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Are Carrots Bad for Horses?
The stable owner where my son stables his horse discourages us from feeding carrots to the horse, something about the beta carotene being bad for the horse. Every thing I've been able to read from many sources indicate that carrots are ok! Since good quality alfalfa hay has beta carotene in it, as most green plants and veggies, this "carrots are bad for horses" doesn't make sense to me, or to other horse people I know. Can you offer any information about this?
Thank you, Jack
This is one of the more unusual questions I have gotten in a while. I do not advocate giving horses treats a lot from the hand. It tends to make horses very mouthy (putting their mouths on the human looking for a treat and frequently promotes horses being nippy). Also, it makes the horse attached to the treat rather than the human, which is at odds with the kind of relationship that is healthy between horse and human. Imagin if you always just gave your son treats and gifts without them being earned. That would create grave problems in your son's development. An occasional random treat is harmless. A treat given for a job well done is meaningful and helps a horse learn.
As far as beta carrotene being harmful to horses, I have not heard of this. I know large boarding operations that buy 500 lbs of carrots at time. Go figure....It could be the stable owner is trying to discourage giving a lot of treats from the hand. This I would agree with.