Can Horses Eat Watermelon Rind?

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Watermelon seems to be a summertime treat for everyone.  The sweet, juicy red fruit but the rind, for humans at least, is not something we want to eat. 

 It has no flavor and is hard but it might be something that horses might like to eat.  Is it an eatable fruit for horses?

Can Horses Eat Watermelon Rind

Yes, horses can eat watermelon rind but can they also eat the fruity flesh and seeds?  Whether they eat the fleshy fruit is up to the horse because some do like it while others do not.  The main thing you need to remember is to remove the seeds.  The watermelon rind includes the white portion of the melon too.

Why Horses Like Watermelon

Horses like the unique taste and sweet flavor.  The fleshy fruit of watermelon is 90% water and during the summer days, horses love it cold as we do.

Nutritional Value

Watermelon has very little nutritional value so it is best to give it to your horse as a reward or small treat but the rind gives them some nutritional value with amino acids and beneficial vitamins.

  • Fiber—1 gram
  • Potassium
  • Vitamins A, C, B6
  • Sugar—9 grams

It is a heart-healthy snack. The fiber in the watermelon rind is converted into energy through the fermentation process.  In a horse’s gut, the flora will convert the fiber into volatile fatty acids, which the horse absorbs.  If the horse does not have fiber, the food does not move through the horse’s gut efficiently.  This could result in laminitis, colic, and dehydration.

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The fiber is the energy source for a horse’s ordinary body functions like sleeping, walking, grazing, and breathing. The watermelon rind gives your horse potassium for their physiological well-being.  When a horse sweats and urinates, they lose potassium.  Watermelon rind helps balance out the potassium in their body.

The amino acid that watermelon rind provides is called citrulline .which converts to arginine.  This is used to produce nitric oxide, which is used to promote vascular health, combats fatigue, aids in wound healing and muscle growth, and more.  

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How to Feed Watermelon Rind to Your Horse

You never just give a horse a whole watermelon because of the seeds and it is not easy for a horse to try to eat a whole watermelon.  

  • Cut the watermelon in half
  • Take out the seeds and center out
  • Chop the rind up into medium-sized pieces, along with the fruit if your horse will eat the fleshy fruit.  The pieces should be about the size of half an apple.
  • Do not give your horse large chunks because they could choke 

If you do not want to keep removing the seeds, you can buy one that is seedless.

How Much Watermelon Rind Should You Feed Your Horse

Your horse needs to enjoy it in moderation, especially if they are also eating the fleshy fruit.  The reason is that since there is the high water content in the fleshy fruit if the horse overeats, it could create a high-water content.  The horse will feel so full that they might ignore their well-balanced, normal diet.  In the long run, the horse could become nutrient deficient.

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The safe amount to give your horse would be about one pound or less of watermelon one or two times a week.  It is the ideal treat to give them in the summertime because it will help him cool down.  It is very important that before you give watermelon rind to your horse that you wash it to remove any contaminants and pesticides from it.

Why do You Remove The Seeds

The reason that you need to remove the seeds is that when they are digested, they will deliver a small amount of cyanide.  If they eat a few it should not do any harm but if they eat too many, in the long term, it could create harmful effects to the horse’s health.

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Other Treats That Are Good For Your Horse

Although watermelon is good for your horse, other treats have more nutrients than watermelon rind.

  • Commercially made horse treat
  • Sugar cubes
  • Hay cubes
  • Apple slices
  • Carrots
  • Bananas
  • Cantaloupe
  • Grapes

Just remember whatever you give your horse as treats that they should be cut into smaller pieces because you do not want them to choke.  Also, these treats should be given in between feedings but not too close to when they normally get fed.  If that happens, then the horse will not want to eat its normal balanced diet.  If this happens, your horse could develop a nutrition deficiency.

Always check with your veterinarian before you introduce any new foods to your horse, especially if they have any metabolic diseases.  You should never offer your horse treats like tomatoes, potatoes, cabbage, onions, or any other vegetable that belongs to the nightshade family or can produce intestinal gas.   

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  • A horse’s diet should contain at least 50% fiber, which they normally get from grass and hay.
  • Watermelon rinds are low in calories, with only 50 calories per cup
  • It also has zero cholesterol and is fat-free
  • Make sure that you wash your watermelon before you cut it because the skin could carry bacteria like E. coli.  When you draw the knife through the watermelon, you could contaminate the inside.
  • To make it more enjoyable on a hot summer day, you can freeze it before giving it to your horse.
  • Some horses only prefer the fleshy fruit and not the rind.  When feeding it to your horse, check to see what they prefer to eat.
  • Avoid chocolate, especially if your horse is competing in an event where a drug test is possible.  Chocolate can cause a positive test.
  • Horses are programmed to eat small amounts of foods so that may be why a horse wants more of the small treats that you are offering them.
  • Treats can be fed by putting them in a feed trough or a bucket.