It was a very lucky day for the horses here at South Coast today, because today they got to determine which treats really are the best! The test was simple, offer 5 horses 6 different types of treats, and see what they prefer. Each horse was given a feed pan with 1 Nickerdoodle broken into two pieces, 1 Sierra Sweet, 2 baby carrots, 2 peppermints, 2 pieces of butter scotch, and home made apple sauce (I ran out of apples, and it's all natural) and the rest was up to them. Before we get to the results, lets talk about some quick safety tips and some do's and don'ts on feeding treats.
1. Anytime you hand feed treats, make sure your fingers are together, and your hand is flat. Fingers feel like carrots!
2. It is best to put treats in your horses feed pan rather than hand feeding. Hand feeding treats can cause a horse to get nippy, or impatient. If you feed your horse a treat every day after your ride on the cross ties, chances are the day you run out of treats is the day you will find out you have a pushy, pawing horse.
- Already have a pushy horse? Stop giving him treats all together. When you feel he is ready to be a gentleman about it again, make him work for it! Have him stretch his head around to each side, between his front legs, and his nose all the way out. Also, don't give treats every single time, let it be a surprise!
3. Give your horse small bites. Whole carrots and whole apples can be hard for a horse to properly chew, which in turn can cause them to choke. If you prefer to feed treats like Nickerdoodles, Stud Muffins, Sierra Sweet, Mrs. Pastures, and other wafer-like horse treats, you should break those in to 2 or more pieces as well, as some horses wont chew them at all, and they are the perfect size to cause a blockage.
4. Read the ingredients. Choosing healthy snacks is just as important, if not more so, for our horses as it is for us! High starch, high sugar treats should be fed sparingly. Choosing all natural treats, and ingredients that are already a part of your horses diet will greatly reduce the risk of an upset stomach.
5. MODERATION. Some treats have a daily limit printed right on the box or bag, others you have to kind of guess. One apple, two carrots, or two treats is usually plenty for your horse, and he doesn't need them every single day. Adding too many treats at once can turn into more of a meal, and can really mess up your horses diet.
Alright, after a excruciating afternoon of research, the results are in!
3. Sierra Sweets
6. Apple [sauce] - I will re do the test with Apples and see if it changes.
I tallied the points by the order in which the horses ate the treats. If they didn't eat something within 3 minutes, that treat got counted as 6th place. Each horse had their favorite, and seemed to know right away exactly which one it was. After the third treat, Soda, Bay, and Zip all pretty much slowed down and then eventually took another bite. Dan pretty much shoved the first three in his mouth at once, but left enough scraps to go back and pick them out individually. Vara is the only one who ate all of her treats, one after the other. Even though the carrots came in second, they were the only treat to be chosen first by 2 horses, and the Sierra Sweets were a steady second pick. The Carrots and the Nickerdoodles were also the only treats that every horse ate.
So there you have it folks. Straight from the horses mouth!
Here you will find weekly product reviews on tack, apparel, and horse related products, as well as horse care and training information!