Watermelon is a favorite picnic treat on hot days—and one your horse can also enjoy. Many horses relish the juicy red part of the fruit as well as the harder white-and-green rinds. And because watermelon contains a lot of water, it can help to keep a horse hydrated on very hot days.
However, it’s important to keep a few precautions in mind before offering watermelon to your horse. For one, the fruit is high in natural sugars, so it isn’t a good choice for horses with a history of insulin resistance or other metabolic issues. Also, you need to be careful about how you offer pieces of watermelon to any horse. Larger chunks of the rind can cause choke if the horse doesn’t chew them thoroughly. As you would with any snack, cut the fruit into chunks that are smaller than two inches, and avoid offering the rind to horses with dental issues that make chewing difficult.
This article first appeared in EQUUS issue #443.