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Can Horses Eat Apples? What to Know Before Feeding

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Like many animals, horses enjoy eating treats. Feeding your horse treats is a great way to reward and bond with your horse as there are many fruits and vegetables they can enjoy.

So, can horses eat apples? Apples make wonderful treats for horses when given in moderation. Not only do horses love apples but apples also provide horses with important nutrients.

Apples can be given as a daily treat for your horse, as they love the crunchy texture and sweet flavor. It is important to note that you should not feed another person’s horse treats without their permission.

Before you give your horse apples as a treat, there are some helpful facts to know.

Can Horses Eat All of an Apple?

It is safe for a horse to eat all parts of the apple including the peel, core, and seeds. Horses are not picky and will enjoy eating an entire apple.

While some people may be concerned about feeding horses apple seeds because they contain amygdalin, it is not a concern. Amygdalin turns into hydrogen cyanide when it has been crushed or chewed and then metabolized. While hydrogen cyanide is toxic, it would take several hundred apple seeds consumed in a day to pose any sort of problem.

Since most apples only have between five to 10 seeds, it does not pose any threat to your horse. You can rest assured that your horse can safely enjoy an entire apple.

Can You Feed Whole Apples to a Horse?

You can feed whole apples to horses but it is best to feed apples in slices. Though most horses have no problem eating apples whole it can pose as a choking hazard.

Horse leaning over a fence eating an apple in its mouth
SergeyPerm73 / Shutterstock.com

Feeding apple slices is generally the best way to give your horse an apple as a treat. However, if you do feed whole apples be sure to monitor your horse while they are eating it to make sure they do not choke.

It is generally best to avoid giving older horses and small ponies whole apples as they can be challenging for them to eat.

Benefits of Feeding Apples

Feeding apples to your horse comes with several benefits. Not only are they an enjoyable reward for your horse but they are also a healthy snack as well.

Apples are full of essential vitamins and nutrients such as Vitamins A and C, and potassium. This helps support a healthy immune system while also promoting proper cardiovascular functions.

Apples also have fiber in them which can aid in a horse’s digestion. In addition, they are a great source of antioxidants which can help keep your horse healthy.

How Many Apples Can a Horse Eat a Day?

Generally, you want to stick with giving your horse one to two apples a day. Since apples naturally contain sugar, you do not want to overfeed them.

Feeding too many apples can potentially cause digestive problems in a horse such as colic. It is important to remember that apples are given as a treat so moderation is key to a balanced diet.

Close up of three whole red apples and one half appleClose up of three whole red apples and one half apple

Ways to Feed Your Horse Apples

Horses will love eating whole apples or apple slices. However, there are also other tasty ways you can feed horses apples as well. Horses will enjoy eating all varieties of apples, from Gala to Granny Smith.

Mixed in Feed

Apples can be chopped up and mixed into feed or bran mash. This is a great way to make your horse’s meals extra special.

Baked Apples

Baked apples make a tasty treat for horses. It is a particularly good option for older horses as it is easier for them to eat. Be sure to cut your baked apple into pieces before feeding it to your horse.

Homemade Apple Horse Treats

Homemade apple horse treats are a fun way to spoil your horse. You can use different ingredients such as oats, carrots, molasses, bananas, and pumpkin puree. Check out some great horse treat recipes here.

Applesauce

Applesauce is a special treat that your horse can enjoy on its own or mixed in feed. It is also a great option for older horses with dental problems and applesauce can even be used to administer certain medicines. Be sure to buy sugar-free applesauce for your horse.

When to Avoid Giving a Horse Apples

Though apples can be a wonderful treat for horses, not all horses should be given apples. Horses with insulin resistance should not be given apples due to their sugar content.

Since they contain potassium, apples should not be given to horses with Hyperkalemic periodic paralysis (HYPP). Apples should also not be given to horses with IR, EMS, or Cushing’s. When in doubt, it is always best to ask your veterinarian before feeding your horse treats.

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