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15 Fruits and Vegetables Horses Love to Eat

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introducing horse treats

If you are anything like me, spending time with your horse is one of your favorite past times. Even when you can’t ride, its nice to get that quality time. My mare LOVES treats so I’m always thinking about what I can do to keep her interested.

It’s fun to introduce new foods to your horse but you also don’t want to make them sick. This is what started me on the path to finding out what kinds of fruits are safe for horses. I’ve assembled my findings here for you!

You know what the one fruit I hadn’t even thought of feeding my horse is? Pears!

I mean it makes sense, they kinda look like an apple but aren’t. I don’t know why I never thought of it before! Let’s get started with our list!

1. Pears

Can Horses Eat Pears? Yes, horses can safely eat pears. Pears are one of many natural foods that are safe to feed horses as a treat. Try mixing up your horse’s bran mash by slicing a pear up or even feed it like you would an apple.

This was my most surprising discovery! I just hadn’t thought about it. Guess what, my mare LOVED them!

I found the best way to feed them to your horse is to remove the core and slice them up just like you would an apple. Don’t forget to remove the stem too.

2. Oranges

Can Horses Eat Oranges? Yes, horses can safely eat oranges. Oranges are one of many natural foods that are safe to feed horses as a treat. The entire orange is safe to eat including the peels.

Oranges are a wonderfully sweet and juicy treat for your horse. They offer a nice change of pace from regular treats. Next time you peel an orange for yourself, try offering the (washed) orange peels to your horse as a treat.

I have found a fun way to feed oranges during the summer is to peel and section them and then freeze them in the freezer. It makes a really nice fresh treat!

Next time you are drinking orange juice at the barn, consider offering your horse a sip and see what she thinks!

oranges and orange juice for horse treats

3. Bananas

Can horses eat bananas? Yes, horses can eat bananas and banana peels. This delicious treat is high in sugar though so care should be taken not to feed too much.

Oh bananas. They are so much fun and great to have around for both you and your horse.

This is another treat that can be fed fresh or frozen. I’ve even read that banana peels can be a great low-sugar treat for horses that are insulin resistant and can’t have sugary foods. (source)

4. Grapes

Can horses eat grapes? Yes, horses can eat grapes. Red and green grapes make wonderful horse treats. You can serve them fresh or frozen!

Grapes can be a hit or miss when it comes to horses. The sweeter the grape the more likely your horse is to accept this tiny treat.

I prefer to feed seedless grapes because I worry about seeds though I couldn’t find anything that said the seeds were bad for your horse.

5. Apples

Can horses eat apples? Apples are the fruit most commonly given to a horse as a treat. In small quantities both red and green apples can be enjoyed by horses, ponies and even donkeys!

Who hasn’t fed their horses apples? A great way to mix it up is to try different varieties. If you normally feed red apples, try green.

Apples are like the go to staple for most people when it comes to horse treats.

6. Mango

Can horses eat mango? Mangoes make an excellent treat for horses. Care should be taken to remove the pit before feeding to horses. The pit should not be consumed.

Mangoes are another oh so yummy and delicious treat to introduce to your horse.

The big worry with Mangoes is the pit. You want to be sure to remove that before feeding it to your horse.

To prepare mango for your horse, I recommend peeling the mango and then slicing the fruit into chunks.

mango

7. Celery

Can horses eat celery? Celery is an awesome vitamin and moisture rich food that is a great addition to your horses treat bucket. Horses can safely eat both the celery stalk and celery leaves.

Try slicing the celery into small hand held sections during your horse’s next training routine.

Are the kids coming out to see the horses? Instead of giving them a traditional carrot, show them how much horses love celery. Who knows, maybe that will encourage them to try it too!

8. Pumpkin

One fall vegetable that everyone sees around is pumpkins. They can even go on deep discount right after halloween.

Can horses eat pumpkin? Pumpkin makes a great horse treat. Horses can eat the skin and the flesh but seeds should be removed before feeding.

One thing to be cautious of is that most of the time you shouldn’t feed your carved pumpkins. As the pumpkin sits out it can begin to mold. When feeding horses pumpkin, fresh is best. Don’t forget to remove the stem!

pumpkin

9. Strawberries

Can horses eat strawberries? Strawberries are an awesome sweet treat that most horses quickly learn to love. They are safe for horses to eat in moderate quantity.

When they are in season they can be great to take to the barn for you and your horse to snack on.

10. Raisins

Can horses eat raisins? Raisins are safe for horses to eat. While they can be fed raw, horses really enjoy them when baked into oatmeal cookies.

