Who doesn’t love treats? Humans or horses, everyone fancies a delicious snack every now and then. But, horse treats serve another important purpose; they help you communicate your appreciation towards the horse. However, treats for horses can be tricky to deal with. Healthy treats get boring and unhealthy ones pose a health risk. It’s definitely something to fret on.
But, we come bearing good news! Our detailed buyer’s guide on the top 10 horse treats available in the market is just what you need to solve your problem. You’ll also find out some natural options and some DIY recipes to make at home.
So, get ready to learn all about safe treats for horses!
Our Top 3 Picks for Best Horse Treats
Before we move onto our list of top 10, here’s a quick view over the top 3.
|Probios Probiotic Treats||
|Ginger Ridge Stable Snax||
|Uckele Equi Treats||
10 Best Treats for Horses
You cannot just randomly pick a treat for your horse. These top 10 options have been carefully shortlisted keeping in mind their nutritional value and taste. Moreover, the price point is weighed against the quality of ingredients to ensure that only the best products make it to the list.
These butterscotch nugget treats are made for adult horses. Other than butterscotch, these treats come in three more flavors: carrot and spice, apple, and peppermint. This product offers vitamins and minerals packed into 300 pieces of treats per pack.
Your horse will likely love the taste of these treats. In fact, the company offers a refund if your horse dislikes their product. The more important factor is that these treats are not unhealthy. You can easily carry a handful of these bite-sized treats in your pocket to use during training.
The only downside that might bother you is that the packaging of these treats is not re-sealable. You will have to shift the treats in an air-tight container to preserve them.
The Probios treats are among the best healthy horse treats. They have a probiotic formula along with live, naturally occurring microorganisms. The flavor is apple and the treats are chewy.
Their formula aids digestion. They are also great for horses giving birth. The live microorganisms in these treats help maintain the balance of natural bacteria in horses who recently got an antibiotic treatment. Moreover, these probiotic treats are also a great option for horses that are weaning and traveling.
Unless you’re looking for these specific benefits in a treat, you may find that this product is pricier than other treats available in the market. Of course, the price is justified considering that it has strains of microbial products that have to be preserved during manufacturing so the cost is definitely higher.
Horse owners are usually highly concerned about the sugar content in horse treats. Well, with this product, you don’t have to worry about that. The low-sugar formula comes in multiple all-natural fruit and vegetable flavors to satisfy your horse’s sweet tooth. It also has lower starch than most commercial treats. The ingredients are free of artificial colors, too.
If your horse is picky with flavors, you’ll surely find something in the 5 unique flavors of this product. Moreover, this treat has a delicious taste that most horses love.
Make sure that when you order, it is from a fresh batch. Also, store the treats in a cold, dry place to avoid the treats from getting crumbly and moldy.
Wouldn’t it be a dream come true if all you had to do was to give your horse a treat to cheer it up and at the same time, guarantee the growth of a beautiful coat? Your wish can be granted with these Ginger Ridge treats that are crunchy, vanilla-flavored, and loaded with the goodness of flax seeds and omega-3 fatty acids. It is a GMO-free product.
These biscuits are great for ponies as well as adult horses. The simple, no-brainer vanilla flavor is a universal favorite so there should be no hassle with that. Moreover, the nitrogen flushed packaging guarantees that you will receive the product as fresh as possible.
Unless your horse hates crispy biscuits or vanilla flavor, there’s nothing about these treats that your horse wouldn’t love!
Natural sugars and antioxidants in these treats for horses are what make them a healthy choice. Flax seed meal and beet pulp are used to add a healthy sweetness. Your horse will get its vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, and selenium from these treats. This product is available in an apple flavor and a peppermint flavor.
The vitamins and antioxidants of this product help boost your horse’s immune system. With omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, the horse’s overall health will improve. Moreover, if you’re in search of treats for horses with laminitis, this product is a good option.
It has a crunchy texture so the horse might need some getting used before it falls in love with the delicious taste.
