Safe Treats for Your Horse
 By Winniefield Park   •   30th Nov 2013   •   3,080 views   •   3 comments
Safe Treats for Your HorseThere are many horse trainers and owners who believe you should not feed your horse treats, especially from your hands. They maintain that feeding treats from your hands encourages a horse to get too close into your body, too familiar and pushy. I disagree. I like to feed treats, but each time I do, I make sure my horse is respectful and mannerly. Some horses are too mouthy to feed treats out of hand to, and you get to know very quickly which ones these are—they're also likely to be stealth nippers who try to take a chunk out of you when your back is turned. Except for these horses, I think it's perfectly fine to feed treats out of your hands, as long as it's done with safety in mind.

Rules for Safe Treating
You may know that your own horse is safe to hand-feed treats to, and that feeding treats is okay with you. However, don't assume someone else's horse is allowed to have hand-fed treats, or that they are safe to feed treats to. Always ask before feeding someone else's horse a treat.

If your horse is at all nippy or mouth, feed treats from a bucket or feed tub, not your hands.

Don't tolerate a horse nosing your hands or pockets for a treat. A firm 'NO' will usually stop the behavior. This is less likely to happen if you don't carry treats in your pockets.

Get rid of any wrappers or bags that might smell like treats, and keep wrapped treats out of reach—you don't want your horse to eat a bag of wrapped peppermints, or part of a carrot bag. This can cause a serious blockage in their digestive system.

Good Treats for Horses
Horses have very individual tastes. My horse doesn't care for apples, lights up for carrots and loves sweet feed. One horse I had wouldn't come near me for three days after I fed her a peppermint. Others go ga-ga for sugar cubes and yet others develop very weird tastes. Safe treats for horses, fed in small amounts are:

• Raisins
• Dates
• Sugar cubes
• Feed cubes
• Apple pieces
• Carrot pieces
• Sunflower seeds (with or without shells)
• Peppermints
• Sweet feed
• Watermelon rind

Poor Choices for Horse Treats
• Anything from the cabbage family
• Potatoes
• Acorns
• Corn Cobs
• Tomatoes

And chocolate, although many horses like it, contains a substance called theobromine, which is a banned substance in the horse show world. Theobromine can show up in blood tests, and in quantity is quite toxic. In small quantities, it is a stimulant. So, avoid chocolate treats if you're competing, and if you are sharing your chocolate bar, be stingy.

Some horses will eat almost anything, from drinking cola to a bite of hamburger. It probably won't hurt them in small quantities. However, our horses are healthiest when we feed them things that are as close to their natural diet as possible. So, while your horse might eat a hot dog, he'll probably be just as happy, and certainly healthier, with a little handful of the lush grass or rich hay.
Horse News More In This Category:  Care and Grooming      Horse News More From This Author:  Winniefield Park
I taught my horse to "Look Away" or turn her head away from me and focus on something else, and only look back at me and gently nose the treat out of my hand when I say "Good girl". It really worked to keep her out of my face. Whenever she sees me now, she looks away, hoping for a treat. It's super easy to teach show them you have a treat in your hand, but do not give it to them until something else catches their attention. They catch on really quick. Now all our horses know how to.
  Nov 30, 2013  •  3,372 views
Dark Star  
Archie is a bad boy when it comes to certain things, we now can't leave any alcoholic beverage (or mountain dew) near him or he will drink it (out of the bottle or spill a can trying to drink it.) Dee hates certain brands of peppermints, and you must cut an apple up before offering it to her or she will take the whole apple and try to swallow it. Robbie loves pasta... lol, we don't give him it very often, and then Spike loves Smarties, but not sugar cubes or apples. (Strange pony)
  Dec 1, 2013  •  3,313 views
my friend once knew a horse who liked to eat fries
  Dec 1, 2013  •  3,277 views
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