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Horse treats are anything from apples and carrots to peppermints and ready-made cookies. Your horse may have a favorite treat or a flavor of treat that he enjoys more than others—and as horse owners we generally make sure we always have our horse’s favorite snack in stock.

However, some horse owners fear turning his or her horse into a cookie monster and don’t give any treats at all. The key is knowing how to give treats and giving treats sparingly, rather than over pampering and giving a cookie every time your horse looks at you with his twinkling eyes—yes, we know it can be hard to resist!

Knowing the relationship between horses and food will allow you to feed treats effectively. Since horse’s are programmed the eat small amounts of food continuously, your horse will constantly want another treat. For his well-being you must learn that only one or two treats are enough.

[MORE PAMPERING: 5 CHEAP & EASY WAYS TO IMPROVE YOUR HORSE'S HEALTH]

Treats for Training

Offering treats in your training program can allow you to reap the benefits of positive reinforcement. Likewise, it’s also important to remember that your horse must perform the correct maneuver before offering a treat. Offering a treat when your horse only does something partially correct can lead to the cookie-monster mentality that we want to avoid. Once your horse accomplishes what you’ve sought out to teach him, it’s time to refrain from offering treats every time the maneuver is performed correctly.

Person feeding a black horse a treat.

For safety lay your hand out flat when feeding a treat. As additional safety precaution and to teach your horse that treats aren't associated with your hands, feed treats from a bucket. 

Similarly, in our training programs we want to avoid rewarding negative behavior with treats. If your horse begins to beg for a treat by pawing or nosing your pocket, it’s time to navigate away from offering a reward of that kind and switch to a different kind of reward, such as hand grazing.

A situation that seems like it may be rewarding negative behavior but is actually a form of mitigating bad experiences is feeding a treat before and after a vet or farrier appointment. Offering a treat before and after a stressful procedure can help a horse get through the event and associate it with something positive rather than scary.

Manna Pro's Nutrigood Senior Snax horse treats.

Share joy with your senior horse by offering him an easy to chew snack that will help him nutritionally. With added health benefits, Senior Snax is a tasty treat your senior horse will enjoy. For more pampering products from Manna Pro, click here.

Nutrients in the Nuggets

While only offering a treat or two will help your horse understand that he can’t have a treat every time he asks for one, it is also a health concern to offer several treats.

No matter what kind of treat you feed, it will account for some part of your horse’s diet. Manufactured treats are a suitable option for feeding because equine nutritionists are involved in the development process and the ingredients are listed on the package.

Some manufactured treats such as Manna Pro’s Nutrigood Senior Snax offer additional health benefits such as glucosamine for joint support and omega-3 fatty acids for a coat health. The labels on the packages allow you to better understand how you’re supplementing your horse’s diet by feeding a treat and how to use the treat properly.

Bite-Sized Takeaway

The message to remember about feeding treats is to feed in moderation and don’t give in to negative rewards. Your horse’s well-being and your training program will be better off with the motto “less is more.”

EDITOR'S NOTE: Welcome to the TLC blog, sponsored by Manna Pro, where we’ll share tips about the extra, pampering things you can do for your horse…just because you love him. Our pointers will help you foster your horse’s wellbeing by boosting his health…or just making him happy.

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ENTER THIS MONTH'S GIVEAWAY WITH MANNA PRO

Three winners randomly selected will each receive 1 bag of FlaxSnax (valued at $16); 1 bag of HoofSnax (valued at $18); 1 bag of Senior Snax (valued at $7) and 2 bags of Bite-Size Apple Nuggets (valued at $10). 

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