Your horse can enjoy the unique goodness of apple and banana combined in these all-natural treats. The product is free of soy, additional sugar, and artificial colors. This non-GMO product for your horse has ground timothy hay and sunflower seed meal in its contents instead of alfalfa meal.
Treats with alfalfa, even if they are low in sugar and starch, are not recommended for horses with laminitis. Therefore, the Uckele Equi treats are great for horses with this condition. Also, these treats won’t risk the dental health of your horse.
The product comes in two sizes; 4lb and 12oz. Make sure to double-check you’ve selected the right size as per your needs before confirming the order.
Here’s another rather healthier treat for your horses. Since this product has low starch and sugar content, it is already much better than most commercially available treats. Another plus point is that these treats are loaded with omega fatty acids. The recipe and formula are free of artificial preservatives.
If you’re looking for something to boost your horse’s joint pains and muscular tensions, this is a great product. The ingredients of this product also minimize inflammation. These treats also encourage restorations of cracked hooves, encourage the growth of a shinier coat, and soothe bug bites and sweet itches.
Ensure that you order from a fresh batch. Moreover, store the treats in a dry and cool environment to prevent them from getting stale and moldy.
Did you know that a solid block of salt can be a great hassle-free treat? This 100% natural salt block is full of potassium, iron, and magnesium. It is a solid block that won’t crack or fall to pieces due to licking. You can hang this treat wherever your horse can easily reach and let go of all worries.
Since it is a natural product, there is no worry whatsoever about overfeeding this treat. The horse can walk to the salt block whenever it feels the need. While the horse’s boredom is catered to, the pure minerals and vitamins from the salt benefit the health with an electrolyte boost.
The only con with this product is that your horse will either absolutely love it or not want to even try it. Start by ordering a smaller block of salt and test it out before committing to a 7.7-pound brick.
These crunchy horse cookies have been labeled the number one horse treat by many horse journals. What makes them so loved is their all-natural ingredient list. Rolled barley, oats, cane molasses, wheat bran, and apples make up most of the treat.
The dehydrated texture of these cookies makes them perfect to carry in your pocket to use during training. Since the recipe is free of additives and preservatives, it won’t pose any health risks.
You can purchase this product without worry because the company offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.
The Peppermint Paddies by Dover Saddlery Paddock Cakes are a chewy treat. Each treat has a peppermint candy stuffed in the middle. It is a nutritious horse treat made with oats, apples, cane molasses, and a lot of other healthy ingredients.
If you’re looking for peppermint treats for horses, this is a reliable brand to consider. It offers a different texture with a burst of peppermint flavor when the horse is halfway through eating it.
It is a pricier treat option. Start with a small pack to ensure that your horse enjoys this new texture and flavor before investing in a bigger pack.
What to Consider When Buying Healthy Horse Treats?
- With the availability of so many great options, it gets harder to choose safe treats for horses due to the additional confusion. The following tips will help you shortlist the best of the best treats that you can feed your horses.
- Start with a credible company. Now, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try out a new company. However, make sure that they are following the production guidelines, conduct tests, and manufacture the treats within the USA or Canada.
- Never purchase anything for your horse without checking the ingredients. Artificial sugars, complex carbohydrates, BHA, BHT, and anything that you think you’re not familiar with should be an instant NO. Go home, research, consult a vet and then come back if you think the product is good enough.
- Of course, products that your horse is allergic to should be avoided at all costs. Any sensitivity, conditions, and special needs of your horse should be kept in mind. So, for example, if the horse is prone to laminitis, sugars, starch, and alfalfa must be avoided. If you wish the horse would have a shinier coat, go for treats with higher contents of omega fatty acids.
- You must also be vigilant of a few ingredients that sound harmless but are completely off-limits. Chocolate, for instance, is poisonous to most animals including horses.
- Other than ingredients, the texture of the treats matters, too. Some horses prefer chewy treats whereas others like a dry and crunchy biscuit. Flavors are yet another decisive factor. You’ll have to try out a few different options before you figure out what your horse likes and dislikes.
