Are you wondering can horses eat zucchini? Is it harmful or healthy to your horse? Adding some variation to your horse’s diet is important, but some healthy and safe foods for us humans can potentially be harmful to them.
That’s why you need to double-check any particular food before feeding it to your horse, even if it’s as healthy as zucchini. In this article, we’ll discuss whether it’s safe to feed zucchini to your horse or not, and if so, what benefits it carries. So, without further ado, let’s dive in!
Is It Safe to Feed Zucchini to Your Horse?
The short answer is yes, it’s completely safe to feed zucchini to your horse. However, you need to take care of the amount of zucchini provided to your horse.
And now, let’s take a look at some general information about zucchini and its nutritional benefits to your pet horse.
What Is Zucchini?
Zucchini, also known as a courgette, baby marrow, or summer squash, is a young fruit that belongs to the Cucurbitaceae plant family and is harvested before it fully matures. However, during the harvest, its seeds and epicarp are still soft and edible.
Zucchini is a versatile veggie, as it doesn’t have any particular taste. So, when cooked with other ingredients, it typically takes on the flavor of that food. The only exception is a ripe, fresh zucchini which can have a sweet flavor.
It may come as a surprise that zucchini is a fruit rather than a vegetable. This is because it’s closely related to the marrow, a well-known vegetable similar to zucchini in terms of its appearance and taste. Yet, people refer to it as a vegetable.
Is Zucchini Healthy for Your Horse?
Zucchinis are abundant in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, which are needed for your horse’s health and overall well-being. In addition, they contain calcium and phosphorus, which are crucial for strong bones, and magnesium, which carries anti-inflammatory benefits.
For an optimal body temperature and overall function of the immune system, it’s important to include iron in your horse’s diet, and zucchinis are a great source of it. In addition, it’s packed with potassium, which regulates fluid balance and muscle contractions.
They’re also rich in vitamin A, manganese, lutein, and zeaxanthin, which contribute to better vision and decrease the risk of age-related eye conditions.
Also, zucchinis are rich in fiber, which improves digestion and aids in weight loss. In addition to that, they’re low in calories and contain a high amount of water, which reduces the risk of constipation and gut disorders.
Cooked vs. Raw Zucchini
You can give both cooked or raw zucchini to your horse; it won’t affect the safety of this delicious treat. However, some nutritional benefits may be reduced if zucchini is exposed to high temperatures, which is why we recommend feeding raw zucchini to your horse.
Zucchini Peel, Is It Safe?
Zucchini peel is completely safe for your horse. However, make sure that you wash the zucchini thoroughly before you give it to them.
Precautions on Feeding Zucchini to Your Horse
Any food, even if it’s healthy, shouldn’t be overconsumed to prevent any adverse effects. So yes, zucchini is safe for your horse but should be given in moderation.
If you give your horse more than the recommended amount of zucchini, they may suffer from digestive issues like bloating, gas, or colic. Colic is a common digestive illness among horses, which is quite painful for them.
So, you shouldn’t just give your horse a whole zucchini; the maximum is half at a time. Plus, make sure you’re not feeding your horse this veggie every day.
You also need to ensure that your horse reacts well to zucchini. So, if your horse has never tasted zucchini before, try giving it a small quantity and observing it till the next day.
If all goes well, gradually increase the amount for the next two weeks until your horse gets used to its new snack. However, if your horse shows any digestive symptoms such as diarrhea, stop providing it immediately.
Also, keep in mind that zucchinis have high potassium content, so if your horse has HYPP, you should never feed them zucchini.
Recipes You Can Try Out
Having no particular flavor, zucchinis are a great food to combine with other ingredients, and in that way, you can create some delicious meals. For example, you can try zucchini oatmeal, zucchini bread, zucchini cookies, or combine them with other fruits and vegetables.
As for the preparation, you should wash the zucchini before you feed it to your horse. Then, you can choose to slice it, provide it whole, dice it, or prepare a delicious meal. Below, we included two recipes you can prepare for your horse: zucchini oatmeal and zucchini bread.
The first recipe, zucchini oatmeal, is super easy to make. You’ll need the following ingredients:
- 1 cup of apple sauce (unsweetened or sweetened, it’s up to you)
- 1 cup of brown sugar
- 2/3 cup of white sugar
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla
- 2 large eggs
- 2 cups of grated zucchini
- 3 cups of white flour
- 2 teaspoons of baking powder
- 1 teaspoon of baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 2/12 cups of oats
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix the applesauce, brown sugar, and white sugar in a bowl. Then, add in the dry ingredients, except oats, and mix. After you’ve mixed it thoroughly, you can add in the oats and continue mixing. Place parchment paper and form small round cookie dollops. Bake for 15-20 minutes.
For this second delicious meal, you’ll need the following ingredients:
- 1 small zucchini grated, about 1 1/4 cups
- 1/4 cup of canola oil
- 1/4 cup of butter softened
- 1 cup of granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla
- 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon of baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 1/2 cup of buttermilk
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grate zucchini on a medium grater and try to squeeze out excess moisture. Next, measure out 1 1/4 cups of canola oil and butter and 1 cup of granulated sugar. Put the ingredients in a large bowl and mix. Then, add in eggs and vanilla and stir again.
Next, take another bowl and place flour, baking powder, and salt together. You have to alternate between adding in flour mixture and buttermilk. Make sure you start and end with flour.
Fold in zucchini by hand and pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Finally, bake for 45-60 minutes. Cool 10-15 minutes before removing from the pan.
Note: Although harmless, you should only occasionally give bread or any meals with bread to your horse because it’s not the most nutritious, and it can sit heavy on the stomach. And remember, moderation is the key!
What Food You Should Never Give to Your Horse
Some examples of foods that should never be given to horses include vegetables such as garlic and onions. They’re members of the family of plants named the “allium” family. Besides garlic and onions, the allium family includes chives, shallots, and leeks.
You should avoid feeding these plants to horses because it’s known that they can damage red blood cells and lead to sickness.
Other foods that may have dangerous side effects include caffeine products, avocado, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, potatoes, tomatoes, meat products, dairy products, chocolate, and fruits with pits. They can cause serious illnesses, so it’s best to stay safe and limit these foods as much as possible.
Foods That Horses Enjoy
Traditionally, horses love to eat apples, watermelons, and carrots.
Other safe foods for horses to consume are grapes, bananas, strawberries, celery, pumpkin, snow peas, green beans, lettuce, turnip, cucumber, mango, and all kinds of melons. These graceful animals enjoy any sweet treat, whether it’s fruits or sweet grains.
It’s a good idea to supplement your horse’s diet with additional food and snacks on a regular basis. However, you may also want to include a food that’s healthy and has nutritional value, rather than an addition that substitutes a key item in your horse’s balanced diet.
As you can see, it’s completely safe for horses to eat zucchinis. And not only that, but it’s also highly beneficial to their health. There are various vitamins and minerals in zucchini that’ll enhance your horse’s overall health and well-being.
However, it’s always a good idea to check whether a certain type of food is safe for your pet horse or not, since the reaction of different horses to different foods is unpredictable.
And remember, even if a particular food is safe, moderation is the key!