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Treats that aren't much of a treat 

           Treats aren't always a great idea. Remember that sweet feed, especially in large quantities is not really very good for your horse. If your horse is already getting a lot of sweet feed, molasses oat muffins may just be enough to tip your horse into that "founder"  he's already on the brink of.  Instead of sweet feed pressed into intresting shapes, try a plain apple or carrot, or even more exotic foods can be experimented with. Bananas?  Kiwi? Sweet Potato? What intresting tid-bit will your horse try and love? Adding these little things can add some intresting variety to his diet, avoid that founder trap and you still get that high of spoiling your horse.
          Speaking of spoiling-TIMING and HOW you treat your horse can be important. Personally, I rarely, if ever, hand feed anything. I do "treat" my horses, just on the ground or in their feed bucket. I have MORE trouble with pushy critters expecting a treat at any moment than I do wild horses, in general. The pushy horse mugging you for treats pushes and leans on me, making my work so much more difficult and dangerous. If your horse won't stand still without a treat, he needs his ground manners refreshed, not a cookie to reward difficult behavior.  If you want to treat your horse after I'm done working on his feet, by all means, please do. But if your horse is mugging you while I work, I can't do my job to my full potential, especially if I have to worry about my ears being nibbled on.  So please, save the rewards until AFTER I'm done doing my job and your horse has stood well for me.

Tricks to Treating 


  1. Drop the treats in a bucket or on the ground. It can help save you from being "mugged" for treats if they never come straight from your person. Also, bigger items such as apples or carrots spread around on the ground encourages a healthy, head down eating position and "foraging" for the treats squeezes in more exercise.
  2. Pick healthy alternatives. Horses can eat a large variety of things you might not think of. It can be fun to find out what they like. Things to avoid are spicy peppers or meats. Walnuts are a no-no (the shells and wood products from walnut trees are highly toxic and induce laminitis from contact alone). Most fruits and veggies are perfectly safe.
  3. Don't 'treat' during vet visits or farrier visits. It usually distracts the horse and can make things more difficult for the professional. Save treats for after the visit.
  4. All things in moderation. One or 2 apples or a cup of sunflower seeds  is all that's needed. Too much of anything could lead to colic or founder, so remember to keep things in proportion.
  5. If you do choose to hand feed; Don't treat if your horse is being pushy or frisking you for them. That's a clear indicator he's not respecting your space and the treat is not a treat anymore. Also, if your horse isn't trained well enough to understand about respecting your space, then he's not ready to be "treated" by hand. There are better ways to gentle your horse first.

                                                                                                                                      Happy Halloween!

Black Cat