Horse feed discussions are hot right now, and more and more people try to educate themselves about the biological setup of the horse. Originally horses grased and ate grass/herbs/plants growing in their wild habitat only. Today there are thousands of brands selling pre-made pellets, vitamins, minerals etc.
Feeding horses sweet feed is a trend that has started as it makes picky horses eat any type of food. Horses are similar to humans in that sense (they have a sweet tooth).
Examples Of The Most Common Sweet Feed Horses
Molasses is a biproduct from the sugar industry and is usually added to pellets etc as it will make the horse eat it, and keeps the feed compact and together. It contains 50% sugar and is known as a fast energy source for horses. It has got a negative reputation due to the following disadvantages: spike in insulin, can cause laminits if not fed in moderation and a short shell life where the molasses goes bad quickly.
However molasses can be beneficial to horses if sourced from a quality source, and fed in moderation. And it will help you to feed any picky horses due to its sweet taste. Make sure you get your molasses from a reputable brand and stay away from it if your horse is prone to Laminitis.
2) Sugar Cubes
Some horse owners give pure white sugar cubes to their horses as a treat. Your horse may love you more for it, however we do not recommend this as this is not a natural source of energy for the horse that they would find in the wild. When you are looking at giving your horse a treat, it is better to look for natural sources such as carrots.
Apples, pear, banana - you name it, some horses will like it and some will give you a confused look! We encourage people to use fruits as treats for horses or when doing trick training etc as a reward. Please note most fruit has got pesticides on their peal, so try to get your fruit from an organic local source or even peal them before.
4) Grain Pellets
This is where all the big brands come into play, and will try to sell you anything under the sun in the form of premixed grain pellets. The grains origin from cereal plants. Even this sounds good in theory, be aware that commercially manufactured sweet horse feed tend to be high in sugar and byproducts. Grain that is developed in stress conditions is also prone to fungus and mold. Make sure you do your research about which brand you choose if you are looking at giving your horse grains.
Conclusion - Feeding Sweet for Horses
In conclusion, horses are suppose to be eating 16-18 hours per day and this will keep them the healthiest, if you try to trick the system by giving them 2 sweet feeds per day then you may get a horse that is crazy about their hard feeds but won't have any longterm benefits and can make the horse sick if not fed in moderation. We do not tell horse owners they have to stay away from it as it has got some benefits, but moderation and quality of the source of the feed is key in this instance.