Dates are fruity, fresh and simply delicious.
But does that automatically make them an ideal snack for horses?
In this article, we tell you whether horses can eat dates and what you should pay attention to when feeding them so as not to harm your animal.
Are horses allowed to eat dates?
If you feed your horse a date now and then, this will certainly not harm your animal – as long as you remove the pit first!
However, you should keep in mind that dates contain a lot of sugar and should therefore not be fed to overweight or sick horses.
Dates also contain many vitamins and other nutrients that are healthy for your horse. Feeding dates can also have a positive effect on the intestines.
Why are dates good and bad for horses at the same time?
Dates are rich in fiber and vitamins, which makes them very healthy for your horse. At the same time, however, they have a relatively high sugar content, which can be detrimental to your horse’s health.
If your horse suffers from EMS or is prone to laminitis, dates should not be fed.
It is also highly recommended for overweight animals to resort to an alternative.
If your horse is healthy, however, you can safely feed four or five pitted dates in conventional or dried form per week. For older animals, dates can even help to revive their spirits.
Although dates are naturally beneficial to the intestines, they may not be tolerated by some horses.
Therefore, watch your animal carefully when you feed it dates for the first time and stop feeding it immediately if you notice that they are not good for your four-legged friend.
In the next paragraph, we will talk about well-tolerated and even healthier alternatives to dates, in order to diversify your horse’s diet.
Of course, the snacks listed can also be fed simply as a reward or token of love in between meals.
What alternatives are there that are healthier than dates?
Although dates have some positive properties, they are only healthy in very small quantities.
For this reason, we would now like to list a few alternatives that you can feed your four-legged friend in larger quantities and thus partly also as training snacks.
We have also looked for healthy snacks that can be fed to allergy sufferers and overweight horses.
Most horses can’t get enough of carrots and even prefer the sweet vegetable to grass in the pasture.
Due to the fairly high water content, they provide additional fluid, especially in summer, and do the horse really good.
This vegetable is a healthy vitamin bomb, but it has quite a high sugar content. Nevertheless, carrots can be fed to almost all horses without hesitation – and in large quantities.
For every 100 kg of horse weight, you can feed up to 1 kg of carrots per day (!) without any negative effects.
You don’t have to worry about giving your horse one carrot more or less, because overdosing is very unlikely.
Give your horse his daily snack in the form of a few yellow beets or use chopped carrots as training treats.
- dried rose hips
Small, rich in vitamins and low in calories to boot! Rose hips are ideal as a training snack for all horses – even the overweight candidates.
You can feed up to a handful of rose hips daily without any negative consequences.
Rose hips can easily be fed over a long period of time and are very healthy. Many horses like the sweet and sour taste of the fruit wholeheartedly and are therefore happy to receive the treat.
Since rose hips are rather rare in the trade, it is recommended to look for wild rose hip bushes in your area.
- apple pomace
If you want to make your horse’s food a little more palatable, add a little apple pomace.
Don’t be put off by the supposedly high sugar content, as apple pomace is very digestible and also suitable for EMS horses as well as animals prone to laminitis.
This is due to the fact that the sugar of apple pomace does not affect the insulin level of the horse.
What is the best way to feed dates to my horse?
Dates can be fed fresh or dried. It is important that you always remove the pit before feeding the fruit.
You should also know that the sugar content is higher in dried fruit. There is nothing wrong with occasionally feeding individual dates without the pit, but as a regular snack, feeding dates is not recommended.
FAQ – frequently asked questions
Does feeding dates change the nature of my horse?
Due to the high sugar content, your horse may get a real energy kick if you feed dates regularly.
Therefore, your horse may perform more joyful humps in the pasture or be more restless than usual in the stable or when riding, because it wants to get rid of the pent-up energy.
Especially with old horses this effect can be an advantage, because many old horses have a very low energy level by nature.
- Can my horse get sick from feeding dates?
If you feed your horse too large amounts of dates, it is quite possible that your horse will get sick as a result.
In addition, it can easily lead to obesity, which in turn brings further health disadvantages.
For this reason, dates should only be fed occasionally, if at all, and only if the horse is healthy and normal or underweight.
My name is Mark and the senior editor
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