I recently decided to start clicker training my young mare and found myself hunting around in the refrigerator, looking for anything that might resemble a horse treat.
While my Percheron cross, Pandamonium, adores bananas, they make a mess of your treat dispenser, hands, reins, and pretty much everything else!
Carrots ended up being my horse treat of choice! But, when I saw some of the delicious horse treats available online, I realized that I was doing Panda a disservice.
A piece of carrot might be a suitable reward for picking hoof up, but it wasn’t going to cut it once we got to the bigger challenges, like shoulder-in.
I decided to look around for some inspiration and was astonished by the variety (and complexity) of homemade horse treat recipes available.
How to Choose the Best Homemade Horse Treat
Should I make homemade horse cookies or opt for a recipe with more wholesome ingredients, like ground flaxseed, sweet potato, or grated carrots?
While I’m a dab hand at making pastry, that’s where my culinary skills begin and end! So, my priority was finding homemade horse treats that were simple to make.
I also wanted to find something that wouldn’t fall apart or mess up my treat dispenser and that my horse would find desirable enough that she’d be willing to lie down on command to earn one.
I ruled out frozen treats as it’s simply too hot in South Africa for these to survive even a short training session. I also disregarded anything that would take more than an hour to make. I would rather spend that time being a slave to my horse than slaving over a hot stove.
I ended up with the following five recipes for healthy horse treats, all of which are simple and quick to make but produce mouth-watering results.
Five Simple Horse Treat Recipes You Can Make at Home
Providing for your horses doesn’t have to be time-consuming – or dull. Here are some exciting homemade horse treat recipes that horses love!
1. The Ultimate Horse Cookie Recipe by Tanya Davenport
These homemade horse cookies look and smell good enough to eat, and Tanya has tweaked her recipe to ensure they won’t fall apart in your treat pouch.
The original recipe is comparatively high in sugar with its apple chunks and molasses but, you can make a low-sugar alternative by using sweet potato instead of apple and a combination of egg and ground flaxseed as a substitute for the molasses.
2. Earth Muffins by Michelle N. Anderson
These healthy homemade horse treats are quick to make but delicious enough to coax even picky eaters into giving their best performance.
Although Michelle’s recipe calls for marionberries, if you don’t live in Oregon, you can easily replace these with frozen blackberries.
By soaking ground flaxseeds in water, you can create a gelatinous consistency that binds the berries with the oatmeal and adds healthy omega-3 fatty acids into the mix.
3. Easy No-Bake Horse Treats by the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame and Museum
The biggest problem with these treats is that they’re so tasty, you might eat them all before your horse gets a single mouthful.
The basic ingredients include a handful of horse feed, granola, or puffed wheat, a couple of cups of oats, and some peanut butter to hold the oat mixture together. Some also suggest adding some rosehip powder to the mix to give your horse’s health a boost.
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4. Pumpkin Oat Dog and Horse Treats by Colleen Cheechalk
These versatile pumpkin horse treats are just as good for your canine companions as your equine ones. You can make a full batch of these crunchy horse treats cheaply and quickly.
Simply combine the dry ingredients, namely old-fashioned oatmeal, and ground flaxseed, in a food processor with a can of pumpkin and a few spices.
Bake on a couple of cookie sheets and then store in an airtight container.
PS: Here’s another good example from Saddlery Direct!
5. Princess Pixie’s Sparkly Flax Snax by Elk Creek Hot Tamale
Perfect for the pampered pony and complete with edible glitter, these mouth-watering horse treats are packed with healthy ingredients and take just 18-20 minutes to bake.
A half-cup of molasses helps the wheat flour, oats, and flax meal stick together, while the coconut adds both flavor and helps to boost your horse’s gut health.
Again, if you want a healthier version, you can replace the molasses with a flax-and-water mixture instead.
Our Favorite Horse Treat Recipes!
The ultimate homemade horse treat might be all that’s standing between you and a perfectly executed dressage maneuver.
By cooking up a batch of crunchy horse cookies or earth muffins, you’re not only showing your equine companion how much you love him, but you’re also creating a way to reward his behavior with positive reinforcement.
Making treats with herbs or spices can also provide you with the means to boost your horse’s health while simultaneously tantalizing his tastebuds.
You never know, but a few carrot crisp horse treats could be the answer to getting a picky eater to gulp down his unappetizing supplements happily – and regularly!
Also – let us know your favorite horse treat recipes in the comments below!
What snacks and treats do your horses love the most?
Thanks so much for reading!