Just like humans, horses can get really bored when they have a bland diet. If you think about it, you wouldn’t want the exact same foods day in and day out, right?
Luckily, there are plenty of fruits and vegetables that you can add to your riding buddy’s diet that can make a world of difference to them. You may already know that berries like blueberries and raspberries are a huge hit among horses. But can horses eat strawberries?
In this guide, we’ll go through the dos and don’ts of strawberry eating for horses.
Nutritional Content of Strawberries
Strawberries are chock full of healthy vitamins and minerals that can benefit your horse’s health. Plus, they make for a tasty snack. When you pair these fruits with quality horse feed and a comprehensive diet, you’re sure to have a happier, healthier horse.
Generally, your horse can have around one cup of strawberries per week. So let’s look at the nutritional value of one full cup (around 237 grams) of these decadent berries:
Calcium: 27 mg
Carbohydrates: 11.7 g
Fibre: 3.3 g
Iron: 0.7 mg
Magnesium: 22 mg
Potassium: 254 mg
Protein: 1.02 g
Sugar: 7.08 g
Sodium: 1.52 g
Vitamin B9: 49 μg
Vitamin C: 98 mg
Vitamin E: 1 mg
Vitamin K: 3.7 μg
The Health Benefits of Feeding Your Horse Strawberries
When you feed your horses strawberries, you’re not only making their day with a sweet treat. In fact, you’re providing tons of other benefits as well.
Some of the most common ways strawberries benefit horses include:
As a responsible horse owner, you already know that your horse should always have access to clean, fresh drinking water. And while a strawberry can’t replace a water trough filled with cool water, they’re a great source of extra hydration.
Strawberries are made up of 91% water. So, if your horse could use some extra hydration after a long day of training, these are the perfect post-exercise treats.
A source of antioxidants
Strawberries are a natural source of beneficial antioxidants for horses. Not only can they help to stave off arthritis and other joint problems, but they’re fantastic for getting rid of cancer-causing cells in the body.
It’s important to note that while strawberries may help with keeping arthritis and joint issues at bay, your horse usually can’t eat enough to get the full scope of this benefit. For older horses or those with existing joint problems, a high-quality joint supplement will go a long way.
Strawberries won’t give your horse everything it needs. Superflex can also help their joints
Did you know that strawberries have no cholesterol? Well, now you do. When you feed your horses strawberries, you’re actually helping them to naturally lower their blood pressure and promote good cholesterol levels. In turn, this means healthy horses with healthy hearts.
A good dose of vitamin C
We all know that vitamin C works wonders for boosting the immune system and overall health. Still, it may come as a surprise that your horse can get most of the vitamin C it needs just from eating strawberries. Interestingly, a cup of strawberries actually contains more of this vitamin than an entire orange.
How to Incorporate Strawberries into Your Horse’s Diet Safely
Before you can feed your horse any of these delicious berries, there are a few things to keep in mind. But, if you pay close attention to these tips and tricks, you can easily introduce strawberries into its diet without problems:
If your horse hasn’t had strawberries before, feed your horse significantly less to start with. This can help to avoid upset stomachs and you can assess whether your horse has any adverse reactions to them.
Remember to wash the strawberries thoroughly before giving them to your horse. Eating strawberries that have pesticides and other nasty chemicals on them can make your horse sick.
Never feed your horse rotten or mouldy strawberries. This can cause severe health complications in your horse that may require veterinary attention.
Remember to cut the strawberries up before giving them to your horse. Try to make the pieces easy to eat without being too small, as both of these can be choking hazards.
How Many Strawberries Can Horses Eat?
As a rule of thumb, most horses can have around a cup (237 grams) of strawberries every week. However, giving them a full cup all at once can cause a spike in their blood sugar, which may prove dangerous for insulin-resistant horses or those with sensitive tummies.
Generally, it’s best to try and split this amount up over a seven-day period. For example, you may want to give your horse around 80 grams of strawberries three times a week or so.
But be careful.
Some horses can’t resist the temptation of a lovely sweet strawberry. And, if your horse is particularly fussy, it may start to turn its nose up at other fruits and treats you offer it.
Additionally, too many strawberries at once can cause digestive issues like diarrhoea and a sore stomach. In turn, your horse may be bloated and uncomfortable for a while. Although this isn’t usually f fatal, it’s best to avoid these complications as they can lead to dehydration or lower food intake.
Where are my STRAWBERRIES?
Should Horses Eat Strawberries?
Absolutely! Horses love strawberries and can have them as part of a healthy and well-balanced diet. As long as your horse eats small amounts and doesn’t overdo it on the strawberry snacks, it is completely safe.
However, as with most treats, there are special cases to be aware of.
You Shouldn’t Feed Strawberries to These Horses…
When you’re introducing strawberries to your horse, you’ll need to consider the fact that some horses may potentially be allergic to them.
Just like humans, horses can have allergic reactions to certain types of foods. So, to stay on the safe side, be sure to only feed one or two strawberries to your horse to start off with. Once you have assessed their reaction to them, you can then safely provide fresh strawberries to them (or withhold them completely).
Similarly, strawberries are high in sugar. This may be dangerous for insulin-resistant or diabetic horses. Instead, you can try to reduce the amount of strawberries you give these horses or replace them with other, less sugary alternatives.
Can horses eat strawberry leaves?
Horses can eat strawberry leaves. In fact, plenty of wild horses find wild strawberries to eat and will munch them down – leaves and all. Still, if you’re buying your strawberries from a store or market, you should be careful to wash them thoroughly to get rid of pesticides and other chemicals.
Can horses have dried strawberries?
Dried strawberries are a tricky subject. On one hand, they’re completely safe to feed your horse if they have been dried naturally and without preservatives. However, dried strawberries are usually small and can cause choking. Generally, it’s best to stick to fresh fruits as much as possible!