Can Horses Eat Quinoa?

Can Horses Eat Quinoa?

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Powered By Quinoa: A Perfect Feed for Optimal Equine Health

The growing popularity of quinoa as a superfood for humans has left many horse owners curious about whether it is suitable to feed to their equine companions.

Quinoa is a high-protein, gluten-free seed that is rich in fibre, vitamins, and minerals, making it a nutrient-dense food source. While it is not a commonly used feed for horses, its nutritional benefits make it a tempting choice for those seeking to add variety to their horse's diet. Nevertheless, there are potential risks associated with feeding quinoa to horses.

In this article, we will explore the various ways that quinoa can be served to horses, as well as the risks associated with overfeeding quinoa. We will also discuss some important considerations that horse owners should keep in mind when adding quinoa to their horse's diet. So, let's dive into the world of quinoa and discover how it can be the perfect addition to your horse's diet!

Can Horses Eat Quinoa?

Yes, horses can most certainly eat quinoa. Quinoa is a great source of nutrition for horses and can be added to their diet as a supplement. It is an excellent source of dietary fibre and protein, both of which are important for a horse's digestive health. It also contains some vitamins, and minerals that horses need. Quinoa should be fed to horses in moderation to avoid the risks of overfeeding.



Quinoa is a grain-like seed that has been cultivated in the Andean region of South America for thousands of years. It has gained popularity in recent years due to its unique nutritional profile and versatility in cooking.

Quinoa has a mild, nutty flavour and can be cooked in a variety of ways, such as boiling, steaming, or baking. It can be used in salads, soups, and stews, and as a substitute for rice or pasta.

Quinoa has become quite popular in recent years due to its high nutritional value. It is a high-protein seed, and it is considered a complete protein because it contains all nine essential amino acids that the human body needs. It's also rich in fibre, vitamins, and minerals such as magnesium, iron, and zinc. Quinoa is naturally gluten-free, making it an excellent option for people that are gluten intolerant.

How to Safely Feed Quinoa to Horses

Rinse the quinoa

Rinse the quinoa thoroughly in cold water to remove the saponins, which are natural compounds that can give quinoa a bitter taste and may cause digestive upset in some horses. Rinse the quinoa several times until the water runs clear.

Cook the quinoa

Quinoa can be cooked in a variety of ways, such as boiling or steaming. The cooked quinoa can be fed to your horse either warm or cold.

Feed in moderation

Quinoa should be fed in moderation as it is a nutrient-dense food. It should not be the sole source of nutrition for your horse and should be fed as a supplement to their regular diet.

Nutritional Benefits of Feeding 

High protein content

Quinoa is a high-protein food, and it contains all nine essential amino acids that the horse's body needs. Protein is essential for muscle development and repair, and it also plays a vital role in maintaining the immune system.

Excellent source of dietary fibre

quinoa is an excellent source of dietary fibre for horses. It is especially beneficial for horses with digestive issues, as the fibre helps to regulate digestion and maintain a healthy gut microbiome. The dietary fibre in quinoa also helps to keep horses full for longer periods, reducing their risk of overeating or becoming overweight.

Rich source of vitamins and minerals

Quinoa is a great source of essential vitamins and minerals for horses. It contains a wide range of B vitamins such as thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6 and folate, as well as minerals including iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, copper and manganese. These nutrients are essential for the proper functioning of the horse's body and for maintaining overall health. 

Low in starch and sugar

Low-starch foods are beneficial for horses with metabolic issues because starch can cause problems such as laminitis, colic, and insulin resistance. A diet low in starch can help to reduce the risk of developing these conditions. Quinoa is a low-starch food, which makes it an ideal choice for feeding horses with metabolic issues.

Good source of antioxidants

Quinoa is an excellent source of antioxidants, including vitamin E, carotenoids, and phenolic compounds. These antioxidants can help reduce oxidative stress caused by free radicals in the body and boost the immune system.

Methods of Feeding Quinoa to Horses


Cooked quinoa is an excellent way to add it to a horse's diet. To cook it, simply boil it in water for 10-15 minutes until it is soft and fluffy, then serve it either warm or cold.


Steaming quinoa is an effective method of preparing it for horses. This process helps to soften the grain, making it easier to digest. Additionally, steaming can help to retain all the important nutritional value that quinoa provides. When steaming quinoa, the water should be at a rolling boil and the grains should be simmered for 8-10 minutes.

Grind into a mash

To make the mash, simply grind the quinoa into a fine powder and mix it with water or other liquid. Then, add your horse's favourite hay for a tasty and nutritious meal. Make sure that the quinoa is cooked or steamed before grinding.

Portion Size and Frequency of Feeding

Portion size

The amount of quinoa fed to a horse can vary based on its age, weight, and activity level. For example, a smaller pony may only require a quarter cup of quinoa, while a larger horse may require up to a cup of quinoa per feeding.

Frequency of Feeding

Quinoa can be fed to horses once or twice a week as a treat or supplement. It should not replace a balanced and varied diet that includes hay, pasture, and quality commercial feed.


Risks of Feeding Quinoa to Horses

Digestive upset

Quinoa contains saponins, which are natural compounds that can cause digestive upset in some horses. If not rinsed properly, the saponins can give quinoa a bitter taste and may cause diarrhoea or colic in some horses.


Quinoa is a nutrient-dense food and should be fed in moderation. Overfeeding can lead to nutrient imbalances, digestive upset, or weight gain.

Nutritional imbalances

While quinoa is high in protein and fibre, it may not provide all the essential nutrients that horses need. It is important to feed quinoa as a supplement to a balanced diet that includes hay, pasture, and quality commercial feed.

Concluding Words

Quinoa can be a great supplement to a horse's diet, but it is important to remember that overfeeding can be hazardous. To ensure the safety and health of your horse, always consult a veterinarian before introducing quinoa into their diet.

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