Low sugar, low starch horse treats!


Low-sugar or no-sugar treats are best for horses teetering on being overweight, and horses with metabolic disorders like PPID, also known as Cushing’s Diease, or Insulin Resistance.  There at tons of treat options that you can purchase, some of which you can find in bulk, you can use what you have on hand, or make tasty snacks. 


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A few things about horse treats.


  • I love to feed treats after a ride, but I know that I do this more for me than my horse. I also know that if I feed treats daily, this becomes part of his diet, not just a treat. Consider what you are feeding if it happens every day.


  • I also believe that some horses will never learn to nip if you hand feed a horse cookie, and some horses will immediately only see you as a giant treat dispenser that must be bitten to dispense a cookie.


hay cubes

Delicious, and low starch & sugar, hay cubes.


The best low-sugar options for horse treats:


  • Give your horse a handful of his hay, from his next meal portion.


  • You can also give your horse a handful of his feed, from his next meal portion. Most horses don’t need the extra calories of a treat – so if you sneak some of his daily rations as a treat, everyone wins and his waistline stays healthy.


  • Use hay cubes. These last forever, are easy to store, delicious, and low in sugar. I’ve also never seen a horse not want to eat one. You may want to soak them before feeding.


Hay pellets are also delicious, and low sugar and low starch.


  • Use hay pellets. These are just like cubes, but smaller, and for some horses, this makes them easier to chew, and you generally don’t need to soak them.


  • If you insist on giving your horse some sort of fruit or veggies as a treat, there are definite things to avoid (read this for a complete list) and some horse treats that are MEH, OK.


watermelon slice with a few seeds


  • Watermelon rinds are low-sugar treats that many horses like. I know some horses that love these, and some that don’t.


  • The peel of an apple.



You can also make low-sugar horse treats.


  • You will need a bit of creativity and some trial-and-error horse cookie batches.


  • Ground and stabilized flax is an ideal base to start with. Freshly ground flax is only stable for about 15 minutes, so go for a stabilized version if that’s available.


  • You can add in oats or hay pellets if you like.


  • Find a way to bind all of your ingredients together. Applesauce, banana, and sometimes just water can bind it all together.


bananas and oats in a bowl


  • I’ve seen some recipes that call for molasses, but skip that if you want lower sugar in your horse treats. Some recipes suggest cinnamon or other spices, but these are not necessary.



  • Mix it all up, dollop things out, and bake. Go for about 350 degrees for 30-60 minutes and you should be good to go. And yes, you are right. I’m NOT a baker. Should you grease the sheet or line it with paper? Perhaps? Should you make sure your smoke detectors are functional before you start baking? Also perhaps?


How do you feed your horse some low-sugar goodness?


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