Can Horse Eat Cooking Apples? Are They Safe?

Do horses eat cooking apples or are they toxic?

So far, we’ve learned that horses can eat a wide variety of fruits either as staples or as safe treats, so, today we address one more: cooking apples.

You may have a cooking apple tree in your backyard, or you bought some in the grocery store and are wondering if they’re safe for your horses.

Let’s dig in and find out!

Check: Do Horses Eat Meat?

Are Cooking Apples Safe For Horses?

So, do horses eat cooking apples or can horses eat cooking apples?

Yes. Horses can eat cooking apples. They actually love them, especially when served raw.

But you should only feed them occasionally since overfeeding could cause stomach aches.

All apples are actually safe for horses. Unlike regular apples that are often sweeter and softer, cooking apples tend to harder and not that sweet. But horses will still find them palatable.

a hand feeding apple to a horse: do horses eat cooking apples?

This type of apple is grown worldwide, and it can either be baked, used to make the sauce, or apple butter.

They are also larger than “eating apples” and don’t always break down when they’re cooked.

Besides being a safe treat, cooking apples are also a good source of fiber which helps indigestion.

They also contain a considerable amount of antioxidants (Vitamins A and C) which prevent inflammation, fatigue, and other infections.

These apples contain potassium as well, which is helpful in cellular metabolism and also helps by facilitating nerve functions.

How Often Should You Feed Your Horse Cooking Apples

One mistake horse owners make is feeding horses apples without cutting them up, or feeding them too many apples at a time.

While most horses can fit a whole apple into their mouth, they could accidentally swallow without chewing it, leading to choking or even death.

a dotted horse smelling an apple on the fence

Since cooking apples are larger than regular apples, your equine friend has a higher chance of choking on them.

So please, cut them into smaller pieces to avoid choking. Also, you should limit the number of apples to no more than 5 per day.

Some of the most popular cooking apple varieties to feed your horse include;

  • Granny Smith
  • Bramley Apple

It would be best to grow the apples yourself since you will be aware of the fertilizers and pesticides used.

But if you’re getting them from the store, always go for organic apples. Some of the chemicals used to grow commercial apples may be harmful to your horse.

Preparing Cooking Apples For Your Horse

Horses prefer raw fresh apples. So you can share with them the regular apple slices.

You can also feed your horse apple peelings since they’re also good sources of fiber and your equine friend will most like love them.

However, there are other ways that you can prepare the apples to make it easier for her to eat. Below are some of them;

baked cooking apples

Baked apple –

You can bake the apple until it’s soft. Or you can incorporate it in baked treats. When making the treats, avoid adding too much sugar or any other ingredients that aren’t suitable for horses.

Apple Oatmeal –

You can also incorporate cooking apples in oatmeal for your horses. Just like with the baked treats, watch the ingredients and make sure they’re safe for your horse.

Cooking Apples and bran mash –

Cooking apples tend to be a bit sour. So, if your horse is used to the sweetness of the dessert apple, they’ll tell the difference. But you can mix the cooking apple pieces in bran.

Other Types Of Apples To Feed Your Horse

Below are other types of apples to consider as treats for your equine friend.

fresh red and green suncrisp apples

  • Suncrisp
  • Pink Lady
  • Gala
  • Fuji
  • Honeycrisp
  • Red Delicious apples

Yellow apples, red and green colorings are all safe for your horse.

Other Types of Fruits That Your Horse Will love

If your horse doesn’t like the tart taste of cooking apples, below are other fruits that she’ll love;

  • Mangoes
  • Bananas
  • Pears
  • Oranges
  • Grapes
  • Strawberries

Here is also a comprehensive post about various fruits horses can eat and their benefits to your equine pal.

Can Horses Eat Windfall Apples?

These are the apples that apple trees shed to allow the other fruits to ripen.

And yes, you can feed your ponies windfall apples, but stick to 2 to 5 fruits per day. You should also check if they’re rotten before you feed them to your horse.

Can Horses Eat Rotten Apples?

While it’s okay to feed your horse bruised apples or apples with soft spots, it’s not a good idea to feed them rotten apples.

The same case applies to moldy fruits or fruits that have just been sprayed with chemicals.

IF your horse accidentally ate a rotten apple, don’t fret.

Watch for a few hours, and she shows signs of drooling or other symptoms, contact your vet as soon as possible.

Foods you Should Never Feed To Your Horse.

Now that you know cooking apples, dessert apples, and other fruits you can feed your horse as treats, below are foods to avoid.

Lawn Clippings –

Freshly cut grass from your lawn may seem like a good alternative to hay or grass from the fields, but it’s not.

First of all, it may be mixed up with toxic plants such as rhubarb leaves and lily of the valley.

Lily of the valley is known to cause heart failure and other heart issues.

Secondly, lawn clippings may contain chemical pesticides that may be harmful to your horse.

Thirdly, since the clippings are already cut, your horse may munch on them too fast, leading to belly aches and colic.

And lastly, lawn clippings may contain too much sugar, which may cause laminitis.

Cruciferous veggies –

These are vegetables such as cabbages, turnips broccoli, and sprouts.

They produce too much gas that may make your equine friend uncomfortable.

Note, horses can eat swede, which comes from the turnip family but is a vastly different vegetable.

Meat –

Horses are herbivores. Therefore, meat shouldn’t be part of their diet.

There have been cases of horses acquiring the taste of meat, either naturally or from being fed by their owner, but don’t make it a habit.

A small bite of meat-based treats wouldn’t hurt, but only occasionally. For more info, check our definitive guide answering “Can Horses Eat Meat?”

Cattle feed –

Cattle feed contains additives that are only meant for cattle but may be harmful to horses.

Wrapping Up

Horses enjoy cooking apples. But like other fruits, cooking apples should only be fed as treats.

Always cut them into small pieces, and limit them to at least 5 fruits per day.

I have also highlighted foods you shouldn’t feed your horse which include cruciferous vegetables, meat, cattle feed, and lawn clippings.

lady feeding cooking apple to the horse

Does your horse eat cooking apples? share with us 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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