Oranges are a staple in many of our diets. They’re sweet, filled with juice, and provide necessary nutrients, all in a peel that serves as a convenient container. But we’re humans, and our digestive systems are different than our horses; so as with many other foods, we have to stop and ask ourselves if what is safe for us is safe to offer our horses. Can horses eat oranges?
Simply answered, yes, our horses can safely eat oranges. Oranges are among the many types of fresh fruits and vegetables that are safe to offer our horses as an occasional treat. For the horse who has a sweet tooth, oranges are great way to satisfy that craving with a whole, unprocessed food. There is no need to peel the orange before offering it as a snack, and no need to search for seedless oranges either. While some horses may balk at eating the peel, the entire orange is safe for our horses to ingest, and some research even suggests that oils within the peels may even help our horses recover faster after exercising!
Like with any food that is not part of our horse’s regular diet, oranges should be limited to an occasional treat. Some individuals think that the high vitamin C content of the orange is a reason to offer large amounts of them to their horse, but that is not the case. A normal and well-balanced diet will generally provide more than enough vitamin C, making it unnecessary to offer oranges as an additional supplement. The general rule of thumb is that one orange offered once or twice a week is an appropriate, moderate amount to offer as a treat. For horses who are insulin resistant, it is probably best to check with a veterinarian before offering oranges, as the natural sugar content of the orange may upset the balance of sugar in the horse’s diet. But for most other horses, the answer to the question: Can horses eat oranges? is a resounding yes!
The next time your horse needs a special treat, you can rest assured that oranges are a safe, delicious option for your favorite equine!