Natural Healthy Horse Treats
You don’t necessarily need to get commercially packed treats. If you’re thinking of feeding treats to your horse, look around. You’ll find the best horse treats for training within your kitchen!
These tiny, chewy treats are one safe source of sugars for your horse. Since they are small, you can use them as a training treat. What’s even better is that there is no such thing as too many raisins. The only thing that will happen is that your horse’s digestive system will strengthen.
Juicy, sweet, and a very different texture than any other horse treat out there; grapes make a remarkable choice of horse treats. Seedless or not, grapes are safe and nutritious.
Has your horse got a sweet tooth? Well, bananas may be the perfect healthy solution. Other than satisfying the sweet cravings of your horse, bananas also provide a lot of energy. They are a great source of potassium. You can offer a banana as it is, with the peel on, and watch your horse devour it.
Next in line are cherries. You can give your horse these treats to fulfill the levels of vitamin A and C in their bodies. However, you must remove the stem, cut the cherries in half, and remove the pit before letting your horse eat it.
A lot of horse owners ask whether celery is safe for horses or not. Well, celery is not just safe, but also a recommended snack. The leaves and the stem are packed with numerous vitamins and a lot of potassium. Offer this goodness to your horse by chopping up the leaves and stems to avoid the risk of choking.
Pumpkins are yet another safe vegetable for horses. It can be eaten with or without seeds. Either way, it is loaded with vitamin A.
However, we recommend slicing it up in small cubes instead of feeding big chunks. This minimizes the risk of choking. The mildly sweet taste paired with the small cube shape will give the horse a sugar-cube-like feeling, in case your horse is being picky about eating it any other way.
If you’ve got some extra cucumbers with no other use, take them to your horse and watch the veggies disappear in minutes! Vitamin A, K, C, potassium, and loads of dietary fiber, all from one source of food. What more could you ask for? Make sure you thoroughly rinse the cucumbers if you plan on feeding them without peeling off the skin.
This isn’t all. There’s more from your fruit and vegetable section you can try out. Here are some options:
- Snow peas
Treats Not to Give Your Horse
Although there are a lot of things from the pantry that your horse can enjoy, not all ‘normal’ things around you are safe for them. The following items must never be fed to a horse.
Chocolates contain a chemical called theobromine. A lot of animals, including horses, are sensitive to it. Moreover, horses are also allergic to cocoa. Eating chocolate can lead to seizures, internal bleeding, and other serious health complications. If your horse ate even a small amount of chocolate, it will translate into a drug test which leads to disqualification from horse competitions.
Neither tomatoes nor their leaves are safe for horses. The atropine from the leaves causes colic and other gut issues. The hyoscyamine from the tomato itself leads to elevated heart rate, affects intestinal functions, decreases saliva production, and causes severe constipation or diarrhea.
Onions & Garlic
All vegetables from the Allium family are toxic to horses. They contain N-propyl di-sulfide which damages the red blood cells in horses. This can worsen and lead to anemia.
Dairy Products (e.g. Yogurt)
All dairy products contain lactose. All adult horses are lactose intolerant. Feeding a horse dairy products will reap the same result as if a lactose intolerant human consumed them. It will cause indigestion that further leads to diarrhea.
A horse’s digestive system is unable to digest bread and other baked items. They form a blockage in the gastrointestinal system that leads to other issues such as, colic.
While the pulp of avocadoes is completely harmless, even the smallest bit of the peel, pit, or leaves is toxic for horses. It isn’t a risk worth taking hence avoid feeding them to your horse.
Horses are herbivores. This means that their entire digestive system, from the teeth to their liver to their gastrointestinal functions, is designed only to digest plant-based food. Meat is completely indigestible and eating it can lead to serious health concerns.
If a horse can eat grass, it would be fine to feed it clipped grass, too. As much as this sentence makes sense, this isn’t the case. Lawn clipping could contain parts of a toxic plant. Moreover, lawn clipping can very quickly get moldy. Either way, eating them is a risk that could cause laminitis or colic in horses.
