sugar-free treats

If you have an insulin resistant horse, or know someone who does, here are two fabulous sugar-free treats!

Herb was a horse I knew and loved while growing up, but at the time, I wouldn’t have thought to give him any tasty healing herbs. Back then, “treating” our horses was all about sugar cubes and crispy carrots and apples. Insulin resistance was not part of my vocabulary, so it didn’t occur to me that a time would come when I would be looking for ways to feed sugar-free treats to horses!

Insulin is a hormone that helps the body and its cells convert glucose into energy. When cells ignore insulin, the body could be experiencing insulin resistance. This condition may have been around a lot longer than we think. Dr. Joyce Harman of the Harmany Equine Clinic in Northern Virginia ( says it’s not totally clear why there has been an apparent increase in insulin resistance and insulin resistant type conditions in horses. But she adds there are a number of risk factors to be considered, including stress, high sugar content feeds, overuse of drugs and vaccines, genetics, soy products, pyrethroid-based fly sprays, and supplementing with large amounts of glucosamine.

Try these sugar-free recipes to give your horse a healthy treat!

Sugar-free biscuits

3 cups barley flakes
1/2 cup hemp flour
1/2 cup hemp seed nuts
2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut
1 tablespoon cranberry essence or finely minced sun dried, unsulphured cranberries
2 teaspoons pumpkin spice (a combination of cinnamon and allspice)
2 teaspoons Saigon cinnamon
1 teaspoon blueberry flour (optional)
1/4 cup hemp seed oil
1 1/2 cups apple sauce (or apple butter)
Acadian sea kelp


sugar-free treats

Use organic products wherever possible. Cover a large cookie sheet with parchment paper. This allows for easy clean-up (and no wasted water), and parchment paper can be used over and over again.

Combine all ingredients in a processor, mixer or by hand. Roll out dough and cut into desired shapes, or spread out on cookie sheet and lightly score. Sprinkle with Acadian sea kelp before placing in a cold oven.

Turn oven on to 350ºF. When it reaches this heat, turn down to 250ºF and leave biscuits in the oven for approximately 45 more minutes. Every oven is different, so check your biscuits – they should end up a deep golden color with no burnt edges. Turn oven off and allow the biscuits to cool completely before storing them in an open container, Ziploc bag, or cookie jar.

This recipe makes over 5 dozen large round biscuits. It can easily be doubled or tripled, and stores perfectly in the freezer.

“Hey” snacks

3 cups brown rice flakes
1 cup whole chickpea flour
1/4 cup hemp seed nut butter (almond butter or pumpkin butter can also be used)
2 teaspoons Saigon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1 tablespoon carob
1/4 cup blueberry seed oil or another oil of your choice, e.g., hemp oil
1/2 cup filtered water

Preheat oven to 325ºF. Cover a large cookie sheet with parchment paper. Combine all ingredients in a food processor, mixer or by hand. Using a measuring spoon, shape small and/or large sugar-free treats. Truffle sized treats can also be easily shaped by hand.

Place cookie sheet in the preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely before storing in holiday packaging or Ziploc bags. This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled and freezes beautifully.

Note: This treat can also be served raw. Simply freeze your “Hey” snacks on a parchment lined cookie sheet, then store in a Ziploc bag. Bring treats to room temperature before serving.