Arnold, the ‘Honorary Racehorse’ and his Bananas

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Arnold – Image by Jo Sutherst

Arnold, our honorary racehorse, just LOVES his bananas. This is his expression as he tries to get a banana off his owner.

Bananas are good for horses as they contain potassium. They can be fed with the banana peel still on. Arnold’s owner, Jo, removes the hard stalks from bananas before she feeds them to him so that these do not cause any issues.

Many in the racing industry around the world, believe that bananas are soothing and can provide relief for horses with ulcers, especially racehorses. Some recommend that a horse is fed a banana every night 10 mins before having hard feed. Ayurvedic doctors in India have traditionally used dried banana powder to treat ulcers. In various animal studies, banana powder has been shown to protect the lining of the stomach from acid.

Kathleen Crandell, longtime nutritionist at Kentucky Equine Research reports that bananas are known the world over as a rich source of potassium. They are composed of approximately 75% water and 25% dry matter. Many horses will devour bananas, peeled or not. According to Crandell, bananas are high in energy and rich in phospholipids, which can assist in preventing acid damage to the stomach and ulcer formation.
“At the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia, seven countries were found to be feeding bananas to the equine athletes. Bananas have been known to find their way into many endurance horses’ competition diets,” said Crandell. (source: https://www.an-eventful-life.com.au/eventing-news/horse-management/you-feed-your-horse-what). Research is ongoing into the therapeutic benefits of bananas for horses.

Its important to remember that your horse is likely to be quite happy just having apples and carrots, so you shouldn’t feel that you have to use other fruit and vegetables. A slice of apple or carrot is a much healthier treat than a sugary mint!

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