Looks like Halloween is just around the corner! Good thing that involves one of my favorite things: treats! (And carving pumpkins with my friends at the Equine Science Center, of course.) Did you know that even though you can’t share your candy with your hooved friends, there’s plenty of sweet treats for us too? Let’s take a look at a few of them.
Generally, most fruits and veggies are a fun and nutritious snack for your horse. The stereotypical ones like carrots and apples are certainly tasty! However, make sure they are cut up into small pieces to reduce the risk of choking. An especially ecstatic horse could accidentally swallow an apple whole.
Some of my two favorites are bananas and pumpkins. These are nice and soft, and are perfect for some of my older friends too. Horses with tooth issues might have a hard time with crunchier carrots, so these are a nice alternative. It’s also a great way to reduce waste after Halloween! Many decorative pumpkins end up thrown away after they start to rot, so let your horse enjoy a nice treat before this happens. (Be sure not to give the spoiled fruits and veggies to your horse!)
The Rutgers farm even gives old pumpkins to their pigs as enrichment! They collect donations of pumpkins as long as they are free of paint, chemicals, and mold.
Lastly, let’s talk about some treats to avoid. You might be tempted to share some of your candy with your horse, but they won’t enjoy it as much as you do. Horses have very sensitive digestive systems, so it’s important to know what might cause upset in their GI tract. For example, horses should never be fed onions, potatoes, tomatoes, or cabbage. All of these foods belong to the nightshade family of plants and are known to cause gas. Smells like trouble!
One final reminder: everything is best in moderation. Your horse will almost always want another snack, but it’s important to say no to keep them happy and healthy!
Have a happy and safe Halloween!