Feeding Pumpkin To Horses


With Halloween only a short time away there are many posts and videos appearing on Social Media about feeding pumpkins to horses. How safe is it to feed pumpkin to horses and what do you need to consider before offering pumpkin as a treat to your horse?

Pumpkin is suitable to feed to horses and is just one of many different fruits and vegetables that your horse may or may not enjoy according to their preferences! If you would like to try feeding pumpkin to your horse then consider the following.

Can horses eat pumpkin as a treat?

As with any treat, feed pumpkin to your horse in small amounts and introduce it gradually as you would with any new feed. Pumpkins are quite sizable and whilst it may be fun to watch your horse play with and demolish an entire pumpkin, if your horse eats it all then that’s quite a sudden diet change which has the potential to increase the risk of digestive disturbance!

Is pumpkin a choke risk to horses?

If feeding smaller portions of pumpkin to your horse then consider the risk of choke – slivers may be more appropriate than cubes for example. We would advise removing the particularly tough stalk if you are letting your horse play with a whole pumpkin.

What about sugar content – can I feed pumpkin to a laminitis prone horse?

All fruit and veg contain natural sugars in varying proportions. Looking in the local supermarket the nutritional values stated for raw pumpkin are 1.7g per 100g as sold – translate that to ‘as fed’ for horses. By comparison the carrots were 7.4g as sold. To put this in perspective hay would typically contain 10g of sugar per 100g as fed.

As with all other fruit and veg, pumpkin can be given as a treat to laminitis prone individuals as long as it is used as a treat and not fed by the bucketful! When it comes to feeding pumpkin, giving a treat of 100g-200g adds very little extra sugar, especially if that is divided into treats over the day.

Make a treat last longer

Don’t limit treats to just in hand feeding. Hiding some slivers of pumpkin in a haynet, some Dengie Pure Grass or Hi-Fi Molasses Free may engage your horse in more foraging activity thereby keeping them occupied for that little bit longer.

Can I only feed pumpkin raw to my horse?

In America there are also references to people using tinned pumpkin that has been cooked as a palatable ‘mash’ for their horse. If you wanted to try this, look for tinned pumpkin that has nothing added to it or simply cook and mash your own.

Why isn’t my horse keen on pumpkin?

Don’t be concerned if your horse isn’t keen on pumpkin, horses can be suspicious of novel feeds or may simply not like the taste of pumpkin! Try some other fruit and veg treats for example banana, pears, swede or parsnips. Alternatively Dengie’s Alfalfa Pellets and Grass Pellets can both be used as tasty treats.