While treating your horses with fruits and vegetables, have you ever considered spinach? It’s fair to have a thought as spinach has an extremely high nutritional value. In this brief post, we would discuss if horses can eat spinach, if they can how it should be fed and how is it beneficial? So, without further ado, let’s see if they can spinach or not.
Yes, horses can eat spinach but that does not mean they should be eating it as a meal. A horse’s digestive system is used to processing grains and hay/pasture, eating an unusual food can cause serious health issues. So, it is advised to feed spinach occasionally, if the horse enthusiasts plan to feed anyway.
Do Horses Like Spinach?
Yes, most of the horses that get to eat spinach occasionally seem to like it. There are some horses out there as well that might not like spinach at all. Frankly, we do not see a reason to hate this refreshing, mild, and sweet taste.
Even though the horse enthusiasts know that they can feed spinach and their horse is probably going to like it as well, it’s still not enough information to start feeding spinach to that poor creature living in your barn. Here’s what else you need to know;
Spinach can only be fed occasionally and in moderation
Let alone spinach, all fruits, and vegetables that are considered safe and healthy for horses should never be fed as a complete meal, but only as treats.
A handful of spinach would not create any issue, so try not to overfeed even if the horse begs more. Moreover, spinach should also be fed occasionally to avoid potential health issues.
Be aware! overfeeding can cause intestinal gas and digestive issues
It is mentioned several times above that spinach should only be fed in moderation, there is a legitimate reason for that.
If feeding occasionally or the feed-in-moderation principles are ignored, the horse can suffer from intestinal gas and several mild or severe digestive issues.
Diarrhea, lack of appetite, constipation, weakness, restlessness, inflammatory bowel disease, bloating, abdominal pain, or gastric ulcers are the visible signs of spinach issues.
What’s The Right Way of Feeding Spinach?
Spinach has already alarmed most of the overprotective horse enthusiasts, so here are the feeding rules that you can follow to make spinach safe and healthy for the poor little fella.
The spinach should always be washed thoroughly before feeding. Not only spinach but all fruits and vegetables should also be washed, this rewarding leafy green vegetable grows on rough surfaces so it should be washed because it can carry bacteria like E. Coli. E. Coli bacteria is not deadly enough to put a horse’s life at stake but it happens to cause diarrhea, low-grade fever, stomach pain, and cramps.
It’s up to the horse enthusiasts, this leafy green vegetable can be fed chopped or unchopped. It would not cause any issues.
Spinach can only be fed once a week to avoid any potential health issues. If spinach is fed more than once a week, the horse can suffer from diarrhea, colic, constipation, abdominal pain, gastric ulcer, bloating, and inflammatory bowel disease.
Moreover, as mentioned above, a huge amount of spinach can be harmful; it should always be fed in moderation.
If the horse enthusiasts keep these feeding rules in mind, no fruit or vegetable can cause any issue and if any of the above-mentioned rules are neglected, even the safest and healthiest fruit or vegetable can cause serious health issues.
The problem is not the fruit/vegetable, it’s just that the horse’s digestive system is not made to process the said options in noticeable amounts.
What Vitamins And Minerals Do Spinach Have?
The horse enthusiasts are now aware of the darker side of feeding spinach, it would not be fair to not look into the brighter part.
Spinach is said to be a rewarding leafy green vegetable because it contains a noticeable amount of iron, manganese, magnesium, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, vitamin A, B, and E. Now allow us to enlighten you on how are these vitamins and minerals beneficial for horses;
We all know that we need iron to transport oxygen to the parts of our bodies. Horses need iron for the same purpose; to transport oxygen and give blood a rich red color.
It’s super normal for horses to suffer from magnesium deficiency if it is not being consumed through the feed. So, magnesium is equally essential, it is demanded optimal muscle function and nerve transmission.
Moreover, it is also needed by horses to enzyme activity and muscle tissue recovery following intense training or exercise.
As per the experts, a healthy horse needs around 400 mg of manganese every day to live a balanced life. Sometimes, it’s super hard to fulfill the need from feed, a fruit and vegetable treat can be added to give the animal a healthy boost. So, the appropriate supply would help in antioxidant protection and bone growth.
Potassium is a crucial mineral that is not just needed to maintain osmotic pressure, acid, and base balance but improves muscle and nerve function.
An adequate supply of potassium every day would help them in relieving the horse from fatigue.
Calcium is also required for the healthy functioning of several functions. It plays an important role in muscle contraction, blood clotting, enzyme regulation, and the structural integrity of a horse’s skeleton.
A healthy mature horse weighing around 1100 pounds needs 14 grams of potassium every day to live a balanced life.
This requirement can also solely not be filled by hay/pasture and grains. So, spinach as an occasional treat would play a part in healthy bone growth and improve skeleton health.
Vitamin A, B, and E
Vitamin A, B, and E are all equally important for the horse’s health and wellness. Vitamin A is an essential part of the equine diet as it supports vision, immune system, and reproductive function, vitamin B boosts the horse’s energy level, vitamin E maintains the immune system and nerve and muscle function.
In brief, horses can eat spinach but in moderation as it can cause digestive upset and intestinal issues.
- Spinach: Health Benefits, Nutrition Facts (& Popeye)