Thanksgiving arrives next week and the fall season brings an abundance of pumpkins, making these orange fruits of the vine readily available and a good buy. Pumpkins are noted for their nutrients including high levels of vitamins, A, E , folate and fiber. In addition, most horses love the taste.
With Thanksgiving rapidly approaching, why not treat your horse to some tasty pumpkin snacks?.
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Now is the time to thinking about sharing the bounteous pumpkin harvest with your horses. After Halloween, many Jack-O-Lanterns are either thrown away or left to rot. If you still have your Jack-O-Lantern, why not delight your horse with some pumpkin treats or simply leave the Jack-O-Lantern in the pasture as a toy or a horsey treat.
Many horses enjoy eating the shell and all of the pumpkin, so when doing your Thanksgiving shopping, think about buying a pumpkin as a treat for your horses. Make sure that you remove the tough stem, since a horse might choke on it and if giving your horse your left-over Jack-O-Lantern, remove any wax left by candles.
Also, make sure that the pumpkin doesn't have any moldy spots before giving it to your horse. Most horses enjoy munching on the seeds, so no need to clean them out.
You may also want to cut the pumpkin in pieces to hand feed to your horse as treats as you would pieces of carrot or apple.
If you make baked treats for your horses, you can substitute mashed pumpkin for apple sauce, or simply add chunks of cut-up pumpkin, but make sure the treats you bake are healthy without too much added sugar or carbohydrates.
For overweight horses or those with a metabolic condition, pieces of plain baked pumpkin make a great low-calorie snack with a low glycemic index.
A word of caution
If your horse has hyperkalemic periodic paralysis - HYPP - be aware that pumpkin has a relatively high level of potassium, and this can exacerbate HYPP clinical signs.