safe treats for horses

Treats for horses -the good, the iffy, the bad!


Before we get started on this topic, let me just get a few things off my chest about horses and treats.


  • Some horses (not all) are perfectly fine getting treats and never develop any bad habits because of being hand-fed treats.


  • Some horses (not all) become more trainable and will work hard at learning new things for treats.


  • Some horses (not all) should not have some treats because of metabolic disorders, allergies, or other medical conditions.


horse eating a banana treat

Bananas are good, the peels are iffy.


What treats are toxic to horses?


    • Avocados
    • Broccoli
    • Cauliflower
    • Spinach
    • Raw garlic
    • Onions
    • Peppers
    • Tomatoes
    • Raw potatoes
    • Cabbage
    • Chocolate
    • Milk
    • Cheese
    • Yogurt


And as far as the chocolate goes, not really an issue as I have yet to meet anyone who wants to share their chocolate.


banana and carrot and apple horse treat

Keeping it fresh and simple.


What are some “iffy” treats for horses?

And by “iffy” I’m referring to treats that are high in sugar and starch, which are not good for the insulin resistant or Cushing’s horse or even the horse that needs to shed a few pounds.


    • Apples
    • Carrots
    • Candy (peppermints, sugar cubes)
    • Cooked potatoes
    • Store-bought treats with molasses


You CAN feed the metabolically challenged horse some small hay cubes or hay pellets as a treat. I like the small pellets unless you want to soak some of the larger cube varieties and feed in a bowl.


pumpkins stacked together

Pumpkin is usually just fine for horses! In moderation, of course.


Safe treats for horses, in moderation, and assuming your horse isn’t allergic.


    • Apples
    • Carrots
    • Bananas
    • Citrus fruits
    • Roasted peanuts (including shells)
    • Pumpkin
    • Watermelon and the rind
    • Celery
    • Berries



sugar cubes

Sugar cubes are nice because they dissolve, so a horse can enjoy one while wearing a bit.

I’m not a fan of allowing your horse to eat treats or grass while wearing a bit.


  • The treat mucks up your tack and runs the risk of not being properly chewed. The only exception may be a sugar cube, as the sugar dissolves and can help your horse soften his jaw and salivate on the bit more, which can help some horses in the training process.


  • Quick barn hack from a fan – use an empty and clean parmesan cheese dispenser to hold treats. The lid is perfect for dispensing smaller treats.


What does your horse like to eat for a treat?