Is It Bad to Give Your Horse Treats?

Author: Pet Station   Date Posted: 3 February 2022 

Is It Bad to Give Your Horse Treats? main image Is It Bad to Give Your Horse Treats? image

We love our horses, so it is only natural that we should want to treat them whenever we can. But is it always healthy and appropriate to reward our horse with treats? If done correctly, serving horse treats to your equine friends can be an extremely useful and beneficial practice. Whether homemade or store bought, there are loads of healthy treats to choose from that your horse will love.

Why Should You Give Your Horse Treats?

There are plenty of great reasons to treat your horse, the most obvious of which being that it makes them happy. Feeding healthy treats to your horse is a wonderful way to bond with them, as it offers positive reinforcement. Treats can also be used to encourage horses to take medications or to reward good behaviour.

If you’d like to encourage foraging habits in your horse, placing a treat inside a foraging device or “snack ball” is a fantastic technique. Activities such as these help to reduce stress in your horse and will keep them occupied when stabled.

Finally, horse treats can be used to coax a horse into completing beneficial stretches. Many horse owners use treats to guide their horses’ movements so that they gradually stretch out the postural muscles and take each vertebra through a complete range of motion.

How Should You Give Your Horse Treats?

1. Sparingly

Even when your horse treats are healthy, you should always be careful not to give your horse too many. Not only can overfeeding your horse upset their digestive system, it can teach them to beg for treats. If you are constantly giving your horse all their favourite snacks, they will start wanting and expecting them whenever they see you. It’s a good idea to vary your methods for bonding with your horse — you don’t want to become reliant on giving them treats to elicit a positive response.

2. By Offering the Treat, Rather Than Being Asked for It

When treating your horse, you should be careful to remain in control. If your horse is begging for treats, giving them what they want will only reward their bad behaviour and encourage them to do it more. Alternatively, if you establish a ritual in which your horse is only given treats when it is warranted, your four-legged friend will remain respectful. A great way to do this is to stand with the treat in view, but then pause before giving it to your horse. You can pat them and speak to them while they wait for you to hand over the treat, but the pause is essential to teach them patience.

3. From Your Hand, Not Your Pocket

A useful tip for treating your horse is to keep the treats in your hand, rather than in your pocket. This might seem inconvenient, but it’s preferable to having a horse that consistently sniffs and nuzzles at people’s pockets.

Where Can I Get Healthy Horse Treats?

All-Natural Horse Treats

While most humans wouldn’t consider fruits or vegetables to be a treat, lots of horses love all natural foods. These include fruits such as apples, bananas, strawberries, watermelons, raisins, melons, rockmelons and grapes. Plenty of vegetables, such as beetroot, turnip and parsnips, also make for popular horse treats.

However, there are some veggies that should be avoided. These include gassy foods or foods that belong to the nightshade family, such as onions, potatoes, tomatoes, cabbages and brussel sprouts.

You should also refrain from giving your horse pitted fruits, as these are a choking hazard and can be dangerous upon ingestion. Dairy products, bread, persimmons and lawn clippings are other food items that should be kept away from your horse.

Horse Treats to Make at Home

Sometimes, we want to treat our horses with something extra special. Sweet treats such as icy poles are okay in moderation but an even better option is to make your own horse treats. This way, you can combine your horses’ favourite fruits and vegetables with some sweeter ingredients to really elevate the value of their treats. For example, mixing apples or carrots with ingredients such as oats, honey, molasses, peanut butter, apple sauce, sugar or cinnamon can produce snacks that your horse will adore. There are plenty of recipes online for horse treats that use these basic ingredients, most of which you will probably already have in your pantry.

Horse Treats For Sale

Another excellent option is to buy pre-made horse treats from trusted pet supply stores. That way, you can be completely confident that your horse is being fed safe, healthy and delicious treats. You’ll find a great range of best horse treats for sale at Pet Station.

Treat Your Horse Today

Show your horse how much you love them and encourage positive behaviour with treats. Find all the treats you need at Pet Station now.