• Apples (Seeds removed)
• Apricots (Pitted)
• Bananas and banana peels
• Cherries (Pitted)
• Dates (Pitted)
• Grapes and raisins (Seedless variety)
• Peaches (Pitted)
• Pears (Seeds removed)
• Watermelon including the rind
• Squash (Butternut or Acorn)
• Sweet potatoes
Soft and Chewy Carrot Cookies
All natural ingredients.
How often treats are offered should also be considered when determining the type of treats to make. Since treats contain extra calories, sugars and carbohydrates, overindulgence can lead to obesity or digestive problems. Making extra-small treats can reduce these problems when multiple treats are given in one day.
Frequent treating can also lead to negative behaviors such as nibbling, biting, crowding and pushiness. This is why many top horse trainers frown upon using treats as a training tool. If treating is creating problems, offering them in a bucket or feed tub can help reduce these negative behaviors. Offering treats in a container also makes it easier to use treats of varying shapes and textures, such as softer, cake-type treats.
The shape and texture of some treats can also present a choking hazard for horses that tend to bolt their food. Softer, round treats that don't require chewing should be avoided for these horses. If a larger treat is used, breaking or crumbling it can prevent the horse from swallowing it whole. Spreading the treat out in a manger or offering smaller amounts at one time can also reduce this risk.
• Corn meal
• Corn syrup
• Corn Oil
• Hay cubes or pellets
• Oatmeal or steel cut oats
• Peppermint (Candy canes or hard candy)
• Sugar (Brown or white)
• Wheat or oat flour
With the holidays upon us, the delicious smells of cinnamon, peppermint and freshly baked cookies are everywhere. As equestrians, we know that even a few of these tasty treats can make it difficult to look our best in those body-hugging show clothes next year. So to avoid temptation, many of us have cut back on holiday baking. Well, if you dearly miss the smell of fresh-baked goodies coming out of your oven, why not try baking for your horse?
Homemade horse treats are a fun way to show your horse just how much you love him. In addition, when you make your own treats, you know exactly what ingredients are in them. You can make treats in a size or shape that is comfortable for you to use. Plus, you can choose from a variety of textures, not just the standard hard-cookie treats that are available commercially. But before you whip out the mixer and cookie sheets, there are few things to consider.
The information contained within this article does not constitute medical advice. Please consult your veterinarian for further information on homemade horse treats.
One benefit of making homemade treats is the ability to control the ingredients. You can choose human-quality grains and select fresh fruits and vegetables. As the baker, you can also control the types and amount of sweeteners, grains and fats in your treats. If you have concerns about pesticide residue in your horse's treats, you can even go organic.
When choosing a horse treat recipe, also consider the treat's shelf life. Some treats may need to be used within a short period of time or must be stored in the refrigerator. In the summer, treats made with ingredients like molasses and fresh fruits will have a much shorter shelf life than in the winter. Even hard cookie treats can mold if they are exposed to moisture or humidity. It's a good idea to get in the habit of checking treats for mold, dustiness or spoilage each time they are used.
Some horses may also be on a special diet due to health conditions. Horses diagnosed with Cushings Disease or Metabolic Disorder, for instance, have an increased risk for laminitis when given feeds containing sugar and starch. For this reason, it's best not to give treats to another person's horse without their permission.
Making treats for horses with health issues can be difficult as most treat recipes contain flour, oil and sweeteners. Even ingredients, such as apples and carrots, contain natural sugars. While an occasional small treat may not cause harm, owners of horses on special diets are advised to consult their horse's veterinarian before firing up the oven.
Many equestrians enjoy giving their horse a special treat after a good workout or when they return home after a successful competition. The key to using treats is, of course, moderation. While the occasional treat isn't likely to upset the nutritional balance of the horse's diet, feeding a large amount of treats can offset vitamin and mineral ratios and introduce too many starches into the daily ration. A sudden influx of unfamiliar feeds can also lead to colic.
Thus, when making homemade treats, make only as many as can be safely used within the treat's shelf life or freeze excess amounts for future use. And of course, be sure to add ample amounts of the essential ingredient in all homemade treats ~ LOVE!
[RECIPES INCLUDED BELOW]
When choosing ingredients for homemade treats, it's essential to select foods that are safe and healthy for horses. Some foods that are readily consumed by humans can be harmful or even poisonous to horses. Never use chocolate, avocados, onions, rhubarb, spinach or persimmons when making horse treats. Milk products are best avoided as horses don't have the proper bacteria to digest these types of food. Likewise, all cruciferous vegetables as well as fruits and vegetables from the nightshade family should also be avoided. Broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, and kale are common types of cruciferous vegetables. The nightshade family includes eggplant, peppers of all types, potatoes, tomatillos, and tomatoes.
Luckily, there are many types of fruits and vegetables that are considered safe for horses to consume. Even so, the pits or seeds of many types of fruit are poisonous and should be removed. In addition, the leaves, shoots, twigs and bark of many of these plants contain cyanogenic glycosides and should never be fed to horses. If you are in doubt about the safety of an ingredient, check with your veterinarian or simply leave that ingredient out. Here are some foods that can safely be included in homemade horse treats:
Another benefit of homemade treats is the ability to make them in the size, shape and texture that works best for you. For instance, a treat used as a reward when catching a loose horse in the pasture will ideally be small enough to discretely hide in one's fist. A crumbly or sticky treat would obviously not be desirable. Likewise, a treat that leaves a smelly residue might encourage the horse to continue nibbling at our fingers.
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