Can Horses Eat Kale? A Comprehensive Guide to Feeding Horses

By Zunnun Ahmed •  Updated: 04/03/23 •  6 min read

Raising a healthy horse is possible by focusing on the horse’s diet. However, horses cannot eat kale as a regular diet. That’s why Kales must be avoided while planning a regular horse food plan. 

Horses can eat kale rarely in small amounts. It is healthy to feed horses kale in small amounts. But consuming this food regularly in ample amounts can cause severe health problems in horses. In short, horses cannot eat kale regularly. But it can be served rarely as a treat in small amounts. 

The notable problems of eating kale, the procedure of feeding, the limit of intake, etc are elaborately discussed below.

Can Horses Eat Kale?

What is Kale?

Kale is one type of vegetable. It is very popular as a human diet. A leafy garnish vegetable is consumed after cooking by humans. However, it has nutritious value. It is often served as salad and smoothie and is considered beneficial for human health. However, this is not a good diet for horses. 

This vegetable belongs to the same family as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, spinach, etc. It is harmful to horses’ health. That’s because it causes various problems in horses, including kidney problems.

Consuming lots of kale can cause severe damage to the kidney and the formation of stones is a probable outcome. Horses can die even by consumption of kale. However, kale can be served sometimes in small quantities. 

As it has essential nutrients for horses as well. But consumption regularly or in higher quantities will cause stomach problems in horses. Horses will face bad stomach and gastric difficulties. The digestion will not be good and can even cause vomiting and fever. 

So, it is appreciated to not include this one as a regular diet in the horse menu. But consuming it occasionally in a small amount can be very healthy for horses. Also, better substitutes with more food value are available. But for a healthy horse, kale as food is not well appreciated.

Related: Find out if horses can eat cattails and the potential benefits of adding this unique plant to their diet. Learn more about how to safely feed cattails to your horse.

What are the nutritional benefits of kale? 

Kales have numerous nutritional elements. They are a great source of plant-based calcium which is very necessary for the growth of strong bones and teeth. 

Also, they contain a small amount of oxalate. Oxalate, working as a catalyst, makes the absorption of calcium easier and more efficient. Thus, it is considered a significant source of plant-based calcium. 

Vitamin K, a very essential element for humans and horses, is available in kale. Studies show that vitamin D is also found in kale. This vitamin D plays a vital role in metabolism and keeps horses healthy. 

These are excellent sources of minerals and manganese. Besides, they are low in calories. So, heart problems will not occur.

A chart is given to make it easier to find the net amount of nutrients in kale: 

Vitamin K of Daily Value(DV)68%
Vitamin C (DV)22%
Vitamin A6%

These are the nutritional benefits of Kale. Kale should be consumed carefully.

Related: Curious if horses can eat beet greens. Find out the answer and learn about the benefits of feeding horses this nutritious vegetable.

What is the potential risk? 

Kale is undoubtedly nutritious with all the minerals and ingredients it has. However there are some significant risks in adding this vegetable to a horse diet.

So, it is better to provide kale rarely in small amounts. Special caution should be maintained as overconsumption has immense risk.

Alternatives to kale for horses

Plenty of alternatives for kale are available as horse food. Even foods with better nutrients can be found in the market. Scientific research shows that the best vegetables a horse can be fed are carrots, beetroot, celery, cucumber, turnip, swede, etc. All these should be washed and sterilized properly before their consumption. 

Can horses eat lettuce? Lettuce can also be a healthy food option for horses in moderation. Similarly, horses can safely eat Brussels sprouts in small quantities as they are a good source of vitamins C and K, fiber, and antioxidants. However, it is important to introduce new foods slowly and in small quantities to avoid any digestive upset.

Fruits, along with vegetables, are great food for horses. These are enriched with essential vitamins and minerals. Apples, apricots, bananas, blackberries, grapefruits, strawberries, oranges, peaches, pears, watermelons, Okra, Pine Needles, Cherries, Corn, etc. are efficient for maintaining good health in horses.

All the minerals and vitamins present in kale are sufficiently available in the mentioned items. 

Planning a healthy diet and providing safe food to the horse is very important. Poisonous vegetables should be avoided in diet plans. Alternatives with similar nutrition must be scouted and added to the feast.


Q. How much food should be given to a horse? 

An adult horse requires 1.5 to 2.5kg roughage per 100 kg of body weight. Therefore, a horse around 500kg will need 7.5 to 12 kg roughage per day. 

Q. What is the safe amount of kale consumption?

1 or 2 kales per week are good for horses. But it should be given in small amounts after proper washing. Raw or steamed kale both are good to eat in the mentioned amount. 

Q. Are kales poisonous?

Over-eating of such fibrous vegetables can turn poisonous. These should be taken in small amounts. However eating too much kale will create a poisonous environment in the digestive system causing many health problems. 

Q. Can overeating kale cause death?

Yes, horses can die due to excessive eating of kale. Some critical health issues including kidney failure, kidney damage, thyroid imbalance, hormonal problems, etc. are results of kale feeding. So, horses can die due to a limitless intake of kale. 


Vegetables and fruits are very excellent diets for horses. But some vegetables should be avoided as regular food. These vegetables have certain nutritional values but are harmful to horses at the same time.

Can horses eat kale? Kales can be provided to horses but should be avoided in large amounts. There are severe health conditions a horse might face by limitless consumption of kale. However eating a little of these vegetables sometimes can have a good impact on horse health.

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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