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RainbowDragon
07-23-2008, 05:36 AM
This is a 2-part question for those who have raised, worked with or otherwise learned about horses first-hand.

1. Is it safe to feed whole fruits/vegetables? I.e. apples with the core, carrots with the stalks, etc.

2. Would a wild horse lucky enough to happen upon a fruit tree or your family farm's vegetable patch wolf things down whole (perhaps blatantly disregarding the answer to #1, above, but that goes hand in hand with the whole wild lifestyle)?

Thanks for your help!

Saanen
07-23-2008, 05:47 AM
Yes, and yes.

Horses are grazers rather than browsers (meaning they eat grass primarily), so a horse usually won't do all that much damage in a garden, depending on what they find and what the individual horse likes as a treat. At least, they won't do as much damage as, say, a deer or goat would (both those animals being browsers).

Medievalist
07-23-2008, 05:55 AM
Horses will munch apples off a tree, if they can reach 'em. Even crab apples.

But they, like cows and pigs, will also eat the apples that fall on the ground . . . especially those that are a little "buzzy" with fermentation, whereupon said critter is a little tipsy.

Tsu Dho Nimh
07-23-2008, 07:21 AM
They will eat any number of "treat" vegetables down to ground level if they get in a garden ... lettuce and peasand spinach, for example, but they don't like the brassica family (turnips, radishes ... bitter leaved stuff).

I knew one that had a weakness for strawberries. He would snuffle through the strawberry plants and nab the ripe berries.

They have very sensitive mouths and lips - aren't likely to try for fruit off thorny plants, but they will accept a palmful of raspberries.

WriteKnight
07-23-2008, 07:34 AM
Yup, they'll eat till its gone, then go looking for something else to eat. Hence the expression "Eats like a horse."

But horses, like people, can be finicky. I've know a few that just didn't care for carrots. Some that LOVED cabbage. Go figure.

Medievalist
07-23-2008, 08:14 AM
I knew one that had a weakness for strawberries. He would snuffle through the strawberry plants and nab the ripe berries.

My sister had one that could delicately, using his lips, eat ripe but tiny wild strawberries.

jclarkdawe
07-23-2008, 05:13 PM
Horses can handle carrots and other fruits and veggies, but some people feel there is a swallowing risk. That's why many people cut up apples and carrots. Personally I've fed horses entire ears of corn, husked or not. The whole thing goes in the mouth (very long jaws) and they'll grind the whole thing up before swallowing.

Horses have a lot of individual tastes. They have to be careful of what they eat because they have major problems with vomiting. What goes in has to go through the system.

Eating like a horse refers to the amount of time that they eat. A horse will spend about 18 hours a day eating. Without the multiple stomachs such as cows and goats have, they are very inefficient about processing their food.

A horse will naturally wander a lot in its eating. Horses in the wild cover a range of 20 to 50 miles in a day. Even domesticated, if they have the room, they will spend the day taking a bite here and moving a few feet, then another couple of bites, so on and so forth throughout the day.

My horse, who was born wild, will wander even when given large amounts of really good stuff. He'll work the good stuff for a while, then wander the rest of his pasture, checking to make sure something else good hasn't appeared, before returning to the good stuff. He can keep up with the apple tree in his pasture (drops, not on the tree), but he won't stay there pigging out.

About the only thing I know that a horse will pig out on is grain.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

Andre_Laurent
07-24-2008, 12:30 AM
They have to be careful of what they eat because they have major problems with vomiting. What goes in has to go through the system.


Actually, horses cannot vomit at all. What they can do is colic...and if it's bad enough, they die...usually from rolling and twisting an intestine. Therefore, you don't want Mr. Horse to eat all the apples he wants, they can kill him. I lost a two year old colt to colic. My vet did everything he could and I spent half the night walking him, trying to keep him on his feet. He dropped and died right in front of me.