Horse Treats for Cushing’s Patients and Metabolic Syndrome

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Giving treats is a common way we form a bond with our horses. Treats are also useful in many training situations. Unfortunately most commercially made horse treats, as well as apples and carrots, can be high in sugar. This presents a problem with horses that have Cushing’s disease, or Insulin Resistance/Metabolic Syndrome, as those horses’ sugar and starch intake must be limited.

The following recipe is a great alternative to commercial horse treats. It was even tested at Equi-Analytical lab and is extremely low in starch and simple sugars, with an NSC of 2.4.



• 1 lb. bag of Bob’s Red Mill organic ground flaxseed (from Wal-Mart or grocery store)
• ½ cup Unsweetened applesauce
• 2 tbs. Cinnamon
• 2 cups hot water
• Cookie sheet, and parchment or wax paper


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Dump flaxseed into mixing bowl. Add Cinnamon; mix. Add applesauce, then HOT water.  Initially mix with rubber spatula, then use your hands until the dough is smooth.

Cover cookie sheet with parchment or wax paper. (Do NOT use cooking spray.) Place dough on paper covered cookie sheet to evenly cover it. The thinner you spread the dough, the crunchier your horse cookies will be. Cut the dough into squares BEFORE baking; this allows them to come apart easily after baking. They are difficult to cut apart once baked.

Place in preheated oven and bake at 350 degrees for 60 minutes for chewy cookies, and 75 minutes for crunchy cookies. After that, turn off the oven and let them sit in the warm oven for another 30 minutes.

The cookies shrink during baking. Once cool, they break apart easily. Store in a baggie or plastic container in the refrigerator so they will not mold if not eaten quickly. (Thinner, crunchier cookies are less apt to mold.)

I hope your horses enjoy these!
Dr. Teresa Martinoli

For more Information about Equine Cushings Disease and Equine Metabolic Syndrome go to the AAEP (American Association of Equine Practitioners) website and look in the owners section.

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