Horses are browsers, not grazers. In addition to grazing grass, a wild horse fulfils its nutritional needs by browsing on an array of trees, plants, berries, bark and other vegetation.
It is our responsibility as carers of our domesticated horses to provide as much of this variety as we can to provide natural sources of nutrients and also to add interest to their lives.
I have broken the list up into groups for easy reference. This is not an exhaustive list. I am sure there are plenty of foods that I have missed, but I hope it inspires you to give your horse a bit of variety.
All foods should be given in moderation. This is true for all horses, but especially if your horse is stabled and/or has led a life of restricted/bland or processed foods. These horses crave variety in their diet and are likely to over indulge if allowed to do so.
Cherries (stones removed)
Raspberries (and any cuttings from the plant)
Blackberries (and the brambles)
Apricots (stones removed)
Mango (stone removed)
figs (stones removed)
Plums (stones removed)
Dates (stones removed)
Peaches (stones removed)
Herbs can be bought dried, or you can grow them yourself in the garden and cut small amounts to offer your horse from time to time. Alternatively, you can plant a herb garden for your horse so that they can self select what they need. Some of the herbs listed will not be very palatable to many horses, but will usually be consumed in small amounts for their medicinal properties when needed.
Trees are sometimes more difficult to get hold of, especially if you don’t own your land. But ask around and see if friends or family have these trees or shrubs that you can take cuttings from. A log or two in the field will also be greatly received as horses are natural wood chewers.
Here’s a few safe ones…
Dog Rose (they love the hips as well as the cuttings)