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Each rider likes to give goodies as bread, apples, carrots to his horse: Is it good for the horse? How much?
Assuming that the bread is made with wheat flour, yeast, salt, and water, there is nothing in it that is toxic to the horse, but it can contribute enormously to caloric intake if fed in large quantities. There is no harm in occasionally feeding bread, but it is not the most nutritious feedstuff when used as the sole concentrate. While bread is chock full of calories, it provides few nutrients:
Wheat is deficient in vitamins A, D, and E, calcium as well as trace minerals like zinc, copper, and selenium. All of these play important roles within the body.
On the other hand wheat is not low in phosphorus, so it will probably supply sufficient phosphorus, but, for instance, when there is more phosphorus than calcium in the diet, interference in calcium absorption occurs and further exacerbates the calcium deficiency…
The protein content of bread flour (13-14%) is marginally adequate for a growing horse or pregnant/lactating mare as long as the hay or pasture available also has acceptable protein content.
The high starch content of bread may be a potential problem if fed in large amounts.
Wheat has even an high gluten content, but the problem with wheat gluten balling up in the stomach or intestinal tract and causing blockage (colic) is not a concern with feeding bread, because the yeast and the heat of baking have altered the gluten starch.
In summary, feeding bread to horses is not harmful in limited quantities, but it is not ideal nutritional management, especially for young horses or pregnant/lactating mares.
From the point of view of nutritional values, apples have a concentration of useful nutrients and micronutrients: A, B1, B2, C, PP vitamins, minerals such as potassium, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, iron and flavonoids.
It’s important not to give too many apples: not more than 2-3 per day, as they ferment in the stomach.
Carrots have nutrients such as B, C vitamins and really high levels of A vitamin, mineral salts such as potassium, sodium, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, high levels of fibers.
We can give a lot of carrots to our horse, not more than 1 kg per day as the high level of fibers may cause liquid stools.