about Horse Treats
Jane R. BicksD.V.M.
As I walk into barn after barn, small and large, I am very pleased to
note that most of these horse owners have developed some type of health
care program for their horses. It usually encompasses shelter, feeding,
grooming, and exercise. However, I had no idea that so many horse owners
supplemented their equine's daily meal, often including more than one
supplement as part of the daily nutritional program for their horse.
I found that most of the daily nutritional programs generally include a
concentrated grain feed (100% complete & balanced or consisting of
individual cereals), forage, either fresh or dried, and one or more
supplements that correspond with problems the horse may have as well as
general nutritional support similar to our daily multi vitamin/mineral
supplement we take, and treats.
The ingredients obtained in the many of the supplements include
synthetic or natural vitamins, minerals, electrolyte mixes,
antioxidants, oils or fatty acids, whole foods such as brewers yeast,
mushrooms, aloe vera, garlic, RiceX TM (bran), herbs, fruits and
Treats are becoming more popular then ever. Horses are often given
treats daily or at particular times only. Most of the treats consist of
cereals including barley, oats or corn, molasses, dried carrots or
apples, and may have vitamins and minerals added.
Many of the treats are preserved naturally, but others are chemically
preserved. Few of the treats offered nutritional benefits other than the
major ingredients that are included in them.
It seems as if treats are selected based on their price and smell.
I don't think that many of the horse owners realize that the giving
of treats is part of their daily care for their horse. They
are still being treated as an accidental addition even though they are
incorporated into the horse’s daily routine.
Since most horse owners take the time to map out some type of a care
plan for their horse (sophisticated or very simple), I firmly believe
that treats must be taken more seriously.
If they are going to be given, then they should offer the horse an
explicit health benefit. Their ingredients should be read and
price should NOT be the only selection criteria.
The decision to give treats can be based on their usage as motivational
tools or simply as a gift. The nutrients within the treats are
supplemental to the horses daily nutritional program and have the
opportunity to supply the horse with a healthy variety of nature based
ingredients that enhance your horse's health without the need to be
given daily and in specific amounts.
of the ingredients that I favor include:
* Brewers, sele-nized, or
nutritional yeast, or RiceX TM Stabilized Rice Bran. These ingredients
provide a naturally balanced source of B vitamins, amino acids (protein
components), and minerals.
Any treat containing these nutrients would enhance any good hoof care
program. While all of these ingredients support a healthy immune system,
RiceX TM has become a favorite of mine.
Perhaps it is because of the ongoing university study that has been
investigating it's positive over all health benefits as well as it's
contribution to a healthy immune system. I love the fact that RiceX TM
contains over 70 antioxidants!
* Apples provide soluble fiber
and are excellent sources of vitamin C. While horses have never been
thought to require additional vitamin C, many believe that older horses
benefit from the addition of Vitamin C.
Vitamin C was one of the earlier antioxidants studied and was made
famous by Dr. Linus Pauling. Just 100 gms of an entire un-peeled fresh
apple contains 1500 mg of vitamin C. Vitamin C is needed for bone and
tissue growth, as well as being an excellent antioxidant.
Apple Sauce delights the most finicky horse. When the skin is included,
we have a rich source of Pectin, a healthy soluble fiber which supports
a healthy digestive tract.
* Maple Syrup, and honey are
natural sweeteners which enhance taste and provide a horse treat with
Pure maple syrup for example, is the concentrated portion of maple sap.
Sap provides the trees with water and nutrients for the formation of
buds and leaves. Included within maple syrup is an array of naturally
balanced minerals which can be considered as an additional source of
potassium and calcium.
It supplies a concentrated source of energy contributed by it's high
amount of digestible carbohydrates.
* Honey has been called
nature's gift to mankind. It is made by bees from the nectar of flowers.
Some of it's positive health benefits are contributed by it's B vitamin
content and rich mineral supply particularly potassium. Also included in
its health benefits is its own particular antioxidant named pinocembrin.
* Flax Seed meal is an
excellent source of fatty acids, particularly omega 3 fatty acids, known
for it's contribution to a healthy looking skin & coat as well as an
enhancement to many allergy and immune support programs.
Most people don't realize that is also contains protein, vitamins,
minerals and antioxidants. If I were to put it into a category of
natural ingredients, I would add it to the one containing RiceX TM
stabilized rice bran. Both can be considered to be a well rounded food
* Friendly Bacteria such as
acidophillus is generally part of a program to enhance nutrient
digestion. It is used in senior or debilitated horses. It is generally
given as a powder, liquid or paste supplement. It is recommended by
veterinarians in times of stress.
* Glucosamine, chondroitin
sulfate and MSN are popular supplements for aging horses or are part of
a healthy bone program. These can be given individually, or in
combination. Like most supplements, these are available in powder form,
and in paste.
a veterinarian that is primarily concerned with the nutrition of
animals, I urge horse owners to purchase those treats that contain one
or more of the ingredients mentioned above.
For example, if your horse's daily care includes grooming, one or two
daily meals with the addition of a skin and coat supplement, hay, and
pasture turn out time with treats given at various times, it only makes
sense that the treats you give ADD more to the horse than grain and
The inclusion of RiceX TM, brewers yeast, flax seed meal, or wheat germ
given daily or at odd times, makes treat giving more than just a
gesture. It give us the opportunity to fortify our horse's health with
true natural balanced nutrition.
We know that you are very concerned about the health of your equine
friend. To assist horse owners like yourself, have treats that are
Highly Nutritious with Top Quality Ingredients that will be beneficial
to your horse