Horses are hungry animals, and it’s always fun finding a new treat that they’ll enjoy. With that being said, there are a number of vegetables and other food types that are poisonous to horses.
As responsible horse owners, it’s essential we check whether or not the treats we want to feed our horses are safe for them to eat.
Lettuce is just one of the many vegetables that people consider feeding their horses. But is it one of the safe options? The answer is yes, you can feed your horses lettuce safely!
But exactly how much of it can they eat? And does it have any nutritional value? Read on to find out more.
Pebbles, not so sure about the Lettuce
Nutritional Content Of Lettuce
Lettuce doesn’t have a very high nutritional value to horses and therefore shouldn’t replace other vegetables in their normal diet altogether. However, all lettuce types contain some vitamins and minerals which do provide at least some nutritional value (even if it’s only a small amount).
All lettuce types are made almost completely of water. In iceberg lettuce, for example, the water content comes in at 96%. As for the other types of lettuce, almost all of them consist of over 90% water too.
In addition to the high water content, lettuce contains fibre and a range of vitamins that vary according to the type of lettuce you buy. Below is a list of the different types of lettuce and the vitamins found in each type:
- Iceberg – Vitamin C and K
- Romaine – Vitamin C and K
- Little Gem – Vitamin A, B, and C
- Oak leaf – Vitamin A, B, C, and D
- Arugula – Vitamin A and K
- Butterhead – Vitamin B, C, and K
- Boston – Vitamin A, C, and K
- Bibb – Vitamin A, C, and K
- Radicchio – Vitamin K
The Health Benefits of Feeding Your Horse Lettuce
Although lettuce has very low nutritional value for your horse, it doesn’t mean there are no benefits at all. It can still contribute to a long, healthy life for your horse. Below are some of the reasons why lettuce is a good option to add to your horse’s diet.
Keeps them hydrated
When horses eat iceberg lettuce, for example, they will also be taking in that 96% water that the lettuce contains. The high water content that is in all lettuce is a great way to keep your horse hydrated in hot weather or during intense physical activities.
Lettuce leaves contain vitamin A. This vitamin is great for overall eye health and maintaining the proper functioning of a horse’s retina.
Improves overall health
In addition to eye health, all the vitamins that are found in lettuce can help with the maintenance of your horse’s overall health. For example, vitamins A and C can help improve your horse’s immune system while vitamin K is great for bone health.
Helps with digestion
Fibre is great for horses’ digestive systems. And since lettuce provides a source of fibre, it can be beneficial to their gut health if you add lettuce to your horse’s diet from time to time.
How To Incorporate Lettuce Into Your Horse’s Diet Safely
The best way to incorporate lettuce into your horse’s diet safely is to simply add it in as an additional snack.
Practising moderation when you feed lettuce to your horse will ensure they stay healthy.
Preparing the lettuce correctly
Lettuce is an easy treat to prepare for your horse. All you have to do is separate the leaves, remove any wilted leaves, and then wash all the leaves under running water. You can also dry them afterwards if you don’t think your horse will enjoy eating damp lettuce leaves.
Separating the leaves ensures that your horse won’t choke when trying to eat a whole head of lettuce, while also allowing you to clean the lettuce properly to remove any harmful pesticides.
Feeding horses lettuce
Once you’ve prepared the lettuce for your horse, all you have to do is feed it to them. You can do this either by placing a leaf on your hand or by mixing it in with your horse’s regular meals. Just don’t add too much or it’ll take away from the rest of their meal!
How Much Lettuce Can Horses Eat?
As we’ve mentioned above, just like any other treat that you feed to your horses, it needs to be done in moderation. If you feed your horse too much lettuce, they will lose their appetite and won’t eat enough other foods that are part of a horse’s normal diet (such as grass or hay).
This will mean they won’t get all the fibres or nutrients that are essential to their health.
Generally speaking, if you wish to add lettuce to your horse’s regular diet, you should only feed it 0.9 kilograms of lettuce per day.
Types Of Lettuce That Are Unsafe For Horses
While the type of lettuce itself won’t be harmful to your horse in any way, there may be chemicals on the lettuce which are dangerous for your horse’s health. These can include pesticides and other chemicals that were used to prevent pests and bacteria from eating or damaging the lettuce before it was sold.
As a horse owner, you’ll need to make sure the lettuce is safe to eat before you give it to your horse. Washing it thoroughly to remove all the chemicals is essential and will provide peace of mind when handing them this crunchy snack.
Should Horses Eat Lettuce?
Now that you know that you can in fact feed your horse lettuce, you may be wondering whether or not your horses should eat lettuce. And the answer isn’t an absolute “yes” because it’s not absolutely necessary. However, lettuce is a healthy snack that horses enjoy and can be a great way to reward them during training sessions.
Can horses eat lettuce and cucumber?
Yes, feeding lettuce and cucumber to your horse is perfectly fine. Both lettuce and cucumber have a high water content which is good for keeping your horse hydrated. In addition, both have a variety of vitamins which can assist in keeping your horse healthy.
What vegetable is good for horses?
There are a lot of different vegetables that are perfectly fine to feed to horses and many of these will contain vitamins and minerals that will improve your horse’s overall health. Horses eat celery, lettuce, cucumbers, beetroots, carrots, and turnips without experiencing any problems.
What vegetables can horses not eat?
A few of the vegetables that horses can’t eat include cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, regular potatoes (sweet potatoes are fine in moderation), and peppers.
Each of these vegetables can cause different problems for your horse. These negative effects can include digestive issues for your horse, some of the vegetables may be toxic to horses, and some may even cause your horse to have an allergic reaction.