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What Vegetables Can Horses Eat?

Updated July 20, 2017

Horses like to eat a wide variety of food, and the sampling of different foods ensures horses maintain diversity in their diets. One way to introduce variety to a horse's diet is by feeding them vegetables as treats. Not all horses enjoy every vegetable they try, but the good news is there are many vegetables that are safe for equine consumption. Horses may be wary of vegetables because they are not sweet like fruits, but will usually eat and want them again.

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Root Vegetables

Carrots, swedes (also known as rutabagas), turnips, beetroots (or beets) and parsnip are all good choices in the root vegetable family to feed to horses. Carrots are a well-known and favourite vegetable treat among many horses, but they also can indulge in these other lesser-known vegetables.

Greens

Peas, green beans, lettuce and celery offer a healthy vegetable choice certain to please a hungry horse. These vegetables can be given regularly to keep horses healthy, happy and hungry for more.

Vegetable Preparation

Vegetables should be prepared in a specific way so that the horse is not harmed. Vegetables must be cut into small strips before they are acceptable to feed to horses. Serving vegetables in chunks to horses presents a choking hazard and should always be avoided. Vegetables should never be mouldy or rotten, as a horse can get very sick from these. Vegetables should always be thoroughly cleaned before presenting them to a horse, as it is necessary the vegetables be as clean and chemical-free as possible.

Special Considerations

For the most part, there are many vegetables that horses can safely eat. However, there are certain vegetables that must be avoided for various reasons: avocados, raw potatoes and onions. These vegetables have the potential to make a horse sick and should not be given to the animal.

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About the Author

Jen Johns is a freelance writer and proofreader based in Pennsylvania. She has worked as a proofreader for publishing companies since 2007, editing books and professional journals. Johns holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania and is pursuing a master's degree in communication studies at Shippensburg University.

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