In a season when treats abound, you may be tempted to give your horse a few extra goodies. For a horse with insulin sensitivity, however, it’s best to avoid even occasional sugary treats. And it’s not just sugar cubes and peppermints you need to skip---too many apples and carrots may also trigger a glycemic response (an increase in blood sugar) that can cause a laminitic episode. You can still indulge your horse safely, however, if you follow a few basic guidelines:
• Give tiny portions. You don’t need to give your horse the entire bag of carrots, which will overload him with sugar. He will be happy with a single piece.
• Buy low-glycemic treats. Many commercial horse treats are made specifically for horses with sugar and/or carbohydrate sensitivity. Check the
label to be certain, and remember that molasses is a form of sugar.
•Consider a nutty alternative. A single roasted peanut in the shell is a traditional treat that has a lower glycemic index than fruits or vegetables. Peanut allergies aren’t an issue in horses.
This article first appeared in EQUUS issue #457, October 2015.