Can Horses Eat Blackberries?
If you have a horse or care for a horse, then you’re probably interested in searching for healthy treats. Although horses thrive on a diet that’s comprised of hay or horse feed, they also enjoy other treats. You may want to integrate vegetables and fruits into their daily regimen. However, as you probably know, not all of these are safe for horses.
Blackberries and Horses
The simplest answer is that blackberries are typically safe for horses to enjoy. These dense berries contain heart-healthy antioxidants which are good for a horse’s health. They also enjoy the taste of the sweet berries. You may find that if your horse is around a blackberry bush that has fresh fruit, they will probably try to help themselves. It’s usually best to make sure that you’re feeding your horse fruits that are thoroughly washed but this may be more challenging to provide if your horse is eating them while you’re out riding.
For this reason, it’s typically best to feed your horse only the blackberries that you have picked yourself or purchased on your own. It may be tempting to let the horse graze on a blackberry bush but you should avoid letting your horse do this if possible. There may be dirt or other items on the blackberries which could cause some stomach upset. Additionally, since blackberries grow on thorny bushes, these could hurt their mouths in some cases. It may not be ideal to let the horse pick their own blackberries. However, providing clean berries as a sweet treat is not going to cause harm.
If you’re thinking about giving blackberries to your horse, many people want to know how much is too much. Horses are designed to eat naturally small amounts of food on a constant basis so don’t be surprised if they never turn down treats. Your horse is going to ask for more blueberries but it’s best if you learn how to say no. Blueberries have good nutritional value but your horse also needs the nutrients that they get from their normal feed. Since the horse’s digestive system also contains a balance of bacteria as well as other microbes which are essential to intestinal function, limit the treats that you give from all sources. Feeding too many alternate foods, even healthy ones like blackberries could upset their delicate balance and cause problems.
If you’re going to be giving blackberries or any treat, you do want to be careful about how often you provide these treats. Feeding treats to your horse every day is going to get your horse to expect them on a daily basis. Your horse is going to be particularly eager to get them if he or she is getting treats at the same time each day. If you don’t give your horse blackberries in this case, then you’re asking for misbehavior. It’s typically best to give treats occasionally and as a fun way to reward good behavior but also avoid making it a pattern.
Giving Blackberries to Your Horse
Another question that many people have is how to give this treat to your hose. Treats can be given in any number of ways. Some people prefer to hand-feed blackberries. If your horse doesn’t mind eating treats out of your hand, this can be a fun way to give a treat. They can become a little nippy though so if this occurs, you may want to give them blackberries by using another method.
It may be easier to put the blackberries in a pan or feed trough. Using a feed bucket is probably the safest option but the choice is up to you.
Blackberries as well as any type of treat should only be given in moderation. It’s best to give small portions and not on a daily basis. Only a few at a time will still be enjoyable by your horse without causing any type of digestion problem or concern. Chances are that your horse is going to want more but don’t give in to your horse’s begging. Your horse will ultimately be better off if you limit the extras and feed blackberries as well as all treats in moderation. If your horse does go after blackberry bushes while you’re riding, try to limit their intake from this source as well.