If you're like most horse owners, you might be wondering if almonds are okay for your horse to consume.
Though almonds are mainly used for human consumption and hence are not frequently fed to horses, they constitute a delightful treat for horses and have several nutritional advantages. However, it would take a lot more than the suggested six almonds per day for horses to have the same health advantages as humans.
For horses, almonds are a very nourishing snack. They give more minerals like manganese and copper, as well as important monounsaturated fatty acids, biotin, and vitamin E, which are all needed to keep hoof health good and improve it.
Other anti-inflammatory substances, immune system-supporting chemicals, and even gut microbiota boosters are also present in almonds.
Giving horses whole almonds that have been processed or crushed into another meal makes them simpler to chew.
Can Horses Eat Almond?
Yes, horses can eat almonds. In fact, almonds are regarded as a superior source of unsaturated and monounsaturated fats, vitamin E, vitamin B7, vitamin B2, and a number of minerals that all help to maintain and improve hoof health. Additionally, they have anti-inflammatory elements that might support the immune system.
On the other hand, because horses are much bigger than the average person, they need to eat a lot more almonds to get the same benefits.
Almonds could possibly be ground into a powder and used as a feed. And if you intend to give them only a handful of nuts, go ahead, but use caution!
Almonds are a traditional fruit with origins perhaps in North Africa and western Asia. The New World was introduced to almonds by Spanish missionaries. Currently, the world's leading provider of almonds is the United States. The only commercial almond production state in the US is California.
Almonds are drupes, a type of fruit that grows naturally on trees, similar to plums and peaches, and are not true nuts. Bitter almonds and sweet almonds are the two types. Sweet almonds are the common, edible kind that may be eaten as nuts, used in cooking, or utilized to make almond flour or oil.
The hull, or outside surface of an almond, is comparable to the juicy, fleshy section of a peach. The hull of an almond hardens as it matures and is eventually removed during preparation in order to extract the edible seed. Almond hulls can be safely added to horses' diets at a rate of up to 45 percent, making them superior fibres comparable to beet pulp and soybean hulls.
Almonds are a rich source of nutrients as a complete food since they are a fantastic source of vitamin B2, vitamin E, biotin, copper, manganese, calcium, magnesium, and bioflavonoids. Almonds contain both vitamin E groups: tocotrienols and tocopherols, which are both types of vitamin E. One of the advantages of vitamin E found in several complete diets, such as almonds, is that the body receives all the tocopherols, not just one.
The bioflavonoids, which are phenolic antioxidants, are found in almond hulls. Almonds are indeed an excellent source of protein as well.
The Benefits of Almonds for Horses
Monounsaturated and unsaturated fats present in almonds serve as a source of increased energy, which helps to replace lost calories by the horse during training or riding. Also, they are important for the maintenance of hoof health.
The hull of almonds is a rich source of super fibre, which helps to ease the process of digestion in horses. Also, fibre gives the body the nutrients it needs to fight bacterial fermentation in the intestines.
Almonds are an excellent source of protein as well. For healthy hooves, muscles, bones, skin, organ tissue, hair, eyes, and blood, protein is necessary. Protein must be part of a horse's diet because it is a building block for enzymes and hormones.
- Vitamin E maintains normal nerve and muscle function, controls oxidative stress, and strengthens the immune system.
- Vitamin B2: Animal’s metabolism heavily depends on vitamin B2, sometimes referred to as riboflavin. It helps with digestion and makes it easier for carbohydrates, proteins, and fats to be turned into energy.
- Vitamin B7: In addition to helping with several metabolic processes, biotin also facilitates the transport of carbon dioxide. Biotin is also important for the health of a horse's hooves and skin, and it helps keep the horse's blood sugar stable.
- Calcium: For the health of horses' bones and teeth, calcium is crucial. In actuality, bones generally contain a staggering 35% calcium. As a result, calcium plays a crucial part in maintaining the skeleton's structural stability. Additionally, calcium is essential for the control of enzymes, blood coagulation, and muscular contraction.
- Manganese: Horses need manganese for healthy bone development and antioxidant defence. The synthesis of energy from fats and carbohydrates also involves manganese.
- Copper: Copper is important for the development of bones, blood, pigment, the immune system, and the reproductive system.
- Magnesium, which is necessary for normal brain and nerve function, aids in horse hoof growth, supports muscle recovery after exercise, and guards against laminitis in horses.
A broad family of plant compounds known as bioflavonoids has been shown to have antioxidant properties. These substances are some of the most powerful antioxidants ever found. They help keep the amount of vitamin C in tissues at a healthy level.
Risks Associated with Feeding Almonds to Horses
Almonds are somewhat hard. As a result, some horses, especially the older ones, find it hard to easily chew when fed too much. This might cause the obstruction of their digestive tract (choke), which could pose a threat to the horse’s life. It is therefore recommended that a horse should not be fed six almonds a day.
Also, because almonds have a lot of fat, they are best given as treats in small amounts.
Also, horse owners should be careful with almond leaves as they are toxic. Horses should avoid eating almond leaves, especially the bitter ones. Amygdalin, cyanogenic glycosides, and purnasin are found in bitter almond trees, leaves, and pits.
Furthermore, almond butter should be given to horses with caution. Almond butter probably has a lot of other things in it that you don't know how they will affect your horse.
For your horses, almonds are a great source of healthy fats, fibre, and protein. They also have a number of minerals and vitamins that horses need to stay healthy.
However, the key is moderation, just as with any other indulgence. They won't like consuming a huge amount of almonds every day and will eventually become tired. Almonds will be a great addition to your horse's diet, so keep that in mind and be ready to give them different treats often.
Moreover, horses' digestive systems are quite fragile. As trickle feeders, they should be fed often and in small amounts. Sliced almonds make a simple hand-fed treat that horses like.