Can Horses Eat Peanuts? (In-depth Guidelines to follow)

Can horses eat peanuts?

It’s tempting to share our love of all things PB-related with our equine friends.

Is it safe, though?

That’s what we’re exploring today, so keep reading!


Yes. Horses can eat peanuts and peanut products such as peanut butter. Check our in-depth guide on “Can Horses Eat Peanut Butter?”

The question should not be whether horses can them but rather how much peanuts you should give to your ponies.

Because let’s face it, horses are going to relish the legume-like taste of peanuts and the crunching feel. 

Rutgers University agrees that peanuts are not bad at all when given to your equine friends as long as you do not overfeed them.

The Mid-South Eventing & Dressage Association points out that peanuts are suitable for horses, just like they are to humans.

However, if you do not give them in moderation, your horse could over-indulge and end up getting bloat or diarrhea.

You should only offer peanuts as occasional treats.

Other plants in the same category that you should feed to horses in moderation include sunflower seeds and plants, almonds, cashew nuts, dandelions, carrots, apple fruit, raspberries, and wood bark from most trees. Check our guide “Can Horses Have Almonds?” for more details.

Now that we’ve answered your main questions, let’s dig deeper into peanuts, peanut “hay” and other related foods.

black horse eating peanut hay

Health Risks of Peanuts to Ponies

Peanut shells are a good source of fiber, for sure. However, that fiber isn’t without its risks.

See, peanut shells are a major source of aflatoxins which could end up killing your pony.

Is Perennial Peanut (Peanut Hay) the Same as Peanut Groundnuts?

Perennial peanut is not the same plant as peanuts. It is a legume that tastes like alfalfa, and farmers often use it as roughage.

If you want to try it, talk to an equine nutritionist to advise you on how to feed this hay-like plant to your horse in moderation.

Leaves from the peanut groundnut are not palatable.

If anything, they would be dry and unpalatable by the time that your ground peanuts are ripening. Horses would therefore have no use for them.

Farmers can use perennial peanuts to replace their hay grass since it has similar benefits. It works as roughage, and you can use it to feed your obese equines.

READ MORE: How Fast Can a Horse Run With a Rider?

Nutritional Value of Ground Peanuts

Peanuts are high in fats, proteins, and fiber. Other mineral contents in nuts include potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, and B vitamins.

The downside of feeding too many nuts to your pony is that they are high in calories despite being low on starch.

According to USDA, just 100 grams of nuts have 567 calories of energy.

Due to this, Ohio State University published a press release calling to ban peanut-laced chocolates to steeds in a race.

They show that they contain caffeine and theobromine that will give a competitive advantage to ponies that have eaten such chocolates.

Owing to the number of calories in peanuts, you should reduce the amounts of nuts you incorporate in your steed’s diet.

Why? Because just 100 grams of nuts has more calories than 100 grams of sugar would have.

Nutritional Value of Peanut Hay

According to The University of Florida, peanut hay’s nutritional value to your pony includes crude protein, lignin, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, zinc, magnesium, neutral detergent fiber, and acid detergent fiber.

New horse owners need to incorporate this hay into the animal diet.

Can Ponies Eat Peanuts Without Choking?

While the peanut particles are so small that there is no way that they can block the esophagus of a horse, eating a bunch at once could choke your pony.

Watch the video below for what to do (and not to do) to help a choking horse, then keep reading to learn about planting your own peanut hay.

Planting Perennial Peanut Hay for Steeds

If you are planting perennial peanuts to act as a hay alternative for your pony, you will want to do it as organically as possible.

Remember, any chemical that you use could potentially get consumed by your equine.

Perennial peanuts do not have seeds. They are propagated vegetatively through rhizomes.

They do well in sandy soils and where there is a lot of sunlight, for example, in Florida, which is hot almost through the year. The soil pH needs to be from 5.0 to 7.5.

Proper tilling of the land needs to be done to remove any existing weeds.

As you plant your rhizomes, separate them 12 to 18 inches apart so that they can then form a good ground cover as they spread out.

During the dry seasons, you can water your rhizomes to establish roots and have a better land cover.

Mississippi State University estimates the cost of establishing a perennial peanut hay garden at $200 to $500 per acre.

Related: Can Horses Eat Mango?

Can Horses Eat Peanuts? Final Answer

We have established that horses can eat both ground peanuts as well as peanut hay. They do it with relish.

Peanut butter from peanuts is spread on horse treats, and they like its taste.

However, don’t overdo it, as too many peanuts can cause bloat and colic.

Grey Horse eating from a hand with text, "Can horses eat peanuts?"

Can horses eat peanuts? Share your thoughts 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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