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Old 02-26-2006, 12:47 PM  
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How many apples a day?

Believe it or not, I tried putting "how many apples" into Google, to see if I could find a veterinary article on how many apples a day might be good for a horse . . . . I came up with a bunch of hits for math problems!

Anyway, my next door neighbor is the school lunch lady, and she's in charge of inspecting the apples to serve with the kids' lunches. So she discerningly picks out the ones with slight bruises or nicks or cuts on them. Then she gives them to me and Jacques!

While this is very nice and very generous of her, I'm usually getting 15-20 apples per week from her, and I only see Jacques about three or four times a week. So I tend to give him two or three, then one or two to various other horses at the barn whose owners I know and I have asked if it's OK.

So, how many apples do you think would be "safe" to give the average horse? (And I assume I would adjust accordingly for a 2000lb Clyde.) Does the type of apple make a difference? I remember reading when I was a kid that green apples are bad . . . or maybe that was just a story about a horse going colicky because he ate too many green apples, when in fact they can colic over too much of anything . . . ?
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Old 02-26-2006, 01:14 PM  
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the reference to green apples is the ones that aren't ripe yet...I had a couple of "green apple bellyaches" when I was a kid before I learned to pay attention to my mother when she told me not to eat so many..
Before the old apple tree got blown down in the hurricane, my horses got the benefit of most of the apples from it in the fall, I'd chop up a bucketful and distribute them. usually mixed them in with their grain, they always thought it was yummy...
I don't think 3 or 4 apples a day are going to hurt your guy, I'd just not feed them to him whole, as I have heard of horses getting choked on them...I always cut mine up or hold the apple and let them take a bite at a time...

Or...you could always make a pie for yourself if you find yourself with too many, or fried apples, or applesauce...
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Old 02-26-2006, 02:02 PM  
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When I do give them apples, I also cut them in half, and put in their feed bucket.
I learned the hard way that you hand feed treats and that one day you dont have any, you get a reminder with teeth on you not to forget any more. So, they get treats in their buckets. IMO.

I feed one to two apples to each horse.

In the summer when pairs are on the tree in the pasture, they eat what falls and I havent had any problems with that.
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Old 02-26-2006, 02:38 PM  
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I discovered AFTER I had my first pasture built on my new farm, that I had included a HUGE (literally 40 feet high!) old pear tree within the confines of the pasture. I discovered this when the tree formed the equivalent of several truckloads of pears during the summer---all much too high to pick by hand, and bound to eventually drop on the ground where the horses could eat them.

So I started early in the season, diligently picking up all the dropped pears, cutting them up into bite sized pieces and doling them out to the horses in small, controlled doses.

I gradually built up the number of pears I gave out, until by the end of the season the horses had built up their tolerance and I just let them eat whatever fell---except on two occasions when we had big windstorms that knocked down several bushels of pears at once, when I confiscated some of them and doled them out more slowly later.

My horses got so they recognized the sound of fruit dropping from the trees, and they would race over there to see who could get the yummy pears first!

I think as long as you make any changes to what you're feeding gradually, a horse can digest quite a lot of fruit without ill effects.

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Old 02-26-2006, 02:58 PM  
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My horses say, as many apples as possible!!!
really though, i sometimes feed 2-3 apples to my horses a day, especially if we're working, and it's never been a problem.
Apple trees in the horse field can give a belly ache.
Re: nippiness - I feed lots of treats, some people agree, some dont, but if you don't allow them to get pushy and nippy, they won't. You can hand feed treats without allowing a horse to behave badly. Some horses may be predisposed to nippy-attitudes than others, and you may have to be more firm, but this kind of behavior usually only gets out of hand if it's allowed to.
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Old 02-26-2006, 03:31 PM  
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wow, your horses eat pears, I tried to give one to summer and falcon last week and they wouldnt touch it. I left it in summers bucket and it was still there the next day, and shes a piggie
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Old 02-26-2006, 04:46 PM  
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Strange, out of all the horses I have owned and bred, none have liked apples (or carrots). They don't even recognize them as food. And I've got two big apple trees that were planted for just that purpose and they produce a ton of apples. Figures... I just let them fall and the deer eat them.

