During the festive period, we like to treat our horses as we do our family and friends. You must bear in mind however, that some of these additional extras can have negative side effects if fed at high quantities.
Tips for treats
If you would like to reward your horse for their hard work, or simply show your appreciation for your furry friend, providing certain fresh fruit and vegetable treats can be a great option. Many horses have shown to enjoy eating a banana, even with the skin on, as a well-deserved treat. Bananas are also known to be very high in potassium, which is an added bonus! Another treat/snack which is low in natural sugar making it suitable for all, is celery. Celery is naturally high in cellulose which can make the horse chew more, consequently leading to more alkaline saliva being produced which can potentially help to soothe the mucosal lining of the gut.
A good boredom buster idea is to hang fruit and vegetables on a piece of string tied securely in your horse’s stable. This can give your horse stimulation and is also a nice treat.
Be aware that some treats may not be suitable for all horses due to the possible high sugar content. Common favourites such as apples are very popular with most horses, but the sugar levels within them are considerably higher than that of celery, swedes, turnips and other options.
High levels of sugar can disrupt hindgut fermentation; as the horse becomes unable to digest the sugars, they flood into the hindgut, disrupt the environment and reduce the efficiency of fibre fermentation as well as producing acidic molecules called endotoxins. If your horse or pony suffers from Laminitis, Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS) and/or obesity we would recommend staying clear of treats with high levels of sugar.
Here at Feedmark, we have created a tasty low sugar treat for our equine companions. These irresistible treats are made from 12 different herbs, including Mint, Parsley, Rosehips, Chamomile and Nettle. Herbalicious are the perfect size to be fed straight from the hand for stretching exercises, and can also be used within a treat ball, to help keep your horse stimulated throughout the winter months.
If you are looking for a larger sized or forage-based treat, why not entertain your horse with a Feedmark Fibre block or Grass Block. The convenient 1kg Fibre Blocks are made from 50% Alfalfa and 50% dust-extracted oat straw, whereas the 1kg Grass Blocks are composed of 100% pure Timothy grass.
Our Fibre Blocks and Grass Blocks can be fed in a multitude of ways; either dry in a haynet, feed manger or from the floor, alternatively they can be soaked for those with compromised dentition or to encourage water intake. These handy blocks are an ideal way of providing your horse with fibre but with an interesting twist.