Updated: May 19
Why do unicorns love carrots so much? We help you discover the A+ health benefits of this budget-friendly root vegetable.
We'll admit it - Milo the Unicorn is pampered. It's a fairly regular sight to see a member of his staff wheeling a grocery cart with a 25 pound bag of fresh carrots through a supermarket. They might forget to buy their own food, but they never forget Milo's favorite treat!
In cities horse carrots are referred to as "juice carrots." They are larger in size than most small packaged carrots, may have double roots or not be as "pretty" to look at, and typically have their green ends cut off to prevent rot. They're also a fraction of the price of most "human" grade carrots.... around $7.99 for a 25 pound bag instead of $1 / pound in "human" grade carrots at Vons. The reality is that aside from being larger and perhaps not as visually "ideal," they are the same food product at a fraction of the cost, ensuring that Milo's fridge will stay stocked for a few weeks with extra carrots to share with his "neigh-bors."
Milo the Unicorn, like many horses, is fairly smart about his nutritional choices and is what horse trainers call "food motivated." That means that even if he has been eating all day long, he's still interested in solving a problem, playing a game, or training in exchange for a treat... basically carrots are his currency of choice. Is the problem easy like doing something he already knows? One carrot will do. Is he learning to be brave around something scary? That will take a lot of carrots. Milo and his staff actively negotiate with each other in carrot currency to ensure that he is satisfied that he got a fair bargain in exchange for learning or doing something, empowering him to be part of the conversation and to give both parties a tangible trade tool.
Milo's staff loves his food motivation for fresh carrots as it not only gives him a reward or pay check of choice, it is also an easy way of getting extra nutrients in to his diet. Fresh carrots contain a large amount of vitamin A which helps to boost anti-oxidants, helpful substances that prevent cell damage and disease. Carrots have also been studied to decrease the growth of cancer cells in human and animal studies according to the American Institute for Cancer Research. While studies in horses relating to carrots and cancer aren't readily available, research does point to carrots being a good source of dietary fiber and Vitamin A.
Fresh carrots contain a large amount of vitamin A which helps to boost anti-oxidants, helpful substances that prevent cell damage and disease.
As Milo's staff wants Milo to live a long, healthy, and happy life, we work with his diet and veterinary team to calculate his carrot consumption through rewards and treats in to his overall health and nutrition plan. This helps us to make sure that he isn't getting too much sugar or other key nutrients in his diet while still enjoying the food that he loves.
If you would like to learn more about equine nutrition, consider hiring an equine nutrient analysis created for your horse! Milo the Unicorn was impressed by the comprehensive services of Performance Equine Bodywork although many equine veterinarians can also perform this type of service if they have robust nutrient analysis software at their lab.