Feeding Pumpkins to Horses

Using just a bit of common sense, you can feed pumpkins to horses as a tasty seasonal treat.

Horse shows held in the fall are virtually guaranteed to have at least one jump or trail obstacle decorated with pumpkins. But these orange gourds can be more than just props. If you find yourself with some extra, uncarved pumpkins, consider offering them to your horse as a seasonal treat.

Pumpkins aren’t nutritionally rich, but they can be safely fed to horses as an occasional treat. | Photo Kate Light

Although pumpkins are not packed with nutrients—they are about 90 percent water—they do have a sweet flavor, and some horses develop a taste for them. But stick to feeding the fruit as a treat, rather than as a significant part of your horse’s diet. In fact, it’s wise to limit pumpkin intake to two cups per day or less.

Use common sense when offering your horse pumpkin, slicing it up into small chunks to avoid choke. Also, remember that the orange pumpkins commonly sold to make jack-o’-lanterns and pies are safe for horses, but other types of autumn gourds are toxic and can cause colic, diarrhea and gastrointestinal irritation.

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