Horse Friendly Garden Plants
Make sure your garden is something you can share with your favorite steed.
By Cari Klostermann, spring 2017 AQHA communications and digital marketing intern | April 6, 2017
So you’ve decided to plant a garden this year but are unsure of what you should grow. Let us help you with this difficult decision by providing you with a wealth of knowledge on horse-friendly plants that are easily grown in a backyard garden or straw-bale.
Of course, the obvious choice is carrots, but there are a number of veggies that your horse would love to sink his teeth into.
Chocked full of fiber and low in sugar, celery is an excellent treat for your horse! However, not all horses enjoy the strong taste of celery, so you may want to buy some from your local grocery store and perform a test-run before you devote valuable space in your garden.
Lettuce is not only safe for your horse but healthy as well. Because lettuce is 95 percent water, it serves as a much better treat than sweet fruit or other rich vegetables because you can feed more with a lower chance of causing an upset stomach or unwanted weight gain.
We’ve all heard of adding beet pulp to your horse’s feed, so it isn’t a shock that beets are considered a safe veggie. Both the root and the greens of the beet plant are safe for your horse to eat and are loaded with potassium and vitamin A, but limit intake due to sugar content. Do not feed beets to horses with HYPP.
In small amounts (2-4 ounces per day), turnips make for an interesting treat.
There are tons of fruits that horses can safely eat, like apples, grapes and bananas, but let’s talk about the fruit you can easily grow yourself for your ponies.
Horses go crazy for sweet, juicy, crunchy pumpkins. Rind and seeds included, every part of the pumpkin is safe for your horse to eat. Pumpkins are not the only squash that horses love. Try giving your horse summer squash, zucchini or any other squash you want to grow.
Everyone enjoys biting into a crisp piece of watermelon on a warm summer day, and your horse is no different! Much like beets, watermelon intake should be monitored and limited due to its high sugar content.
Bite-sized and full of antioxidants and vitamins, strawberries and other berries are wonderful snacks for any horse. In fact, berries are a treat that horses could have easily snacked on in the wild, because berry bushes are relatively prominent on the range.
Legumes and Sprouts
Easy to grow and loaded with protein, peas make for a great horsey snack that you can produce in your own backyard.
Sprouts are highly nutritious for both human and horse and extremely easy to grow. There are several stands on the market designed specifically for growing grain and legume sprouts, but they can be grown in a field or small plot just as easily.
There are so many interesting and tasty treats you can safely grow and feed to your horses. The list goes on and on.
What is your favorite treat to give your horses? Tell us on Facebook and Pinterest.