Can Horses Eat Cauliflower? + Other Foods to Feed Your Horse

Can horses eat cauliflower? Can horses eat cauliflower leaves? Can horses eat cauliflower and broccoli?

Given how popular the nutty-flavored veggie is with people, it makes sense to wonder if our equine pals can enjoy it, too!

However, before you toss it into your steed’s feed, read on to find out if it’s really safe.

I think the answer will surprise you.


New horse owners have a lot to learn, and among the top questions is, “what can I feed them?” Can horses have cauliflower?

Cauliflower is one of the trendiest veggies for people right now, since it can mimic nearly every other food on the planet.

Wings, pizza crust, popcorn- you name it, we can use cauliflower for it.

Given it’s low-cost and ready availability, you might also be tempted to add it to your equine diet as a cellulose source to help in the digestion of other foods.

Short answer: no, you cannot feed cauliflower to your horse. Let’s look at the longer answer.


hand of a lady holding cauliflower

Why Can’t Horses Eat Cauliflower?

According to Cummings School of Veterinary medicine, you should not feed your horse with cauliflower.

The Veterinary school also states that you should not feed them ANY cabbage in the brassica family. Check our in-depth guide on “Can Horses Eat Cabbage?”

Other vegetables in this family include Brussels sprouts, broccoli, kale, and- obviously-cabbages.

Honestly, we advise that you do not give any vegetables to horses unless you have consulted an expert equine nutritionist, especially if you’re a new owner.

It’s confusing, I know, especially since agricultural experts warn that wild horses can damage your cauliflower farm.

If they can eat it, why can’t your stabled horse, right? Let’s look at the potential risks to find out.

What Are The Potential Health Risks of Cauliflower?

It is not that the cauliflower itself is that dangerous to your animal. There aren’t any poisonous compounds in it, per se.

The problem is that your horse experiences high amounts of gas due to a sugar known as raffinose in these cabbages.

Too much cauliflower, or other cruciferous vegetables, could be disastrous.

Rutgers University says that you can feed your pony with very small amounts of cabbages. And that is where the problem lies.

How do you know how much is too much or too small? It’s just better to avoid these types of vegetables since there many other safe types to choose from.

Vegetables and Fruits That Are Safe For Horses

Vegetables that you can feed your horse include carrots, turnips, and celery. You can incorporate all of these easily into the horse’s treats.

Also, horses can eat mangoes, apples, grapes, watermelons, and many other types of fruit.

You should, however, feed these fruit-treats to your horse in moderation since overdoing it could cause severe colic and possible horse diarrhea.

For horses that are obese or have insulin sensitivity, you should limit the number of carrots, apples, and raisins.

They have a very high sugar content that could worsen their diseases.

CHECK: Spicy Horse Names for Your Equine!

Other Foods That Are Not Good for Horse Treats

Ohio State University has actually called for the ban of chocolate laced with peanuts as treats to steeds competing in a race since the high energy from the chocolates gives them too much energy.

According to them, the chocolates contain theobromine and caffeine.

Though not dangerous in general, any amounts of caffeine may give positive results when a horse goes through a drug test. It’s, therefore, best to avoid these snacks for horses.

Other foods that might be a potential threat for horses since they could cause severe colic, indigestion, and severe bloat include avocados, potatoes, onions, garlic (too much may cause anemia in horses), pepper, tomatoes, and acorns.

You should also not feed your horse with lawn clipping as they will cause an imbalance of microbes in the animals’ stomach, leading to laminitis or colic.

What Foods Should A Horse Eat?

A horse falls under the category of herbivores, and the best way for them to feed is to go to a field of grass and eat it uncut for them.

Your pony might overeat lawn clippings since they are in smaller pieces and easy to nibble.

The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture points out that garden clippings could potentially lead to botulism. Typical signs of the disease include muscle weakness, difficulty swallowing, and heart attacks. If not addressed in time, botulism is fatal.

Can You Give Horses Cauliflower Leaves?

You should not give any part of the cauliflower plant to your horse, be it the leaves or the curd.

Final Words

We have seen that you should not feed your horse vegetables in the brassica family like cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and cabbages.

Though they are not that dangerous as far as compounds go, the nightmare is in measuring how much is too much. It’s advisable to avoid them completely.

However, give your pony peanut butter, turnips, carrots, and apples. You again need to limit the treats and only give them occasionally.

Brown horse staring into the distance in a field.

Can horses eat cauliflower? Did you accidentally feed your horse cauliflower? share your experiences below!

Siun L
Siun L

Siun is an all-around animal lover, with a passion for horses. She grew up in the United States, competing in the hunters, equitation, and jumpers. Now living in Ireland, she competes with her own showjumping horses. She is experienced in the care and training of horses, as well as teaching riding lessons. She loves to combine her love for horses with her work. When not working, Siun will be found at the stables, rain or shine.
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