A common question among equine owners is, can horses eat pumpkins?
The short answer to this is a resounding yes; it’s a healthy and safe choice for your mount.
However, this comes with a few conditions, such as frequency, quantity, and portion sizes. More on this later…
Here is everything you need to know about feeding pumpkin to horses.
Don’t forget to also check “Can Horses Eat Oranges Safely?”
Table of Contents
Can Horses Eat Pumpkins?
Have you been longing to feed pumpkins to your horse?
Well, you’ll be pleased to know that feeding pumpkins to your horse is completely safe!
In fact, a pumpkin treat makes for one of the healthiest snacks as it’s low in sugars.
So allowing your horse to snack on this fruit keeps him happy without increasing any harmful fats, carbs, or chemicals to his diet.
If anything, it makes for a good hydrating snack as 90% of its content is made up of water.
Interestingly, even though pumpkin is low in sugar, it has a pleasantly sweet flavor that your pony will love.
Can Horses Eat Pumpkin Seeds?
For humans, pumpkin seeds are a true delicacy.
Toss them in a pan containing a tiny amount of olive oil or melted butter. Add a little salt and pepper and enjoy them roasted.
The question is, are pumpkin seeds equally safe for horses as they are for humans?
The short answer to this is yes.
However, you’ll want to skip the bit about adding seasonings and instead feed your horse the raw pumpkin as is.
Can Horses Eat Pumpkin Puree?
Yes, horses can eat pumpkin puree. The truth is, horses can eat most, if not all, parts of a pumpkin, and in different forms; be it raw, pureed, or canned pumpkin.
I’d particularly recommend pureed pumpkin to horse owners, who like making their treats from scratch.
Let’s say you’re baking homemade cookies to feed your horse.
You can add canned pumpkin or make puréed pumpkin from scratch, then incorporate it into the batter.
Wondering how to make pumpkin puree for your horse? Here’s how:
- Wash the pumpkin thoroughly
- Preheat your oven to 350°F
- Cut your pumpkin into quarters. This recipe requires just one-quarter of a pumpkin so you can save the rest
- Divide the quarter into smaller chunks
- Remove the seeds. You can also save the seeds for roasting later on
- Place the sliced pumpkin on a baking sheet. Remember to line the sheet with parchment paper before placing the pumpkin slices
- Set the timer to a 45-minute window and press the start button to bake
- Once the time runs out, gently remove the baking tray; use oven gloves for this
- Check the texture of the pumpkin. It should be fork-tender to allow for easy pureeing
- Allow enough time for the baked pumpkin to cool before removing the skin
- After removing the skin, divide the pumpkin further into small pieces, then put them in a blender
- Add water gradually to puree the pumpkin to your preferred consistency
Related: Can Horses Eat Pears?
Benefits of Pumpkins to Horses
Whenever you’re introducing new ingredients to your horse’s diet, the first thing you should think about entails their health benefits (or lack thereof).
What nutrients are present and how would they impact your stallion?
Knowing the nutritional content is particularly crucial when you’re dealing with a horse suffering from a metabolic condition.
The last thing you want is to feed your horse an ingredient that causes gastrointestinal irritation.
In such cases, a food product’s glycemic index and load are important metrics to account for.
Glycemic index (GI) determines just how fast a carbohydrate food will be digested then released into the bloodstream as glucose.
Glycemic load (GL), on the other hand, estimates the potential of a given food to trigger a sporadic increase in blood glucose. Essentially, it evaluates the blood glucose response resulting from consuming a given carb.
Pumpkin’s GI is rated at 75, which is on the higher side of the spectrum. But its GL is just 3.
This means that when consumed in moderate quantities, it will not cause any rapid increase in blood sugar levels.
This principle applies to even those horses that have metabolic problems, such as insulin resistance or Cushing’s disease and Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS).
In addition to its low GL, pumpkin is chock full of beneficial vitamins, minerals, and fiber. It contains nutrients such as:
- Fiber – pumpkin has a high fiber content; up to 0.5 grams for every 100 grams. This is a healthy addition to your horse’s daily diet because it forms the bulk that keeps the gut feeling full.
- Vitamin A – this fruit is an excellent source of vitamin A. It plays a significant role in several functions of a horse’s body, including improving vision, and boosting immunity.
- Vitamin E – horses use vitamin E to not only boost their immune system but also to enhance normal nerve and muscle function. Unfortunately, they don’t have the capability to synthesize it in their body. Thus, feeding your horse a few pumpkin slices every once in a while is a nice way to supplement their vitamin E.
- Vitamin C – pumpkin also contains a generous amount of vitamin C. This nutrient is vital to your mount’s lung and immune system and it improves their heart health.
- Minerals – equines need minerals just as much as they need vitamins. Luckily, a small serving of pumpkin can meet most of your mount’s recommended mineral requirements. The fruit contains calcium, magnesium, potassium, copper, and manganese.
- Fatty acids – another reason you should add pumpkin to your equine’s diet is that it contains omega-3 and -6 fatty acids. These are crucial in improving your horse’s joint health and reducing the risk of inflammation.
ARE PUMPKIN LEAVES POISONOUS TO HORSES?
No, they are not. As mentioned earlier, pumpkin is generally safe for your horse. In fact, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) does not list pumpkin or any of its parts as a toxic plant to horses.
CAN YOU FEED PUMPKIN TO A LAMINITIS-PRONE HORSE?
Yes, you can.
As is the case with other fruits and veggies, pumpkin can be fed to horses susceptible to laminitis. However, it should only be given as an occasional treat. And even then, feed your horse just a few slices.
HOW MANY PUMPKINS SHOULD YOU FEED A HORSE?
Wondering what the correct pumpkin intake for your mount is? Well, feeding just a slice or two of pumpkin per day is enough.
You should never feed him more than a couple of cups. If anything, this fruit is better off given as a treat as opposed to on a regular basis.
WHAT OTHER PRECAUTIONS SHOULD I FOLLOW WHEN FEEDING A PUMPKIN TO A HORSE?
Be keen when choosing the pumpkin to feed your mount. Never feed decorative pumpkins or ones that have wax inside. They should also be in good condition, that is, they should not have started to rot or mold. Finally, always slice the pumpkin into smaller pieces. Feeding large chunks only poses a choking hazard.
- Nutrient Requirements of Horses. 2007. Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/11653.
- “Toxic and Non-Toxic Plant List – Horse.” 2015. ASPCA. 2015. https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/horse-plant-list.
Can horses eat pumpkin? Have you tried feeding your horse a pumpkin?
Salome Njeri has established a successful career offering ghostwriting, copywriting, and blogging services. Her passion is to create meaningful and detailed content that not only educates, but also entertains.
Before she started writing, she got a graduate degree in Economics and Statistics from Kenyatta University, Kenya. After that, she did a couple of clerical jobs just to make ends meet. She now works as a full-time freelance writer.
When she’s not on her computer or tending to her new baby, you’ll likely find her in the kitchen trying out a new recipe.