Is There Such A Thing As Too Many Carrots?

Many horse owners and caretakers offer their horses treats as a reward or as a sign of affection, and most horses willingly eat the more-traditional treats of apples and carrots. But is there such a thing as too many treats? Can feeding too many harm a horse’s health? 

Some horse owners feed up to 10 gallons (or more) of carrots to their horses with no ill effects, reporting that the carrots add weight and are a good water substitute. Kentucky Equine Research notes if the horse doesn’t have metabolic issues, there is most likely no harm in feeding that quantity of carrots, but there is concern as to if the horse is obtaining all the dry matter and nutrients needed for a healthy diet. 

Carrots are primarily water (85 to 90 percent), so they do assist in keeping a horse hydrated. Assuming one five-gallon bucket of carrots is a meal, the horse would be consuming just 1.5 pounds of dry matter, of which 25 percent is water-soluble carbohydrates. As the horse takes a while to eat through the bucket of carrots, the nearly six ounces of sugar and three ounces of soluble fiber from the carrots slowly enters his bloodstream. 

The high amount of water could make the horse’s manure loose and provides him with a lot of calories, so he may pack on the pounds. Additionally, the horse’s coat may develop an orange tint as some of the beta-carotenes are absorbed as carotenes by body tissues. Carrots do not contain significant amounts of other nutrients. 

Read more at Kentucky Equine Research

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