Last Updated on February 21, 2022 by Allison Price
Peppermint is everywhere: toothpaste, chocolates and teas. Peppermint flavoring is used in many horse treats, so even your tack area may not be immune. Do horses have a tendency to overdose on peppermint oil?
It is unlikely, according to Catherine Whitehouse M.S., an Equine Nutritionist at Kentucky Equine Research (KER).
Peppermint, from a botanical standpoint, is a crossbred mixture of spearmint and wintergreen. Peppermint is a favorite of horses, and it’s easy to see why.
“Before peppermint craze hit the horse market in the form prepackaged treats, some horsemen disguised drinking water with a few of the well-known red and white mints. Whitehouse said that horses can trick themselves into believing they are drinking familiar water by doing the same thing at home.
Horsemen are less likely to have horses refuse to drink water due the availability of other electrolytes, such as Restore SR or Restore Paste ( RESTORE and RESTORE Pastein Australia). However, peppermints are still popular at shows and in the stable.
“I have used peppermint candy quite a bit in showing conformation horses. Horses learn quickly and they soon understand what the crinkle on a peppermint wrapper is,” Wallace Battles, a breeder of hunter-type Quarter Horses as well as warmbloods, said. They will show some interest when they realize a peppermint is coming. Instant interest! One of my children didn’t like peppermints. But the filly loved root beer barrels.”
There are hundreds of stories like these all over the world in showgrounds and barnyards. The question is: How much peppermint is too much?
Whitehouse stated that peppermint-flavored treats for horses and peppermint candy won’t cause any problems if given sparingly such as once per day. It is not recommended to consume hog-wild food. Horses should get most of their calories from tried and true menu options: pasture, hay and, if needed, well-fortified concentrates.