Every person that has cared for horses knows that they love treats. Although treats do not have much nutritional value, they are an important part of your interaction with the animal. Treats can be used to reward or calm an animal. But what treats can be given to a horse?
Horses enjoy various fruits and vegetables. Do horses like eating watermelons? Absolutely! Unlike dairy products, they are not harmful. In fact, in Europe, it is common to give horses watermelon as snacks.
The portions must be cut into small bites. Serving large portions of any food is dangerous as the animal could choke or have a hard time digesting it.
But Which Part of Watermelon is Better?
Which part of the watermelon can be given to a horse? The truth is, both the sweet part and the rind are good for them! In fact, most foals prefer the rind. Instead of dumping them after eating the watermelons yourself, you could leave them in the stable for your livestock to enjoy.
Of course, watermelons do not provide much nutrition and should not be used as a substitute for proper feed like grass or hay. Watermelons are 90% water and the rest is sugar.
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How Much is Enough?
Horses should not be given large quantities of watermelons. The high sugar may pose a threat to the horse’s well-being especially if ingested daily. These treats should be eaten in moderation.
It is recommended to limit a horse’s consumption to two cups of watermelon rind per day.
Potential Problems Caused by Watermelon Consumption
Watermelon is not recommended for horses with high insulin resistance conditions such as equine Cushing’s disease.
As horses get older they have dental problems that make chewing difficult though they may still be able to eat the flesh without any difficulty.
Watermelon rinds are a rich source of fiber, potassium, and amino acids. They provide vitamins A, B6, and C. In other words, a heart-healthy snack for both humans and horses.
Fiber is essential in a horse’s diet. The horse’s gastrointestinal tract is a huge organ and it needs to be kept full. The fiber provides the bulk to keep the gut full and healthy. Amino acids keep the blood pressure low and support vascular health.
Fiber is also fat-free, contains no cholesterol, and has only 30 calories per 100g. and is low in sodium. All of which makes watermelon rinds one of the best possible treats you can feed a horse.
Mixing a few chunks with your horse’s feed will vary its meals and encourage him to eat everything. You can also mix the watermelon with wheat, oats, or сoсonut oil to make delicious treats that yоur horse will love.
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What Other Treats do Horses Enjoy?
Their usual favorite fruits are apples (without the core), berries, grapes, and watermelon. They can be both dried or raw, but it is important to be cut up into small pieces to avoid any choking hazards. Their favorite vegetables are carrots, lettuce, green beans, and celery.
Other treats that you can give your horse are sugar cubes (be careful to keep them small), pretzels, sunflower seeds, and oatmeal. Always consult a vet about your horse’s diet. Having a balanced nutrition-rich diet is crucial for a horse’s health.
Experiment by giving them various snacks. Make sure to not exclude their main feed.
And What Should be Avoided at All Costs?
Bear in mind that not everything is appropriate for horses to eat. They are lactose intolerant – they cannot consume cheese, milk, yogurt, and eggs. Other foods to avoid are avocado, meat, lawn clippings, and chocolate.
Nightshades are very dangerous for horses. This family also includes tomato, eggplant, and pepper. Horses are not attracted by the smell or taste of these vegetables. However, they may be tempted to eat the stems and leaves while they are growing if they have access to them in a pasture. They are toxic and affect the nervous system, sometimes resulting in death.
What Is Involved in a Horse’s Diet?
Horses can be demanding in their daily food intake. They are supposed to be fed hay and its contents and volumes vary with age. Forage for horses is usually divided into two categories – legumes and grasses.
Alfalfa is much more nutrient-dense than most grasses, making it an important part of a horse’s diet. It is known to contain more digestible energy, as well as crude protein and calcium while having less unneeded carbohydrates such as starches and sugars.
Horses fed mostly with grass hay might lack the nutrients contained in watermelon rinds. Therefore, this snack could be a great solution if your horse does not finish its food.
Are other melons good for a horse? If we are talking about honeydew, cantaloupe, Galia, or any other type of melon, horses can eat them. The nutritional value will vary with each fruit and of course, your horse might not like the taste of all of them but there’s no reason why they can’t eat any type of melon.
In conclusion, you can feed watermelon rinds to your equine pet. It is a common treat used by European horse owners and it is one of the healthiest choices.
I am a huge animal lover and have four dogs, a Labrador, Jack Russell, Pug, and Teacup Yorkie. I also have a cat and a Cockatiel. I have had pets since I was a toddler, and there was not a day when there wasn’t an animal in my house.