A Matter of Taste

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According to a study at the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom, apple flavors may not be your horse’s first pick from the menu.

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The study, “Selection and acceptance of flavours in concentrate diets for stabled horses,” published in Applied Animal Behavior Science by D. Goodwin, H.P.B. Davidson, and P. Harris, offered eight horses 15 flavors.

The top eight ranked by equine participants were: fenugreek (an aromatic Eurasian plant grown mainly for fodder), banana, cherry, rosemary, cumin, carrot, peppermint, and oregano. Apple, ginger and garlic trailed, while horses turned their noses up at Echinacea, coriander, and nutmeg flavored meals.

The results of the study could have applications Mary Poppins and her “spoon full of sugar” theory would approve of: Research on equine flavor preferences may help make medications more palatable— and easier for owners to administer.