I don't know about you guys, but I know our horses can get fussy with treats, and there is always the worry about feeding horses treats that are both healthy and safe!
Sometimes horse treat companies use artificial flavourings which isn't a problem in itself because they are unlikely to make horses sick. However, if the artificial flavour isn't something that a horse would eat in the wild, they may not eat the treats! For example, pitted cherries can be great for horses, but cherry trees are toxic, meaning horses in the wild would likely avoid cherry trees in general. Our horses are completely divided on cherry flavoured horse treats and I wonder if their reasoning comes from their natural instinct to stay away from harmful plants... Or maybe they are just fussy!
Anyway, we've compiled a list of healthy treats, we'll start off with the most common which are of course apples and carrots but here are a few you might not know:
* Apricots, make sure these are pitted! * Bananas, these can also be a great appetiser when paired with honey. * Beetroot, improves exercise tolerance and stamina and is great for condition! Feed raw. * Blackberries, ours love these and pick them off the bushes around their field, berries are also full of antitoxins. * Blueberries.
* Celery, a great treat and has a very high water content, a great addition to a feed or as a treat! * Cherries, half and take out the stone. * Coconut, remove husk. Coconut is fab for weight gain and conditioning, we feed a coconut supplement! * Dates, remove the stone. * Figs, remove skin. * Grapes. * Grapefruit, remove the rind and feed occasionally as citrus fruits in large quantities can be bad for a horse's gut. * Lettuce, cut up and feed in strips. * Mangoes, remove the stone. * Oranges, feed occasionally. * Peaches, remove the stone. * Pears, great alternative to boring apples! * Pineapple, feed in small chunks. * Plums, remove the stone. * Pumpkin, remove seeds and only feed the flesh. * Raisins. * Squash, feed flesh and remove seeds. * Strawberries! Rowan adores these and has eaten our plants on many occasion having broken into the garden! * Tangerines, feed sparingly. * Turnips, cut into small chunks. * Watermelon, horses love the rind especially. * Alfalfa, wheat, oats and barley (basically, you can feed your breakfast granola or muesli to your horse if you want to)!
As you may know, we do a lot of positive reinforcement when backing, this helps to teach the horse desirable behaviours. To do this without giving the horses a sugar rush, we use Baileys Fibre Nuggets, which come in a huge bag and are massively handy for us!
Thanks for reading!