We covered grapes above and raisins are just the dried version of that. Best of all they usually keep better!

Think about all the things you can do with raisins too. Sure, you can feed them plain but why not mix things up and bake some oatmeal raisin cookies that you and your horse can enjoy! This site has an easy recipe.

horse eating treats in bucket

11. Watermelon

Can horses eat watermelon? Watermelon has a high water content and is a great treat for your horse in summer. Horses can safely eat the whole thing, rinds, flesh and all.

My horses love watermelon. I fed it to my first horse and every horse since. I love watermelon too so usually my horses wind up eating the rinds. They love them!

When introducing watermelon, some horses will have difficulty learning how to bite through the rind. You can help them out at first by cutting the watermelon into thin slices that are easier to bite down on.

12. Cantaloupe

Can horses eat cantaloupe? Cantaloupe is safe for horses to eat. They can eat both the skin and the fruity flesh. Cantaloupe is another fun fruit to feed your horses. They can eat the rinds as well.

To feed cantaloupe to my horse I usually prepare it as I would if I were eating it. She doesn’t like the rinds much and I don’t let her eat the seeds. What I do is cut the cantaloupe in half, remove the seeds and then slice the flesh into cubes.

13. Honeydew

Can horses eat honeydew melon? Honeydew makes an excellent horse treat. Horses can eat both the rind and the sweet, fruity flesh. Seeds should be removed and discarded.

I love honeydew but sometimes I have a hard time picking out a really nice and sweet one. If I happen to cut open a honeydew that is too green or not very sweet, I’ll “donate” it to my horses treat bucket.

She loves it!

honeydew

14. Sweet Potato

Can horses eat sweet potato? Horses can eat sweet potato raw and cooked. It is a great option for the barn because it can be stored in cool dry places. The sweet flavor is typically very palatable for most horses.

My horse loves raw sweet potato cubed in her grain. I feed both the red ones (yams) and the white ones.

The great thing about sweet potatoes is that they store well in cool, dark places so you can take a bunch to the barn and leave them in the tack room or feed room to feed later.

You can also cook them, mash them or make sweet potato fries!

15. Zucchini

Can horses eat zucchini? Horses can safely eat zucchini. The vegetable should be washed before being offered. Slice it, dice it or feed it whole. Most horses enjoy the cool fresh taste.

Zucchini is another one you may not have thought of. It is one of my favorite foods to throw on the grill but my horse loves it too!

Slice it long ways or into circles like a cucumber. You can cube it too. Your horse may not like it at first but keep trying and he may soon learn to love it!

introducing horse treats

Ideas for Introducing New Treats to Your Horse’s Diet

Is your horse a picky eater and refuses most new treats you try to offer?

I have found the best way to introduce new treats to my horse is in her bran mash. She loves her bran mash which normally has carrots or apples. A nice, sloppy, wet bran mash makes it hard to separate out “new” treats from the yummy bran.

Sometimes I’ll find something that she just refuses to try and will have “licked” clean but that is rare.

At least for my mare, the more foods I introduce the braver she has seem to have gotten about trying new ones as well.

Can Treats Cause My Horse to Colic?

Treats are meant to be fed in small quantities. Large quantities of any strange food can lead to colic. A handful of grapes, a single pear or a couple of slices of watermelon shouldn’t cause most horses any trouble.

It is always good to introduce new items to your horse’s diet slowly. Colic is a concern when introducing larger quantities quickly but you also have to take into account allergies.

You never know if your horse might have some weird allergy to one or more of these foods. If you introduce foods one at a time, slowly, you will be better able to tell if a particular treat gives your horse hives or otherwise makes him seem “off”.

strange horses shouldn't be fed horse treats

Notes About Feeding Treats to Horses

Just because foods can be given to horses doesn’t mean they should. Remember to only feed treats to your own horse. If there are horses up the road or that belong to fellow boarders, be sure to ask for their permission before offering up a treat.

While it may seem harmless to give horses treats, some may have medical issues or allergies. Giving these horses treats may cause more harm than good.

In addition, some owners prefer not to hand feed their horse treats at all.

When giving horses treats, use your best judgment with your own horses and be sure to ask permission before feeding anyone else’s horses. This is true whether you are trying to feed something fun off of this list or even just feeding basic carrots.

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April Lee

I've owned horses for 25 years and have a particular love for gentling wild horses. I write these articles to help others learn more about horses. If you enjoyed the article please take a moment to pin it to Pinterest or share on social media. It really does help! Check out my about page for more detailed information.