We've got a lot of persimmon trees around here and there is a very large one in the pasture. They gorge on persimmons in the fall and it doesn't seem to bother them at all. They get some loose stools, but they don't complain...

I do have some peach trees. I never really thought about trying those. They are sweeter than apples. Anyone ever try peaches on horses or know if they are toxic?
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Old 02-26-2006, 06:55 PM  
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We have a horse who LOVES plums and peaches! You can give her a whole one, she will eat it and then spit the pit out in your hand!! It's so funny to watch her eat them!
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Old 02-26-2006, 07:21 PM  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blugill13
wow, your horses eat pears, I tried to give one to summer and falcon last week and they wouldnt touch it. I left it in summers bucket and it was still there the next day, and shes a piggie
Yes, my colt learned to like them a little at a time, and then he taught the others. The worst part was that the pears made them slobber A LOT. They'd end up rubbing it on each other, and their fur would get this gross pear-based shellac all over it.

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Old 02-26-2006, 07:26 PM  
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I am not sure but I hadly ever give my horses apples, I use to have a HUGE apple tree in me back yard that supplyed our horses well, but one winter it had a nice meeting with my house. So its a treat for them. My pony loves them so much though, we gave him an apple pie one time, it lasted about 5 seconds. He took on a stallion for half an apple one time, and he is like 35 taking a 4yo stallion. Funny thing is, he won. Apollo is so weird when he eats though, the vet says he has great teeth but when he eats an apple he takes about the same size bites as I do, I have to stand there are hold it forever because he takes tiny little bites, he dont get many apples.
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Old 02-26-2006, 08:42 PM  
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All my riding instructor's horses LOVE apples, and while they'll gladly nip and kick each other for a chance at one, they NEVER get rude with people about them. The same goes for carrots, pears, peaches, plums, persimmons, and PBJ sandwiches. When you walk intot her barn with fruit, all the heads pop out with such beseaching expressions and pitifull nikkers its almost sad if you only have one.

Her sweetest horse, a black and white paint/percheron cross, will get extremly excited about apples and carrots - he won't ever bite, but he will pry your hand free of the treat with his lips if you don't relinquish it right away. I know you can't train most horses with treats, but they sure go a long, long way with this guy. If he knows you have a few apple wafers in your pocket during a lesson, he is much, much better behaved than if you don't. Works even better if you slip him one occasionally, like after he does a particularily nice sidepass or backs with only a twitch of the reins - not every time, just now and then.
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Old 02-27-2006, 09:05 PM  
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The horse I have now doesn't see apples or carrots as edible--even in winter with no green grass available.
Previous horses loved them, and had no trouble with 5 or 6 day in apple season. We also had a peach orchard, and they would eat peaches with relish--and spit out the pits. If you are concerned, pit them first--some horses are a little more careful than others on what they swallow.
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Old 02-27-2006, 09:17 PM  
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Thanks for all the reponses . . .

Cutting in half or pieces - I admit, I have not been doing this, but I do hang around to listen to him finish the last piece. He seems to be very good about munching in two or more passes instead of trying to swallow whole.

Hand Feeding - I definitely always give treats by bucket instead of by hand. I already had that rule anyway with any horses I work with, but with this Snuffleupogus, I REALLY stick to it!!!

Pears, Plums, Peaches, etc. - good to know! I don't think I would have thought to try them out.

"pear-based shellac" - LOL!!!

Apple time at the barn - most definitely, a bunch of heads pop out when I walk down the aisle with the bag of apples!
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Old 02-28-2006, 08:18 AM  
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My neighbor's little girl loves horses and brings my boys apples by the wagon full. The horse love to see her coming thru the field and get so excited. They each eat about 15 small apples (cut into slices) each week until the poor tree is bare.
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