When you give your horse a treat, you want to be sure it’s a healthy one. But how can you tell if it’s healthy?
Healthy treats should not contain any preservatives, artificial flavors or colors. Some supplements may be added to treats as nutritious and healthful additives. The best treats are natural, taste good to the horse and only add a few calories to the day’s total feed. Look for commercial treats that don’t contain sugar as well. Always check labels for ingredients, calorie count and nutrients.
In studies conducted, horses’ favorite flavors are fenugreek (used in curry dishes), banana, cherry and anise. Carrots and apples, thought to be a horse’s favorites, did make a showing but not in the top 5. But you can still treat your horse with chunks of fresh apple and carrot.
Senior horses need special treats as it may be difficult for them to chew. Senior treats can include applesauce, shredded carrots, shredded apples, soft fruits such as bananas and grapes, commercial extruded (chopped and pulverized) grains.
If your horse has a medical condition, always check with your veterinarian before adding a treat to the diet.
Recipes for homemade treats are available online. Interesting note: molasses has shown to have a lower amount of sugar than quality forage.
Remember that treats should only be fed in small amounts.