Who doesn’t love to snack on a bowl of strawberries – beautiful, sweet, juicy fruit, packed full of healthy vitamins? They really are a taste of summer! But can horses have strawberries? And are they good for them to eat?
We all enjoy giving treats to our horses, and some horses will enjoy delicious strawberry fruits as a snack. Feeding strawberries may have some nutritional benefits to horses However, strawberries are not part of their natural diet and should not be fed in large quantities.
Let’s take a look at strawberries and find out how to feed strawberries to horses.
Can Horses Eat Strawberries?
If you are a horse owner or spend time at your local yard, you will be familiar with the huge amounts of hay horses will eat each day! This is because the natural diet for horses is one that contains a high amount of roughage. Roughage means foods which are high in fiber, such as grass or hay.
To add some variety into the horse’s diet, many people like to also feed treats including fruit and vegetables. Pretty much every child will tell you that horses like to gobble up apples and carrots! However, many people do not realize that horses can also eat other types of fruit such as strawberries.
Strawberries are packed full of vitamins C, E, and K. They also contain potassium, phosphorous, calcium, and magnesium. All of these are very beneficial to horses.
These juicy fruits also contain a high proportion of water and some sugar. This makes them a healthy energy source which also helps to keep your horse hydrated.
Like any addition to the diet, strawberries should be fed as a treat and should not make up the main proportion of the daily food intake. So, feeding a large number of strawberries or any other type of fruit or vegetable to your horse is not a good idea.
If a horse eats a large amount of fruit or vegetables, he may develop colic or diarrhea. Both of these digestive problems can be very uncomfortable and potentially life-threatening.
The sugar content of strawberries can also harm your horse if they are eaten in large quantities. Sugar can cause long-term medical conditions such as laminitis. For this reason, strawberries should not be fed to overweight horses, or those suffering from insulin resistance.
How To Feed Strawberries To Your Horse
Because of their small size, strawberries can be fed whole to your horse. However, they may be more tempted to eat them if you cut them in half. This will release the smell and juice of the strawberry and make it more tempting to your horse.
All fruit and vegetables, including strawberries, should be washed before feeding, to get rid of any toxic chemicals such as pesticides. Stick to feeding a set amount of strawberries or other fruits and vegetables, no more than two cups per day, to avoid overfeeding and digestive upsets.
Do Horses Eat Strawberries?
There is only one way to find out if your horse will eat strawberries, and that is to try them! Select a large, juicy strawberry, wash it, and cut it in half. Mix with pieces of other favorite snacks such as carrots. Feed the chunks by hand and see what your four-legged friend thinks about this new snack!
One of the best things about horses eating strawberries is that you now have a nice cold snack to give them on a hot day. Store your strawberries in the refrigerator before feeding to keep them chilled. You can even pop a few into the freezer for a short while to make some healthy iced treats for your horse!
What Are Horses Favorite Treats?
Horses definitely have a sweet tooth – they will enjoy anything sugary! Anyone who has ever fed sugar lumps to a horse will be able to tell you this. But what are horses’ favorite treats?
Well, each individual horse is different and will enjoy different treats. As a rule, most horses enjoy sweet things with a nutty or herby flavor. Take a sniff of a bag of horse treats – it will smell very much like the pot of dried herbs in your pantry!
One fun thing to try on a rainy day is baking your own horse treats. There are plenty of recipes available online and you can adapt the recipe to include all the things your horse loves. How delicious do carrots, oats, and honey treat balls sound?!
What Are The Best Treats For Horses?
If your horse is healthy and not suffering from any medical disorders, then almost any fruits and vegetables are safe for them to eat. Popular fruit treats include watermelon, grapes, raisins, bananas, and strawberries. They may also enjoy vegetables such as celery, peas, pumpkin, and squash.
Remember that all of these should be cut into smaller pieces before feeding. Why not chop up a little fruit salad to share with your horse on a sunny trail ride? Definitely a healthier alternative to sugary biscuits, peppermints, and candies!
What Treats Are Poisonous To Horses?
Some fruits and vegetables are not suitable for feeding horses. Alliums, such as onions, shallots, and garlic, can cause a form of hemolytic anemia if fed in large amounts. Therefore, care should be taken when feeding garlic supplements, and the recommended dose should never be exceeded.
Members of the nightshade family – potatoes and tomatoes – may also be toxic to horses. Brassica vegetables, such as cabbage, kale, and Brussels sprouts, may cause an excess of intestinal gas.
Other human foods which are poisonous to horses include chocolate, avocado, and persimmon fruits. Horses also cannot digest dairy products, so steer clear of feeding your horse treats that include yogurt or other milk-based ingredients.
As you’ve seen, you absolutely can feed strawberries to your horse as a refreshing snack or treat! Not all will like the taste, but many horses do enjoy these sweet juicy fruits. Strawberries should not be fed in large amounts, as they are not a natural part of the horse’s diet.
Do you have any questions about horses eating strawberries or other fruits? Add a comment below this post and we’ll get back to you! We’d also love to hear your suggestions on other great treat ideas for your horse!