Homemade Horse Treat Recipes
Now that we’re done with natural ready-to-offer treats, let’s talk about some of the best horse treats that you make yourself. The best part is that you cannot only monitor the exact ingredients and their quality but the added love and care make them more special.
These recipes of treats for horses are simple, delicious, and nutritious!
Recipe # 1: Horse Cookie Crunchies
If you were worried about how to feed a horse an apple, this recipe is the solution.
Take 2 ½ cups of oats. Add in as many shredded apples and carrots as your horse would like. Mix these ingredients with 1 cup of molasses and 2 tablespoons of oil. Once the entire mixture is well combined, bake it at 400 degrees for 40 minutes. Once cool, cut small rectangles and serve them to your horse.
Recipe # 2: Apple Oatmeal Horse Treat
These chewy treats are great for horses who dislike eating apples.
In ¾ cups of flour, mix 3 cups of instant oatmeal with 1 cup of applesauce and ¼ cup of molasses. Scoop small balls of the batter on a greased baking tray. Bake them at 375 degrees. The treats should be ready in 15 to 20 minutes. Make sure to store these cookies in an air-tight jar.
Recipe # 3: Easy Jet No-Bake Cookies
In a large mixing bowl, mix together ¾ cups of instant oats, ¾ cups caster sugar, ¾ cups granola, ¼ cup apple chips, and ½ cup peanut butter. In case of peanut allergies, substitute peanut butter with sun butter. Make small balls of the mixture and let them rest. Once hardened, your treats are ready!
Recipe # 4: Easy Carrot Horse Treat
Take 2 cups of grated carrots. Mix them with ¼ cup molasses, 2 tablespoons oil, a pinch of salt, 1 cup flour, and 1 cup oats. Make a dough. Next, roll 1-inch balls and bake them at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.
Recipe # 5: Earth Muffins
Soak ¼ cup of flax seeds in warm water. Meanwhile, in a bowl, mix ½ cup of organic sugar, 2 cups of oat flour, 2 cups of oatmeal, 1 teaspoon sea salt, and ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon. Add in the soaked flax seeds.
In a lined muffin tray, place one frozen berry in each muffin section. Pour the prepared batter over it. Bake it at 375 degrees for 20 minutes and the muffins are ready!
Commercial Horse Treats vs Natural Horse Treats
Speaking of homemade horse treats, it would be natural to wonder whether commercial treats are better or natural ones. The truth is, both have their pros and cons.
Commercial treats require no time input. All you have to do is purchase the product that suits the life stage of your horse. If you get a quality product, the nutritional value of these treats is also guaranteed.
Meanwhile, commercial treats are expensive. They tend to have high sugar content. If not stored properly, they can get stale rather quickly.
With natural treats for horses, there is no question whatsoever about the ingredients and their quality. They are pocket-friendlier, healthier, and easier on the digestive system.
On the downside, natural options aren’t always free of chemicals. The risk of pesticides lingers. Moreover, these treats have to be made fresh because they go bad quickly, hence, they require more time and effort.
So, at the end of the day, it’s all about personal preferences and specific situations. After all, you’re the best judge of what’s right for your horse.
Should You Offer Your Horse Treats in the First Place?
Is feeding treats to horses even necessary? Do you even have to go through the hassle of either choosing the right commercial product or making a treat at home?
The reason why treats are used is to communicate a sense of appreciation. This is a reward for good behavior or following instructions. Animals cannot understand emotions or words, so treats work well in this regard. Especially for training purposes.
The concern arises when it comes to the additional calories from the treats. Of course, just because you’re offering treats, you won’t cut down calories from the regular meals of the horse.
A simple solution to this is to opt for healthier options. That would mean treats with minimal sugar and starch content, high-quality ingredients, and some sort of health benefit. For example, several commercially available horse treats provide vital minerals and vitamins the needs of which aren’t otherwise fulfilled.
Truth be told, even if you’re using the healthiest treats, it is best to use a reasonable amount only. Specific treats, such as ones for horses with laminitis, serve a greater purpose than just appreciation.
