What human foods can and can’t be given to horses as treats?

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We all like to have a treat occasionally, and of course to treat our horses – but what human foods are safe for horses to have? We put the question to an equine nutritionist to find out.

With horse treats, the saying ‘everything in moderation’ really does apply, especially for any equines requiring a low sugar diet, such as those prone to laminitis.

Avoid:

Human foodstuffs that should be avoided include anything which contains animal-by-products, along with bread, uncooked potatoes, too many mints or sugar cubes, and anything containing caffeine or chocolate. 

Although they are not a human food, grass cuttings should never be fed to horses either.

Something new

For a different treat, try bananas or celery, or if your horse is an unadventurous eater try low-sugar veg such as swede, parsnips and turnips. These can also act as boredom busters if you hang them in the stable. 

An apple a day?

While a healthy option for us, apples and carrots are higher in sugar so avoid feeding too many of these, especially to laminitics.

Prohibited substances

Ensuring your horse isn’t given caffeine or chocolate is particularly important for those participating in affiliated competitions as they are classed as prohibited substances.  

If they are found in your horse’s system it can lead to disqualification.

The level of affiliated competition doesn’t matter, even those competing in a BE80(T) class can still be asked to provide a sample for testing.

For more tips about feeding, see the full article in issue 450 – available here.

Don’t miss the latest issue of Your Horse Magazine, jam-packed with training and veterinary advice, horse-care tips and the latest equestrian products available on shop shelves, on sale now. Find out what’s in the latest issue here