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Can Horses Eat Carrots?

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Do you have a horse? That’s wonderful. Horses are amazing animals to raise.

When you have a horse, you often want to give it a lot of treats when you are bonding and training together. What are examples of treats and foods for horses?

Many people say that horses love carrots. Is it true? Can horses eat carrots?

Horses love eating carrots, which contain a lot of vitamins and minerals that are very beneficial. Carrots make awesome treats for horses.

Since horses love carrots, should you always give carrots to horses? How many carrots should you give to a horse? Continue reading.

Can Horses Eat Carrots?

It’s no longer news that horses love their carrots. Carrots have a lot of vitamins and minerals and your horse is sure to devour them.

Aside from the number of vitamins and minerals present in carrots, horses love carrots because they are sweet and crunchy.

Let us consider the nutritional composition of carrots.

Carrot Nutritional Composition

The table below shows the composition of various nutrients present in 100 grams of carrots:

NutrientComposition
Calories41
Protein0.9g
Carbohydrates10g
Dietary Fiber2.8g
Fat0.2g
Vitamins15g
Minerals16%

(Source)

Examples of vitamins in carrots are:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin K
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin B
  • Vitamin E

Examples of minerals in carrots are:

  • Potassium
  • Calcium
  • Phosphorus
  • Manganese
  • Iron
  • Zinc
  • Magnesium

As you can see, carrots contain a lot of carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals for your horse. Carrots also contain some amounts of dietary fiber to help your horse with the digestion of food.

Carrots, however, contain less than 1% protein. Since protein is the major nutrient that affects the growth and development of horses, carrots are not a reliable source of protein for horses.

Let us consider the protein needs of horses.

nutrition facts of carrots

Crude Protein Requirements of Horses

The table below shows the protein requirement of horses:

Age (Life Stage)Crude Protein Required
Weanling16%
Yearling14%
Pregnant Mare14%
Performance Horse10-12%
Pastured Horse10-12%
Breeding Stallion10-12%
Senior 14%

(Source)

When you compare both tables, you’d agree that even though horses should eat carrots, you need to provide your horses with other foods and treats that can give them as many proteins as they need.

Later in this article, we will discuss some awesome food and treat ideas to give your horses proteins and other nutrients.

Best Time to Give Carrots to Horses

Since horses cannot fully rely on carrots, here are some ways that you can give carrots to horses:

  • As Treats: Horses love their treats. Treats are just like food, but you give them to your horse occasionally, not regularly. The less often you give carrots to horses, the more value your horses will have for carrots. You can give carrots to your horse 2-4 times weekly when priming them as a reward (or whenever you want to).
  • As Reward: If you are training your horse or your horse is just being good, you can reward it with carrots. Horses love carrots.
  • Feed Additive: If your vet permits, you can add carrots to the feed of your horse. Carrots can add essential vitamins and minerals to the nutrition palette of your horse’s diet.

Now you know when you can give your horse carrots. How do you give carrots to horses?

horse eating carrots on the table

How to Give Carrots to Horses

Here are some ways to feed your horse with carrots.

  • Chop the Carrots: You should dice, chop, or cut the carrots into smaller parts to feed your horse. This safety practice will prevent your horse from choking. You do not have to chop the carrots into very small parts.
  • Mixed with Other Vegetables: If you like, you can mix carrots with other vegetables that you are giving to your horse. We will list some awesome vegetables you can give to your horse later. Remember to chop the carrots.
  • Carrot Leaves: Did you think that your horse would reject the leaves of your carrots? Horses can eat carrot leaves, so you do not have to throw them away.

Awesome ideas, right? Aside from carrots, what are other food or treat ideas for horses?

Other Healthy Foods and Treats for Horses

Here are more foods and treats that you can give to your horses:

1. Pasture Grass

What else can horses eat if not grass? Horses love their grass and you should allow them to eat as much grass as they can. Horses are herbivores, so they need plant products such as grass, fruits, etc. Allow your horses to eat grass whenever they can.

2. Hay and Straw

If you like, you can give hay and straw to your horses. One benefit of hay and straw is that they do not stink nor have a foul smell like harvested grass. This makes hay and straw more suitable for long-term storage.

Hay contains the needed amounts of carbohydrates, proteins, fibers, etc. for horses, so hay usually makes up the majority of a horse’s diet.

horses eating hay

3. Cereal Grains

Grains such as wheat, barley, rye, etc. are favorite foods of horses and you can regularly provide grains to your horses.

During the winter and other weather conditions where horses cannot easily go out, you should give your horses a lot of grains and keep them indoors.

Remember to properly store your grains moisture-free to prevent bacteria and fungi spoilage.

4. Fruits and Vegetables

Your equine partner loves fruits and vegetables. Remember to give horses fruits as treats. Horses can eat fruits such as:

  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Oranges
  • Mangoes
  • Pineapples

Give horses a lot of vegetables as vegetables contain the needed amounts of nutrients that horses need. Vegetables are just like grass and hay but have more nutrients. Examples of vegetables that horses can eat are:

  • Asparagus
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Celery
  • Cabbages
  • Lettuce

Make sure to give your horses a lot of vegetables. Remember that you can mix carrots and other vegetables for variety.

5. Commercially-Made Treats

You can shop for commercial treats for your horse if you run out of other treat ideas. An awesome horse treat is Best-Sellers-Pet-Supplies-Horse-Treats.

Note that horse treats usually contain a lot of carbohydrates and energy, so you should not give your horses too many commercial treats.

Now you know a lot of food and treat ideas for horses, right?

Related Questions and Answers

If you’ve got any questions, you can find the answer below:

1. Can Foals Eat Carrots?

Foals can eat carrots, but just like adult horses, they should eat carrots as treats and rewards. Foals love carrots a lot, so you should not give them too many carrots at a time.

Reducing the number of carrots you give to foals at a time can increase their love and value for carrots. This will help you to train the foals while using the carrots as a reward.

mother horse with a foal

2. Can You Feed Your Horse with Only Carrots?

Carrots have less than 1% protein and horses need 10-16% protein in their diet (according to their age). This means that even though carrots have a lot of essential vitamins and minerals, carrots are not enough for the growth of your horse.

3. Do Horses Need Salt Blocks?

Many homesteaders and people who raise horses know the importance of salt blocks for various animals. Horses need salt blocks, especially in the summer.

Horses need more salt in the summer because the heat promotes sweating and panting and removes moisture (sweat) from horses. When so much water is removed from the body in an effort to keep it cool, an electrolyte imbalance can occur because sweat usually contains some escaping vitamins.

Salt blocks are simply blocks of salt, minerals, and vitamins that horses and other animals can scrape, lick, or chew whenever they want. Make sure that your horses have enough salt.

4. Can Horses Eat Bran?

Brans such as wheat bran and rice bran are shafts left from harvesting grains. Most feed mills use bran to make animal feed as bran contains a lot of fiber and carbohydrates.

Horses can eat bran, but in little quantity as bran contain a lot of fiber which can prevent horses from digesting food as quickly as they should.

wheat bran on a wooden bowl

5. Can Horses Eat Other Root Vegetables?

It’s up to you to feed horses with boiled potatoes, carrots, yams, etc.

Do not give onions, garlic, and other sulfur-rich foods to horses. Remember to boil foods that horses should not eat raw.

Have you found the answer to your question?

Final Thoughts

Horses love carrots. You should give your horse a lot of carrots as carrots contain many minerals, vitamins, and also fiber, carbohydrates, etc.

You should, however, give carrots to horses as treats, not as their main diet since carrots do not contain enough protein. Remember to feed your horse with the appropriate amount of protein depending on its stage in life.

Sources