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Apples: A Delicious and Healthy Treat for Horses

Apples as a Healthy Treat for Horses

As horse owners, we want nothing but the best for our equine companions. Therefore, we treat them to various treats now and then to show them our love and appreciation.

However, not all treats are created equal. In fact, some treats can be harmful to your horse’s health.

Fortunately, apples are one of the few treats that are not only delicious but also healthy for your horse. In this article, we’ll explore why apples are good for horses and how to feed them in moderation.

Apples are Healthy for Horses

Nutritional Value of Apples

Apples are a great source of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber, making them a nutritious treat for horses. One medium-sized apple contains approximately 95 calories, high levels of vitamin C, and dietary fiber.

Apples also contain small quantities of Vitamin K, iron, and potassium. These nutrients help maintain horses’ overall health by boosting their immune system and promoting healthy digestion.

Horses’ Preference for Apples

Horses are notoriously picky eaters. However, when it comes to apples, most horses can’t get enough.

Horses enjoy the sweet and juicy taste of apples and often prefer them over other treats like carrots. Moreover, several studies reveal that horses can differentiate between different types of apples and prefer the sweeter ones over sour or tart ones.

Moderation in Feeding Apples

While apples are healthy for horses, they should be fed in moderation. Apples contain a considerable amount of sugar, and too much sugar can be harmful to a horse’s health.

Excessive intake of sugar can cause obesity, metabolic disorders like insulin resistance, and laminitis. Therefore, it’s crucial to feed horses small amounts of apples as a treat occasionally.

A horse weighing around 1,000 pounds should consume no more than one to two small apples per day.

Tips for Feeding Apples to Horses

  • Wash the apple thoroughly before feeding it to your horse. Apples can carry pesticides and other chemicals that can be harmful to your horse.
  • Remove the apple’s seeds and core. Apple seeds contain trace amounts of cyanide, which can be toxic to horses when ingested in large quantities.
  • Cut the apple into small pieces before feeding it to your horse. Large apple pieces can be a choking hazard for horses.
  • Do not feed your horse any moldy or rotting apples. These can be toxic to horses and cause severe digestive issues.


In conclusion, apples make an excellent treat for your equine companion due to their nutritional value and delicious taste. They are rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber, which all contribute to maintaining a healthy horse.

However, moderation is key when feeding apples to your horse. Overindulging in apples can cause harmful health issues such as laminitis.

Therefore, horse owners should feed small amounts of apples occasionally and ensure that the apple is thoroughly washed, diced, and free of seeds and core before feeding it to their horses. With these tips in mind, you can treat your horse to a healthy and tasty snack that they’ll surely love.

Types of Apples Horses Can Eat

Apples are not only delicious and nutritious, but they also come in many varieties. Different horses may have their preferences for certain types of apples, while some may enjoy sampling all kinds of flavors.

Top 10 Apples for Horses

  1. Red Delicious – This type of apple is sweet and juicy and a favorite of many horses.
  2. Granny Smith – The tart and tangy flavor of Granny Smith apples is perfect for horses that prefer a sour taste.
  3. Pink Lady – Pink Lady apples are sweet but not too sugary, making them an excellent choice for horses that need to watch their sugar intake.
  4. Gala – Gala apples are perfect for horses because they are not too sweet or sour, but hit a balance between both flavors.
  5. Honeycrisp – Known for their crunchiness and sweetness, Honeycrisps are a great option for horses that prefer apples that are a bit sweeter.
  6. Braeburn – With a sweet and tangy flavor, Braeburn apples are a perfect choice for horses that enjoy a mix of both flavors.
  7. Fuji – These crunchy apples have a sweet and juicy flavor that many horses love.
  8. Cortland – Cortland apples are not too sweet, making them an excellent option for horses that a sensitive to sugary treats.
  9. Rome – The texture of Rome apples is firm and juicy, with a slightly tart taste that horses may enjoy.
  10. Empire – This apple has a sweet and juicy flavor, making it a great option for horses that prefer sweeter treats.

Variety of Apple Colors Horses Can Eat

Apples come in different colors, and horse owners can experiment with different types of apples to find the right flavor for their equine companion. While many horses enjoy red apples, there are other varieties of apple colors that horses can also eat.

Green Granny Smith apples, for example, are packed with health benefits and may be perfect for horses with underlying medical conditions that require a low-sugar diet. Yellow and green Golden Delicious apples are a slightly sweet option for horses, while purple apples like Black Oxford and Purple Crab apples are sweeter yet still low in sugar.

Horses’ Preference for Raw Apples

Horses prefer raw apples over cooked or baked apples. Raw apples retain their sweet flavor and crunchy texture that horses love.

Cooked or baked apples tend to be mushy and may not be as easy to eat as fresh apples. Moreover, cooked or baked apples often have added sugars, which can be harmful to horses.

Feeding raw apples to horses is easier and less time-consuming, and it’s a natural way to reward horses with the fruits’ nutrients.

Issues with Feeding Apples to Horses

While apples are healthy and safe treats for horses, there are some issues to consider when feeding them to equine companions.

Avoiding Overfeeding

Horses should only be fed small amounts of apples. Overfeeding can cause health issues such as colic, obesity, and insulin resistance.

A horse weighing approximately 1,000 pounds should receive no more than one to two small apples per day.

Caution for Horses with Dental Issues

Horses with dental problems, such as missing or loose teeth, may find it challenging to eat apples and other treats that require a lot of chewing. In such cases, horse owners should offer alternative treats that are easy to chew, such as cut-up carrots or hay cubes.

