Most people occasionally give their horse treats. How you give your horse treats, depends on the horse. Some horses are fine, while other horses get nippy. If your horse gets nippy or pushy, it me be a good idea to limit his/her treats, or put them in his feed bucket.
If you feed treats by hand always keep your hand flat so your horse cannot get your fingers mixed up with the treat. (ouch)
Treats can be an effective training tool. Many people use them to get their horses to do their stretching exercises or learn tricks. They can also be used as a reward for a job well done, or to help you catch them in the field.
Treats can be anything from sugar cubes, apples & carrots, to commercially made treats. If you chose commercially made treats, there is a wide variety from which to choose. Some treats are soft and have peppermints or sugar cubes inside; others are made with molasses and oats. Some have no sugar added while others include sugar. Your horses age and teeth may help determine whether you should give him/her hard or soft treats.
If your horse needs to limit his/her sugar intake, you may wish to try beet treats, or treats with no or limited added sugar. Read the label to find out the sugar content.
Treat flavors include apple, mint, carrot, watermelon, molasses, banana and more. You may have a picky horse that only likes one flavor, or a horse that will eat anything. You may have to try a few flavors to see which one your horse likes.
Some horse treats are even made with pill pockets. These are helpful if you have a horse that doesn’t like to take his medicine.
There are several foods that should never be given as treats. They include: lawn, hedge or garden clippings, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, potatoes, tomatoes, acorns and if you are competing, chocolate, as it could affect a blood test.
You know your horse best. How and when treats are given are up to you. Just be careful that you are not giving him/her too much sugar.