Can Horses Eat Cauliflower? An Ultimate Guide to Feeding

By Zunnun Ahmed •  Updated: 06/17/23 •  8 min read

Have you ever wondered if horses can eat cauliflower? In this article, we will explore the topic and shed light on the truth.

While it is true that horses can consume cauliflower in small amounts, scientific research strongly advises against including it in their diet.

Various studies conducted by veterinary institutes have revealed that cauliflower leaves or any other part of the vegetable should be avoided. Feeding cauliflower to horses can potentially result in a range of health issues.

However, in this article, we will delve deeper into this matter to help you decide to feed cauliflowers to your beloved equine companions.

What is cauliflower?

Introducing cauliflower—the versatile, tasty, and nutritious cruciferous vegetable that has captured the hearts of many. But here’s the fascinating part: Did you know that cauliflower belongs to the species Brassica oleracea? Yes, that’s right! Its genus, Brassica, falls within the renowned family Brassicaceae, also known as the mustard family.

Now, picture this: Cauliflower, originating from the Northeast Mediterranean, has transcended borders and is now readily available worldwide! That’s how popular it has become. And it’s no surprise, considering the incredible health benefits this vegetable offers to humans.

But what about our equine friends? Can horses enjoy the same benefits as cauliflower? That’s the burning question we’ll be diving into, exploring whether cauliflowers have a place in a horse’s diet.

So, saddle up and get ready for a journey of discovery. We’ll uncover the truth about horses and cauliflower, exploring the potential risks and rewards.

Let’s separate fact from fiction and guide you toward making informed decisions for your precious four-legged companions. It’s time to explore whether horses can indulge in the goodness of cauliflowers or if they should steer clear.

Can Horses Eat Cauliflower

Related: Learn how Brussels sprouts can be part of a healthy diet for horses. Find out if they are safe to eat and how to prepare them for your equine companion.

Why can’t horses eat cauliflower?

Scientific research by the Cummings School of veterinary medicine concluded not feeding your horses cauliflower. There are several reasons why cauliflower should be avoided in horse meal. Veterinary institutes carried out research on reasons to avoid it. Some significant reasons are:

For the mentioned reasons, horses can’t eat cauliflower. This kind of vegetable must be avoided from the horse diet chart.

Can you give horses cauliflower leaves?

Scientific research by most veterinary institutes suggests you not feed any part of cauliflower. So, horses should not be given cauliflower leaves.

Cauliflower is not poisonous itself. Also, it has many nutritional values. But for horses, it can cause health issues. Excessive consumption can even cause death.

Measuring how much is too much for a horse is very difficult. That’s why experts tell you to completely avoid these veggies. Although some vegetables lose side effects on cooking or boiling, cauliflower does not. It should not be provided ripe or cooked.

Related: Uncover the truth about horses and grapefruit. Explore the fascinating science behind equine digestion in this informative webpage.

What are the potential health risks of cauliflower?

Cauliflower is a nutritious and tasty vegetable indeed. But, feeding cauliflower to your horses has potential health risks. The most common health risks found by scientific research are discussed below:

Gas problem:

Cauliflower contains one type of sugar known as Raffinose. This element causes severe gas formation in the horse’s stomach. 

Excretory issues:

Horses can have excretory problems from eating excessive cauliflower. Horses have a susceptible digestive system. Vegetables of this family are hard to digest for them. 

Stop eating issue:

Horses might stop eating for a few days after consumption of too much cauliflower. Mild intestinal discomfort is the reason behind this. 

Loose motion: 

Improper digestion can cause loose motion in horses. It can make your horse weak.

Hepatic cyst:

Horses might get affected by Hepatic cysts by too much consumption of cauliflower. Horses can die due to the severity of the mentioned disease. 

Other issues:

Scientists say horses can face Gastrointestinal irritation, Goiter, Anaemia, Hepatic cysts, Renal lesions, etc disease for intake of cauliflower. 

These are the potential health risk of feeding horses the mentioned food.

Related: Find out if spinach is a healthy snack for horses and discover the benefits this leafy green can bring to your horse’s diet. Get the answers here!

Where Is cauliflower growing mostly?

Cauliflower is grown in many countries all over the world. You know it is a seasonal vegetable. It requires a cold environment to grow. That’s why it is very sensitive to unfavorable atmospheres. The optimum temperature for Cauliflower production is 65 to 68° F. 

Statistics show that China and India are growing most of the cauliflowers all around the world. In 2020, 25.5 million tons of cauliflower were produced. 

India and China were the lead producers who produced 72% of the total produced worldwide. The secondary producers were the US, Spain, Italy, and Mexico. Around 0.4-1.3 million tons were produced by secondary producers annually.

How to keep away from cauliflower?

However, these foods can be used to keep your horse away from cauliflower. All these are better substitutions for cauliflower.

Other foods that are not good for horse treats

Horses can get good growth with a proper diet plan. Many foods are harmful to horses. So, before making a food plan for your horse, you must know about the drawbacks of that food. The foods that are harmful to horses are discussed below:


Chocolates are made of cocoa which contains an element named Theobromine. Many animals like dogs and horses face difficulty after consumption of theobromine. It must be avoided. 


It can cause a serious problem in your horse’s digestive tract known as phytobezoar. This fruit creates a sticky mass in the horse’s stomach.  


The flesh of an avocado is not harmful to horses. But its skin, leaves or any other part can be poisonous for horses. 

Potatoes and other nightshades:

Horses do not like the taste of nightshades as a human does. These contain an element called Atropine which hampers the nervous system of horses. Atropine toxicity can cause death in horses. 

Yogurt and other dairy products:

Yogurt and other dairy products contain sugar known as lactose. Horses struggle in digesting lactose. Thus, they face unpleasant stomach issues. 

Cruciferous vegetables:

Vegetables like kale, broccoli, cabbage, etc must not be given to the horses. They can cause serious health issues, even death. 


Caffeine causes irregular heartbeat in horses. Horses must not be given caffeine. 


Tomatoes must be removed from the horse diet. However little consumption of it doesn’t cause severe damage. But excessive consumption can result in increased heart rate, constipation, and other risk. 

These are some other harmful foods for horses. Diet plans for horses must be made carefully. 

Related: Can horses eat bok choy? The answer is not what you’d expect! Dive into the fascinating world of equine nutrition and discover something new today.


Cauliflower is scientifically and practically unhealthy for a horse. Though small consumption of it will not cause many problems, experts suggest excluding it from the food chart. 

So as a horse owner, you must be careful about feeding your horses. Especially vegetables like cauliflower must be ignored. No part of cauliflower, cooked or uncooked, should be given to a horse.  

Zunnun Ahmed

We are a group of horse enthusiasts. We want to provide information and tips to help others learn more about horses, how to care for them, and how to enjoy them.

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