Have you ever found yourself strolling down the aisles at a supermarket speculating over what to and what not to feed your horse? Tired of sticking to just apples and carrots? Well, here’s an idea; pears! They’re fresh, in season and affordable. Of course by now you’re probably wondering; can horses eat pears? Yes, they absolutely can.
Can Horses Eat Pears?
Juicy and sweet, pears are a treat likely to become your horse’s favorite. While squidgy, ripe pears are preferable since they are easier for your horse to digest, you should check to see that they aren’t rotten or old. Rotten or old pears may cause your horse to develop an upset stomach or colic and can cause numerous health issues later on.
How to Prepare Pears?
There are many ways to prepare pears for your horse, but the way I like to do it is by thoroughly washing them with cold water and chopping them into small parts. Washing is important to remove dirt and bacteria which are a concern even for horses. Larger portions may get stuck in your horse’s esophagus and serve as a choking hazard.
An important thing to keep in mind when feeding your horse pears is to remove the stalks and seeds beforehand. This is because the seeds contain small quantities of cyanide. When your horse continues to ingest the seeds regularly, the cyanide quantities build up and eventually cause great damage your horse’s health.
Another reason you may be wondering whether or not horses can eat pears may be because you have pear trees near your horse’s pasture. If this is the case, make sure your horse does not eat fruit of any kind straight off the ground. Such fruit can be dirty, moldy and will very likely contain seeds. I reiterate how a horse’s digestive system is extremely sensitive. Since they cannot vomit, colic acid and upset stomachs are common problems for horses.
In addition, to the sweet taste it is likely that your horse will enjoy the crunchy flesh as well. Apart from being a wonderful treat, pears also hold great nutritional value.
With high fiber contents and comparatively low quantities of protein pears serve as a well-balanced treat that fulfills your horse’s nutritional requirements.
The greatest nutritional benefit of pears is perhaps the great quantity of pectin present. This soluble fiber makes the stomach lining stronger, thus:
- Radically reducing the formation of gastric ulcers
- Slowing down the digestive system, thereby increasing absorption of nutrients
- Preventing accumulation of stomach acid
Pears also contain numerous vitamins including:
- Riboflavin or vitamin B2: a fundamental constituent of metabolism; i.e. integral in breaking down carbohydrates ingested by the horse, to release energy
- Vitamin C: helps the horse’s body repair and grow and is essential for the formation of skin, ligaments and tendons
- Vitamin E: helps fight foreign substances that may harm the cells, tissues and organs in the horse’s body
- Copper: aids the development and maintenance of the bones, heart and other vital organs in the horse’s body
Pears are Actually Not that Uncommon Treats for Horses
It may be that you’ve discovered how much your horse enjoys pears and have decided to either add moderate quantities to your horse’s diet or use it as a treat. In addition to being a nutritious and safe treat, in many places pears actually happen to be an everyday treat. In quite a few European countries, they are as common a horse treat as apples tend to be in North America.
Moderation is Key
Keeping all these benefits in mind, you must not forget that too much of anything can be bad. Pears may be great for your horse’s health and it may be extremely fond of them, but immoderate amounts can still cause harm.
A horse’s digestive system is extremely sensitive and takes time to adjust to sudden diet changes. Moderating portion sizes is the best way to prevent any kind of negative reaction.
Eating a huge quantity of pears may result in your horse feeling too full to eat other foods that make up his everyday balanced diet. Thus, resulting in your horse not getting all the daily nutrients it requires.
Additionally, since pears have such high sugar contents, it is recommended that you only use pears as a treat and that you feed your horse not more than 2 pounds, thrice a week.
All in all, as an answer to the original question, yes horses can eat pears. Equine nutritionists and veterinarians, say yes.
So, if you’re looking for a nutritious, safe horse treat you need not look further than your kitchen counter or the produce aisle in your local grocery store.