Avoiding Feeding to Horses with Metabolic Issues

Horses with metabolic problems, such as insulin resistance or Cushing’s disease, need to be fed low-sugar diets. As apples contain sugar, horse owners should consult a veterinarian before feeding apples to horses with metabolic disorders.

Avoiding Feeding to Horses with HYPP

Horses with Hyperkalemic periodic paralysis (HYPP) have a genetic condition that affects their calcium and potassium levels. Feeding apples can worsen the condition as apples are high in potassium.

Therefore, horse owners should avoid feeding apples to horses with HYPP and choose other low-potassium treats instead.


In summary, apples are an ideal treat for horses because of their nutritional value, flavors, and variety. Horses’ preferences differ, and horse owners can experiment with various types and colors of apples to find the right one their equine companions like best.

Raw apples are preferred over cooked or baked apples, and horse owners need to avoid overfeeding and consider horses’ dental and medical issues when feeding them apples. With these tips in mind, horse owners can offer a healthy and enjoyable treat for their equine companions.

How to Prepare Apples for Your Horse

Apples are an excellent treat for horses, and preparing them correctly can enhance your horse’s experience and promote their health. Here are some tips on how to prepare and serve apples to your equine companion.

Feeding Apple Peeling

Apple peeling is optional when feeding them to horses. While the apple’s skin has many health benefits, some horse owners prefer to peel the apples due to their texture or concerns about pesticides.

If you choose to peel the apple, make sure to remove the skin entirely, including any white residue that may remain after peeling, to ensure that your horse is safe from any chemicals that may have remained on the skin.

Cutting Up Apples vs Feeding Whole

When feeding apples to horses, it’s essential to cut them up into small bite-size pieces to prevent choking. Alternatively, apple halves or quarters can be fed, but make sure to remove the core and any seeds before feeding.

Horses enjoy being given treats, so before cutting the apple, it’s a good idea to allow them to smell the fruit.

Alternative Ways of Feeding Apples

There are different ways of feeding apples to horses, each with its benefits. One fun way of feeding apples to horses is stuffing their stall toys with sliced pieces of apple.

This way, horses can have a snack while also playing with their stall toys. Horse owners can also add apple slices to their horses’ feeding troughs for a tasty and healthy meal enhancer.

Another healthy way to serve apples to horses is by blending them into a puree. Adding a little water to the mix can create a delicious apple sauce your horse will enjoy.

Pour in ice cube trays and freeze, and then offer the ice cubes as a treat to your horse as a tasty and refreshing snack on hot summer days.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Q: How many apples can you feed a horse?

A: A horse weighing approximately 1,000 pounds should receive no more than one to two small apples a day. 2.

2. Q: Can horses eat apple cores?

A: Apple cores should not be fed to horses as they can cause choking hazards.

They can also contain apple seeds which contain trace amounts of cyanide, which can be toxic to horses. 3.

3. Q: Are apples good for horses with health issues?

A: Apples are a healthy treat for horses, but they may not be suitable for horses with health issues such as Cushing’s disease, HYPP, or those on a low-sugar diet.

Before feeding apples to horses with health issues, it is essential to consult with a veterinarian before doing so. 4.

4. Q: Can horses eat cooked apples?

A: Cooked apples are not recommended for horses as it can destroy the fiber and benefits of the apple.

Cooked apples also have added sugars, which can cause health issues in horses. 5.

5. Q: Can giving too many apples cause colic in horses?

A: Overfeeding of apples can cause colic, obesity, and insulin resistance in horses.

As such, it is crucial to practice moderation when feeding horses apples or any treats.


In summary, apples are a great treat for horses, and preparing and serving them can add to the experience and benefit of feeding them to horses. Peeling the skin, cutting the apple, and alternative feeding methods are all ways to make the treat more enjoyable and enhance the horse’s feeding experience.

Understanding the basics behind feeding horses apples can help prevent choking, overfeeding, and other potential health hazards, and promote a happy and healthy horse.

Final Thoughts

Feeding apples to horses is an enjoyable and healthy treat option for horse owners. Not only do horses love the sweet and juicy taste, but apples also provide several nutritional benefits, making them an excellent addition to a horse’s diet.

Feeding apples to horses requires some preparation and caution, but with appropriate measures, horse owners can provide their equine companions with a tasty and healthy snack. When feeding apples to horses, it’s essential to introduce them in small amounts and make sure not to overfeed them.

Overfeeding can cause health issues like colic, obesity, and insulin resistance. In contrast, feeding horses apples in moderation provides them with a healthy, enjoyable treat that adds variety to their diet.

Additionally, it is important to consider a horse’s dental and medical issues before feeding them apples. Horses with dental issues may struggle with eating apples and require alternative treats that are easy to chew, while horses with metabolic or HYPP issues may need to avoid apples altogether.

Whether you choose to feed whole apples, sliced apples, or apple puree, it is essential to cut them into small pieces to prevent choking. Feeding apple skins to horses is not generally a health hazard, although peeling them to eliminate any potential pesticides or debris can be a good precaution.

In conclusion, feeding apples to horses can be a great way of providing them with a healthy and tasty treat. Apples are an excellent source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber that contribute to excellent overall equine health.

By taking precautionary measures and observing moderation, horse owners can add variety to their companion’s diets, making it more fun and enjoyable. Feeding apples to horses is a healthy and enjoyable way to give them a treat.

Apples are rich in essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber and are a favorite snack of many horses. However, horse owners should practice moderation, cut the apple into small pieces, and avoid feeding them to horses with specific health conditions.

While feeding apples to horses is safe and healthy when done correctly, overfeeding can cause health issues. FAQs on feeding apples to horses include: how many apples can you feed a horse, can horses eat apple cores, and can giving too many apples cause colic in horses.

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