Designing a nutritious diet for your horse is a cornerstone of good horse care. Many horse owners wonder about which fresh vegetables that can safely feed their horse as a treat or for added nutrition. Many owners have discovered that they can entice their picky eaters to eat their feed better when it's paired with vegetables they like. The following are three of the best fresh veggies you might want to add to your horse's diet. Conveniently, you can even pick them up at the grocery store or your local farm stand.
Like any treat, it's important to exercise moderation when feeding your horse extras like fresh vegetables or fruit. Carrots contain beta carotene, which is a precursor of essential vitamin A. Horses need vitamin A for healthy skin, hair, eyes, bone development, and even mucous membranes. Although horses tend to get plenty of vitamin A from fresh pasture, this is not necessarily the case during winter when horses have to rely more heavily on feed rather than their pasturelands. Keep in mind, however, that too much vitamin A isn't a good thing either. Vitamin A can be toxic if over-supplemented. Even so, don't be afraid to treat your equine pal to a carrot now and then.
Nutritionally speaking, parsnips are fairly similar to carrots. These vegetables that many of us add to our soups make great treats for horses. Parsnips are low in sugar, which makes them an ideal treat for horses. If you horse isn't fond of carrots, you might give parsnips a try as many picky horses do like them. As with carrots, be sure to clean them to ensure that they are free of any dirt or debris before you feed them to your horse. You'll also want to give them to your horse in moderation just like carrots.
On a hot day, a crunchy piece of celery makes for a nice treat for your horse. Celery contains no harmful chemicals, so it makes sense to keep it on hand. With no seeds or excess carbohydrates and sugars, celery is a smart option when it comes to equine treat giving. Because celery is rich in fiber, it's actually quite good for your horse. Moreover, with its high water content, celery can also help keep your horse hydrated. Experts suggest only feeding your horse a moderate amount of celery. Horses may like it so much that they risk filling up on celery rather than their feed, which they need to support optimum health.
Other vegetables you might consider offering to your horse in small amounts include turnips, cucumbers, and beetroots. Vegetables that are off limit for horses include onions and potatoes. If you are concerned about the amount of fresh vegetables you should feed to your particular horse, talk to your veterinarian and ask about their recommendations. Remember there are also various fruits that you can feed to horses, too, like apples and bananas. However, be sure to feed these sparingly as they contain lots of natural sugars.