Whether it is your horse’s birthday, your riding partner’s birthday or you are just enjoying a nice fall day and want to celebrate with pumpkins, you may be wondering if can horses eat pumpkins.
Can horses eat pumpkins? Pumpkins are a safe and healthy snack for horses. They can be fed to horses directly as treats. Horses enjoy eating them directly from the top of the pumpkin. They can also be provided with the entire pumpkin, rind, and seeds included.
Halloweens are synonymous with pumpkins. They’re not merely used for decorations but are also eaten as pies, hummus, and puddings. Although pumpkins are botanically considered fruits, they are commonly recognized as a vegetable.
After ingestion, pumpkins help to cleanse intestines and improve the immune system of horses. However, you must remember that these fruits should not be fed to them on a daily basis, or they can upset their digestive system.
In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about feeding pumpkins to horses.
Are pumpkins healthy for horses?
How would you determine whether pumpkins are healthy treats for your horse or not? Let’s begin by taking a quick look at the nutritional composition of pumpkins:
|Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)
|Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
|Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
|Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid)
|Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)
|Vitamin B9 (Folates)
Serving size: 100 grams
The chart drawn above indicates that pumpkins are indeed rich in a number of vitamins and minerals. But how many of these nutrients are beneficial for your pets?
Vitamin A improves their vision, promotes the growth of their bones, and are responsible for their healthy reproductive functions. Niacin is the main source of their energy, while folates are used to make their DNA and other genetic materials.
Vitamin E ensures smooth muscle functioning and helps in the formation of red blood cells, while fibers improve their digestive health. Minerals like phosphorus, calcium, potassium, and copper are also beneficial for their health. Moreover, the flesh of the pumpkin is also considered to have anti-parasitic properties.
Keeping all the aforementioned benefits in mind, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that pumpkins are quite healthy for horses.
How often should you feed your horse pumpkins?
In the last section, we learned that pumpkins have several health benefits for horses. So, can we add them to their daily diet? Absolutely not.
While pumpkins might be healthy for them, we must not forget that these are not a part of their primary diet and should only be used as an occasional treat. Horses have a delicate digestive system and feeding them too many pumpkins can disrupt it easily, leading to their upset stomach.
Can horses eat pumpkin rind?
When we eat a pumpkin, we cut out its rind beforehand. Do you need to do the same for your horse, or can they eat the rind as well?
The rind of pumpkins does not have any toxins and is simply too hard for us to chew and digest. However, horses don’t have such reservations. They have no trouble chewing pumpkins along with their rind and enjoy doing so. Therefore, you don’t need to remove the rind of a pumpkin before feeding it to your pet.
But in order to get rid of any kind of pesticide or fertilizers that might be present on the rind, you must wash it thoroughly first. Because if any of these chemicals get inside a horse’s body, they can make them very sick.
Are pumpkin seeds safe for horses to eat?
All the pet owners might have heard about the seeds of fruits being toxic to animals at some point, which is why it is natural to wonder if the seeds of pumpkins are safe for their pets.
Pumpkin seeds are perfectly safe for horses to eat. Moreover, they are rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals, and contain fatty acids and fibers in abundance. You can feed them these seeds both along with the pumpkins themselves as well as separately.
Can horses eat butternut pumpkins?
Also known as “butternut squash” and “gramma”, butternut pumpkins are a winter squash species that have a sweet, nutty taste somewhat similar to the pumpkins. They have a tan-yellow rind with orange, pulpy flesh inside. Although these are fruits, they have diverse culinary uses and can be toasted, roasted, pureed, and used in soups, casseroles, pies, and so on.
But can horses eat these fruits? Yes, they can. Butternut pumpkins can be healthy for them as long as fed in moderation. However, you should carefully remove the stem of the fruit before feeding it to them, for it can be a choking hazard for them.
Is it okay to feed pumpkins to foals?
The foals begin to eat solid food once they are 11 days old. However, if you want to introduce pumpkins to their diet, you should wait for at least four to six months. It is because feeding them foods that are not a part of their natural diet before they’re six months old can lead to growth disorders and other health problems in them.
Can horses eat pumpkin pies?
While raw pumpkins are great for horses, feeding them pumpkin pies is a bad idea because they contain a high amount of sugar along with a variety of spices, all of which can prove to be detrimental to the health of your equine pets.
Pumpkin for horses: serving ideas
Although pumpkins need very little preparation for your horses, you can always use your creativity to make their treat more fun.
The first and simplest way of feeding them pumpkins is to simply chop them up into small, bite-sized pieces that would easily fit into their mouths. You needn’t remove the rind or seeds for them.
You can also mix pumpkin cubes with other fruits and vegetables to make a fruit salad for them. This will provide them with a variety and appeal to their taste buds.
Moreover, you can mash pumpkins and mix them with wheat bran to make a unique treat that your horses will love.
Feeding pumpkins to horses: things to remember
Now that you’re ready to feed pumpkins to your equine friends, we will quickly walk you through some pointers that you should keep in mind:
- You must always wash the pumpkins thoroughly to get rid of any fertilizers or pesticides that might have been sprayed on them during production.
- You should always chop the pumpkins into small, bite-sized cubes in order to prevent any choking hazard.
- It is essential to check the pumpkin thoroughly for any sign of mildew, rotting, or mold. Feeding horses such a pumpkin can make them sick.
- You should never feed your horses pumpkins that have been used for decorations. Not only are these pumpkins more likely to have gone bad, but they might also have remnants of wax, glitter, or paint on them, which are unsafe for horses.
- If your horse has a medical condition or is on a specific diet, you must contact their vet before feeding them anything new, including pumpkins.
Which vegetables should not be fed to the horses?
Vegetables belonging to the cruciferous family (brussels sprouts, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage) can cause gastrointestinal problems in horses and shouldn’t be fed to them. Allium vegetables, such as garlic, onion, chive, and leek, are also toxic to them. Lastly, nightshade vegetables like tomato, potato, and eggplant, are lethal to them because of their alkaloid content which can damage their neurological system.
Can horses eat cucumbers? Yes. Cucumbers are filled with vitamins and nutrients and make a healthy snack for horses.
Which fruits are safe for horses?
Following are the safest as well as healthiest fruit choices for horses:
Which vegetables do horses like to eat? Horses are fond of a variety of vegetables. Carrots, parsnips, cucumbers, beetroots, and celery are some of their favorites.
Conclusion: Can horses eat pumpkins?
Let us revisit what we have learned in this article so far: pumpkins are delicious treats not only for us but also for our horses.
They are a storehouse of vitamins and minerals and are edible for horses along with their rind and seeds. However, you should never feed your horse pumpkin-made sweets or pies, for the high sugar content in these goods is unhealthy for them.