five treats your horse is sure to enjoy.

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The Don'ts

• Don’t feed a nippy horse from your hand. Treat feeding is a leading cause of biting among otherwise tractable horses who get fussy and demanding as they know a treat is coming. Some yards prohibit hand feeding entirely for exactly this reason. This doesn’t mean your biter is totally exempt from treats – just put them on the (clean) ground or in his feed bin instead.

• Don’t use a food treat as a reward for a good ride. By the time you’ve dismounted from your horse and gotten a treat from him, there’s no way he can associate food with the ride he just gave you. On the same note, don’t withhold a treat after a poor ride if you always give him one – he won’t understand why you’re doing it.

• Don’t feed too much of any type of treat. While many treats are healthy and nutritious, they’re all designed to be fed in moderation. Too many treats can unbalance a healthy diet. Even fruits and vegetables – like the ever-popular carrots and apples – contain enough sugar that they can cause laminitis if fed in vast quantities.

• Don’t walk into a herd of horses in the field and start dishing out treats. Horses often bicker a little at feeding time when eager subordinates accidentally step into dominant horses’ personal space, and you could end up in the middle of two skirmishing half-ton horses. Instead, feed your horse when he’s alone, or feed the herd one by one from behind the safety of a fence.

• Don’t feed horses any treats unless you have permission to do so. For many reasons, other owners might not want their horses to be fed by strangers. Always ask first.

• Don’t feed your horse bread, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, lawn clippings, plants from your garden, or anything else unless you’re completely sure they’re safe for your horse to eat.

The Do's

• Do use treat feeding constructively. A nice titbit now and then is fine, but treats can be used to really benefit your horse. Clicker training or trick training is a fun pastime for all types of horses.

• Do use treats to stretch your horse. Carrot stretches are extremely beneficial even to very young or very old horses. In fact, instead of just giving your horse a treat after every ride, use the opportunity to get into a daily routine of carrot stretching after exercise. Treats can also be used to help make a naughty horse easier to catch.

• Do use this handy list below to pick the very best treat to spoil your equine partner!

The Five Best Horse Treats

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Fenugreek Stabul Nuggets

Fenugreek is a herb that can be used to benefit your horse in all sorts of ways. It can assist in stimulating the digestive system to produce more protective mucus, whichhelps to prevent ulcers. It is also beneficial in some cases for joint support – similarly to devil’s claw, but without the adverse effect on the digestive system. These low-sugar, low-starch treats are well balanced, too. Some horses may take some time to get used to the spicy herbal taste.

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A to Z Horse Cookies

These soft, cookie-style treats are ideal for older horses whose teeth might not be able to grind down the harder treats so well anymore. They are also practically sugar-free and thus good for laminitic or overweight horses. While quite expensive, they’re made from organic, human-grade ingredients that make them ultra safe to feed.

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Purina Carrot & Oat Flavoured Horse Treats

These are the tastiest treats of them all! Made with real carrots and oats, they are super flavourful and horses will love them. Their unique shape also makes them easy to feed.

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Alfalfa Pellets

Alfalfa Pellets – Alfalfa or hay pellets make fantastic treats as they contain zero added sugar. Hay is the healthiest food that exists for horses, so these can be fed in larger amounts than other treats. Hay pellets are also usually a nicely handy size – big enough for a single pellet to make a nice morsel, but small enough that you could keep a handful in your pocket comfortably. This makes them perfect for training purposes. Horses also love the taste of hay and alfalfa!

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Carrots

Most horses absolutely love carrots. They’re cheap and readily available, and very safe to feed to almost all horses. These are also loaded with vitamins – so overfeeding can cause imbalance, but in moderation, they’re a healthy and tasty snack. As a bonus, if you buy these locally, they’re even friendly to the environment!

Conclusion

These commercially available horse treats are all great for your horse, but if you want to go to a little more effort, there are plenty of homemade horse treat recipes available on the Internet that you can try. Always remember to check the ingredient list for substances that may be dangerous to horses and steer clear of any added sugars. It can also be fun to experiment with different treats as most horses will have a favourite.

Enjoy spoiling your equine friend with these guidelines for a happy, safe treat experience. Your horse is worth it!

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