Horses often respond well to fruits, as happy for the sugar fix as we are. But where do oranges fit into this, are they healthy, are they toxic? In other words, can horses eat oranges or is this one food that they have to stay well away from?
Can Horses Eat Oranges
We can’t find any information that would suggest oranges are toxic to horses. In fact, while there are aspects of many fruits and vegetables that can be toxic to animals, it seems like oranges are okay for horses.
To understand what we mean by this you only have to look at grapes. As discussed on our Can Dogs Eat Grapes article, these fruits are poisonous to our favorite pets, even though many pet owners don’t realize it and may have even tried to feed their pets grapes! Not only that, but there are issues with apple seeds for most animals and then you have the issue with cats and oranges.
Simply put, our feline friends hate these fruits, shying away as soon as they get a whiff of the citrus. That’s why pet experts suggest you put orange peel around a Christmas tree to stop your mischievous feline climbing or attacking the tree.
Still, we digress because when it comes to horses there are no such issues and no such aversions. In fact, we have spoken to several horse owners who report giving occasional oranges, satsumas, clementines and other such fruits to their horse on an occasional basis. And that “occasional” aspect is key, because you have to avoid overdoing it.
How Many Oranges to Feed Your Horse
As we discussed on our Horse Nutrition page, a horse’s diet should consist mainly of fresh grass and/or hay. This is what they eat for the most part, as well as feed that contains some concentrated grains, a few handfuls of oats on occasional and a mineral block. Really, that is the bulk of their diet and everything else is extra, a treat really.
In other words, as healthy as oranges ar for us, they are really just sugary treats for horses. Not as unhealthy as a handful of sugar cubes, but certainly not as healthy as a handful of hay or oats. So, an orange, apple or other fruit every now and then is perfectly okay, but do not feed them several oranges a day, do not go overboard at all.
How to Feed Horses Orange
The peel of an orange is obviously very bitter. It contain concentrated pockets of an oil from which we get the orange flavor and scent of orange. This is actually the stuff that is used to make orange squash (fun fact of the day) and some animals are not as averse to it in is natural form as we are.
However, it may cause issues with the horses stomach as they are known to be irritants. If you cut yourself and get even just a little bit of orange juice in the wound then you probably have some experience of this yourself.