In this article, we aimed to fill that gap in information, by answering just that question: Can horses eat oranges?
Horses are among mankind’s most well-known and faithful companions. They have helped drive human civilization and industry for thousands of years, without them, we would still be struggling today.
Even today, horses are still culturally significant, even if their purpose has been given over to machinery. We still hold them in high esteem as an animal.
However, since our uses for them have dwindled so has our knowledge of their needs, care, and even diet.
If I was to ask a person on the street a vague question about a horse’s diet. Many could give a relatively insightful answer: What do horses eat? Grass or hay, for example.
However, if I asked a specific question, like can horses eat oranges. I would more than likely be met with blank stares.
Can Horses Eat Oranges?
Short answer: yes! They absolutely can. Long answer: yes, oranges are among a variety of fresh fruit and vegetables that are safe to give horses, though only as an occasional treat.
In fact, the entire orange is safe for a horse to eat, from the seeds to the peel, though a fair number of horses may not like or even balk at eating the peel.
However, a lot of horses are fine to eat the whole orange, just make sure to cut it into manageable pieces first.
Oranges are full of vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, phosphorus, dietary fiber, potassium, and fructose. The sheer amount of vitamins in oranges provides horses with ample dietary and nutritional needs.
Oranges have been found to boost brain function and the immune system through the hesperidin that oranges contain and even the citric acid aids muscle recovery, which is a big help in such a large, complex animal.
However, one thing to be wary of with feeding oranges to horses is the horse’s own insulin resistance.
Insulin is a hormone found in animals and humans that help us digest the various sugars found in food: fructose, lactose, maltose, glucose, and sucrose.
However, horses can be insulin resistant, as their diet in the wild had very little sugar in it, consisting mostly of grass, leading them to never need much insulin in the first place.
If this is the case, contact a vet before feeding your horse any sugar-based treat, like oranges or apples, to make sure that eating oranges won’t hurt them.
For a horse that is not insulin resistant, the general rule for offering sugary treats like this is once or twice a week at most, it gives them a little boost without overloading their dietary needs.
What Other Fruit Can A Horse Eat?
If you are sure your horse isn’t insulin resistant, and you realize it doesn’t really like oranges, you may be scratching your head, thinking about what other sweet treats a horse could have.
Well, there are actually a lot of sweet fruits that a horse can eat, however the important part is knowing not only what food but how to give it to a horse.
When giving your horse fruit, it may be tempting to feed them moldy or old food that you didn’t want to eat.
However, this is a huge mistake, as horses are not as robust as say a pig, who can chow down on almost anything, and will get sick if you give them bad food.
The food you give them must be fresh, if you won’t eat it, your horse shouldn’t either.
Another thing is to wash the fruit, our fruit often has pesticides and fungicides on it. Surprisingly, humans are pretty robust ourselves and won’t get sick with a little of these on them, but horses, again, will.
Wash the fruit before giving it to a horse.
Finally, cut up the fruit before feeding it to a horse. Fruit can be tough and, if not cut up or chewed properly, can be a choking hazard, so make sure to cut up the fruit beforehand.
Part of this is removing the pits from the fruits as, unlike orange seeds, a lot of pits and seeds are poisonous to horses and can make them very ill.
With that out of the way, we can now move on to what fruit is good to give to your horse:
- Apricots – remove fruit’s stone.
- Cherries – remove fruit’s stone.
There may be many more foods out there, but with the fruits on here, you can easily supplement your horse’s diet with what it needs.
What Fruit Can’t A Horse Eat?
It may come as a surprise to some that humans are able to eat a lot of food that is designed to be poisonous and is to most animals.
Just look at chilies, they are designed to cause pain in specifically mammals, yet we consume them wholeheartedly. Horses are not this robust or tolerant of poisonous foods.
There are many foods that you should avoid feeding your horse and while others you can when done with care, an example being fruits with stones that must be removed before feeding to your horse, make sure to never give your horse any of the fruits on the list below:
- Tomatoes – any food from the nightshade family can be deadly to a horse, i.e. peppers.
Here are some vegetables to never feed your horse as well:
If you avoid these foods, your horse should stay nice and healthy.
Oranges can be a great treat for your horse, along with many other fruits. They provide nutrients and sugars that can help your horse’s body and make them feel good.
However, it is important to know what they can and can’t eat, as well as how to give it to them. Once you are aware of all the circumstances, you can feel good in giving your horse the little treat it craves every week.