Feeding horses treats can be a controversial topic, however there are cases when I feel treats can be beneficial in training. In fact, I personally believe that treats are best used in training situations, instead of just fed on the owner’s whim, or at the end of a ride, when a horse will no longer make the connection between his performance and the intended reward. But personal opinions aside, most horse owners do enjoy providing a tasty treat for their horse, and here are my favorites.
You can’t beat carrots and apples for a treat that your horse will love and that is economical too. I love to buy the big bags of carrots and then cut them up into little pieces. The downside of these snacks is that they will spoil outside at the barn if it is really hot in the summer (especially after being cut up), or they can freeze in the winter, so they are difficult to keep ready to go at the barn. With good intentions, I buy carrots and keep them in the fridge at home, but always forget to actually take them to the barn when I leave.
Because of this, I have grown to love Bite Size Nuggets by Manna Pro. There are lots of horse treat manufacturers out there and many make some delicious looking artisan horse treats, but they are too large and usually too expensive to feed frequently during a training session. The Bite-Size nuggets by Manna Pro are the perfect size for a quick reward, and they come in convenient reseal able bags that keep just fine on feed room shelves. The nuggets come in Apple, Carrot and Spice, Peppermint, and Butterscotch, but although I have purchased all four flavors I can’t say I can distinguish my horse’s preference. They seem to just love them all!
Now here is the mother of all horse treats… back when I was a kid, I used to celebrate my horse’s birthday by preparing a carrot cake… and not the kind with cream cheese icing. I would take the pulp leftover after juicing carrots and mold it into a round cake, then top it off with carrot and apple slices, and finally a drizzle of molasses. Talk about a delectable equine confection!
I do want to remind you to read the labels of treats, and be careful not to feed too many. A lot of treats, carrots and apples included, do contain high amounts of sugar and can upset your horse’s digestive system if fed in large quantities.
What is your horse’s favorite treat? Or what was the most unusual thing that he accepted as a treat? Tell us in the comments!
Also, there are links for Bite-Size nuggets from Manna Pro below.