Homemade Horse Treat Recipes

What treats can you share with a horse? Certainly, recipes abound, but horses also enjoy a lot of the same treats we do!

APPLES, PEARS, etc.

Apples are the hoofs-down, number-one favorite. Smaller, harder apples should be cut up, so they do not present a choking hazard. We hang an apple-wedging tool in the barn aisle, just for well-wishers! Pears are another great choice. Horses are not too particular. My horse even appreciates the core, after I have eaten the best part of the fruit! Many fruits appeal to horses. Any pits, seeds, or rinds should be removed.

CARROTS

Break carrots in half to share, or even cut them into little sticks. Avoid cutting them into wheels, as these can cause choking too.

BANANAS

Bananas are super summer treats, as they offer lots of potassium to a horse who has worked hard in the sun. Some horses will balk at these, though, especially if they are too mushy.

GINGER SNAPS & GRAHAM CRACKERS

We love taking ginger snaps and graham crackers to the barn. The horses love these low-fat treats, and so do we!

CEREALS

Fill a baggie with Cheerios, Kix, or another favorite. Our horses go bonkers for Cracklin’ Oat Bran. It must be the molasses!

BABY FOODS

Baby-food fruits provide a wonderful camouflage for veterinary medicines, if your horse needs these. A spoonful of junior applesauce, prunes, or pears will surely make the medicine go down quickly!

SWEETS

Of course, a horse will readily accept a peppermint or sugar cube. These should be fed one at a time, to avoid choking. Although sweets do not provide helpful nutrition, they are handy rewards for a good schooling session. Did you know that a single sugar cube may inspire the horse to take the bit better as well?

HORSE COOKIES
Store-bought horse treats can be costly. Why not grab a recipe and bake your own?

RECIPE: WHOA-oaty Cookies

1 3/4 cup raw oatmeal
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
2/3 cup dark brown sugar, packed
3 tablespoons dark corn syrup
egg white from 1 large egg (well beaten)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees (F). Combine oatmeal and flour in a bowl, and mix thoroughly. In a larger bowl, mix applesauce, brown sugar and corn syrup. Stir in egg white. Add the dry mixture, and stir well. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 12-14 minutes, until dark brown. Remove to a wire rack and cool. Makes about two dozen cookies.

HOW TO FEED TREATS

Of course, the safest way to offer a treat is to drop it into a horse’s bucket in his stall. Horses who constantly receive hand-fed treats may develop bad manners. No one wants his horse to begin nipping and biting for goodies!

Your own horse is another story. Presumably, you have developed a trusting relationship, and you know your own boundaries. If you do feed a horse by hand, place the treat in your open palm, and hold your hand out flat like a dinner plate. Be sure to keep your carrot-shaped fingers attached to your hand!

Be sure to dispose of all wrappings, so the horse doesn’t eat them. A plastic wrapper, baggie, or even a twist-tie can lodge inside a horse’s gut and cause huge problems.

FOODS TO AVOID

Horses are vegetarians, so they should not eat anything with meat (even meat juices) in it. Their digestive systems are designed to handle grasses and grains.

Avocados are poisonous to horses. Broccoli, cabbage, chocolate, nuts, potatoes, and tomatoes should all be avoided. Dairy is a bad idea, as it can cause stomach upset.

If you are entering a horse show, be advised that chocolate and poppy-seeds can cause a horse to fail a pre-show drug test.

THE BEST INTENTIONS

Well-meaning people are inclined to share the good things they have, even with a horse. As long as those things are safe, and given safely, this can be a lot of fun.

ASK FIRST!

Most people do not mind if you offer their horses treats, but it is a good idea to ask first. Some horses have special diets, food-interactive medications, or they can even have allergies. Horses can even be diabetic. In addition, if a horse should colic in a day or two, you certainly don’t want to be responsible for it!

If you should happen to see an unfamiliar horse, poking his head over a fence, it is best not to offer treats. Some horses do bite!