Basically, you shouldn’t eliminate treats from your horse’s routine. But, you must ensure that firstly, the treats are healthy and nutritious, and secondly, they aren’t being overused.
Horse Treat Best Practices
So treats are important. But you have to keep some things in mind to guarantee that the treats are bringing goodness to your horse instead of harm.
- Use a mix of natural and commercial treats
- Do not compromise on the quality of the treats you use
- Only offer treats in a limited quantity
- Keep your horse’s allergies and health condition in mind while picking the right treats
- Since treats are meant to serve as a reward, use the flavors and textures that your horse loves
- Keep the treats in your hand while feeding them to your horse. If you bring them out of your pocket every time, the horse might make it a habit to poke your pocket
FAQs Related to Horse Treats
You have almost become a horse treat expert by now. However, if you still have questions, these FAQs will answer those.
If a horse treat was made at home, it probably has human-safe ingredients. On the other hand, the grains used in commercial horse treats are harder to digest. So, whether horse treats can be consumed by humans or not depends on the product ingredients.
Sometimes, you may read ingredients that sound easily digestible. For example, you may think a horse treat with oats will be fine. However, the oats used in treats made for horses have hulls. They are indigestible in the human body. The safest solution is to avoid horse treats even if the ingredients seem to be human-friendly. It is not a risk worth taking.
Baby carrots are perfect to feed horses as they are. If you’ve got large carrots, keep in mind the size and length of baby carrots and try to replicate them. Basically, you have to cut long and thin slices of carrots instead of chunks or cubes.
The finger-like cutting requires the horse to be calm and eat slowly. Therefore, there is no chance of choking. On the other hand, cubes or chunks can be swallowed before they are chewed properly so it could tempt a horse to get greedy which may lead to choking.
If your horse is mannered enough to chew the food before swallowing it, a whole apple is fine. However, due to the risk of choking, it is recommended that you chop it in some way.
You can also slice an apple, cut it into cubes, or grate it. Apple sauce is another option. If you’ve got extra time on your hands, add molasses and oats to grated apples to serve as a delicious treat.
Horses can eat a lot of human foods but that doesn’t mean they can eat everything from your kitchen. The following foods should never be fed to a horse:
Onions and garlic
Raisins, apples, carrots, sunflower seeds, peppermint, grapes, cherries, celery, blueberries, pitted dates, and bananas are all safe for horses.
Horses are pretty easy to choose treats for. You can get horse-safe treats from the market in numerous flavors and textures. If you want to choose something from your kitchen, there are plenty of options. You can also make treats yourself using easy horse treat recipes.
Horses love sweet treats. For healthier sweet options, you can opt for fruits such as bananas, apples, and watermelon.
Other than that, what your horse loves is a personal preference. Some horses prefer chewy treats while others like a crunchy cookies. Some will love homemade treats while others will only want commercial ones. Try and test different options to figure out your horse’s favorites.
Peanut butter is safe for horses but whether it is good or not depends on the quantity you’re offering. Since peanut butter contains sugar, the amount you offer your horse should be restricted. You can add a spoon or two of peanut butter in homemade horse treat recipes to enhance the flavors.
Some horses are allergic to peanuts. Of course, peanut butter is not safe for such animals.
Carrots are safe for pet horses. But, if not cut in the right way, carrots can choke and even prove to be fatal.
Make sure to slice carrots in thin, long fingers. Keep in mind the size and shape of baby carrots. Any bigger, thicker, or even smaller slices can be hazardous.
If you’re still confused, our recommendation would be the Uckele Equi Apple-Banana Horse Treat. It is a safe option for most common horse conditions along with its nutritional benefits. However, before adding anything new to the horse’s diet, consult your vet to check that all ingredients are suitable.
In the end, it is safe to say that feeding treats to horses isn’t just a luxury. It is a necessary step of training. But, to make sure that by doing so you aren’t risking your horse’s health, give them in moderation. More importantly, choose only the best products. So, go ahead and order a commercial treat or make your favorite recipe to treat your horse!