Feed a Pumpkin Treat

By October 31, 2012
White horse eating a pumpkin

Pumpkin is a fruit, though not all horses like it.

Don’t throw away those Halloween pumpkins!  Generally speaking, horses enjoy a pumpkin treat, and can do so safely. While pumpkins are often thought of as “vegetables,” they are a type of squash, and technically a member of the fruit family.

Give your horse a special Halloween treat by carving out a small pumpkin, saving some of the innards (including seeds) to mix with sliced apples and carrots. If you really want to get into the spirit of the season (as well as add a bit of color for the ensuing “photo op”) add some yellow squash. Top with a bit of molasses and you’re good to go.

If you live in a cold or damp clime, you might want to gently boil the filling first, creating a mash.

Most horses will eat the pumpkin shell, too, so if you’re not in a Martha Stewart mood, just tossing a pumpkin into the feed bin will do.

Horse head carved into pumpkin.

According to the Goodhorsekeeping blog, pumpkin seeds can have a salutary effect, preventing ulcers, because they’re “high in nitric oxide which is what the body needs to heal and repair, “ and have “anti-inflammatory properties and are useful with arthritis and other joint discomforts.”

Directions to carve a pumpkin as above

They are also high in minerals that help to increase bone density, support the immune system and are an anti-parasitic, so if you horse turns down the pumpkin, as some horses will, next year you might just try saving the seeds to mix in with regular snacks.

Other suggestions for seasonal treats: bore holes in some oblong squash and hang them from the stall ceiling; or, at Thanksgiving, save the sweet potato skins (note, regular potatoes are not considered safe for horses).

While horses can be somewhat finicky in their tastes (with some even turning their nose up at apples!), like other living creatures, they benefit from a varied diet, so it’s worth giving it a try.

If your horse has health issues, or special dietary needs, please do your own research and consult a veterinarian before introducing a new feed element.

Here is a safe/unsafe list of horse treats from Yahoo! Answers:

SAFE

~ Apples
~ Apricots
~ Bananas
~ Beets
~ Blackberries
~ Blueberries
~ Carrots
~ Celery
~ Cherries
~ Coconut
~ Corn
~ Dates
~ Figs
~ Grapes
~ Grapefruit
~ Horseradish
~ Lettuce
~ Mangoes
~ Oranges
~ Peaches
~ Pears
~ Pineapple
~ Plums
~ Pumpkin
~ Raisins
~ Rutabagas
~ Squash
~ Strawberries
~ Sweet Potatoes
~ Turnips
~ Watermelon (both rind and pulp)

UNSAFE

~ Avocado
~ Onions
~ Potatoes
~ Persimmons
~ Rhubarb
~ Tomatoes
~ Any other members of the nightshade family which includes peppers
~ Broccoli or Cauliflower (may cause gas, which in turn may cause gas colic)

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