Making treats for the horse in your life is not only fun, it allows you to tailor the treats your horse’s taste – whether they are picky or on a special diet – which is something you can’t always do with store-bought choices.
It also allows you make them in the size and texture you want. For example, maybe you have minis and want tiny treats, or want a soft, easy-to-eat treat for training.
To start, let’s talk about ingredients. Here are some basic “horse friendly” ingredients. Remember to go light on the sugar! Although horses love it, some have medical issues such as insulin resistance or Cushing’s that require low starch/sugar diets. So if you are unsure about an ingredient, ask your vet first.
- Oats (rolled, whole, steel cut)
- Whole Wheat Flour
- Brown Sugar
Fruits and Veggies:
- Sweet potatoes
- Coconut Oil
- Apple Sauce
- Peppermint (you can give them all natural candies but remember to check the sugar. Do NOT feed sugar free as some of those sweeteners may not be safe for your horse. Remember to ask your vet if unsure)
Foods to avoid
- Cherries (some say these are safe, some sources say no, to be safe, we put them on this list)
- Maple Syrup
- Peaches (like cherries, some say peaches are safe, we are erring on the side of caution)
- Raw potatoes
- Raw Garlic
For more information on plants and foods that are toxic to equines, visit the ASPCA’s list.
Making Horse Treats
Once you have decided on the treats you want to make your horse, assembling them is easy. As long as you choose a type of flour and/or oats, one or two fruits/veggies, oil or apple sauce and a sugar (optional), your treats will work fine.
When measuring ingredients, you want to keep the ratio of dry and liquid ingredients roughly equal, so that you make a batter that is not too dry or too sticky. You can adjust your amounts as you experiment.
In general, set your oven for 350 degrees F. This temperatures works well for most combinations.
You can put your treats in a pan lined with parchment paper or roll into balls and set on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Cook time will depend on your treats, with average baking time being around 20-30 minutes. After 10 minutes, avoid burning by checking every 5 minutes. You want them firm and slightly brown.
Remove from oven and if you put them in a pan, you can cut them into squares after cooling 5-10 minutes.
Store all treats in an air-tight container for storage. Since there are no preservatives, it’s best to use them within a week (your horse won’t complain!).
If you need inspiration on what to bake, check out Food.com, they have quite a few horse treat recipes, include these yummy “D-Ring Delights.”
Do you have a favorite treat recipe? Share it in the comments for your fellow horse lovers to try!