The horse is the most useful of Minecraft’s nine tameable mob types. Unlike most tameable mobs, which are little more than adorable sidekicks, horses can wear armor and are rideable, making them a great mode of transport for long-distance travel.
Horses also differ from other mobs in that the food you feed them can affect a horse’s behavior. In this guide, we’ll answer the question “what do horses eat in Minecraft?” by going over the different foods they eat, where you can find these foods, and how each food type alters a horse’s behavior.
What Do Horses Eat in Minecraft?
As we touched on above, horses will accept several types of food. In the case of many mob types, feeding them results in a decrease in their hunger and an improvement in your relationship with them. Those two effects also apply to horses, but crucially, the type of food you feed to a foal (child horse) can also speed up the maturation process to adulthood.
The following table lists all of the food types a horse will accept, how much each food type heals the horse, and other effects food type has on the horse:
|Food Type||Heal Effect||Growth Speed Increase Duration||Temper Increase||Other Effects|
|Sugar||1 ❤️||30 s||3|
|Wheat||2 ❤️||20 s||3|
|Apple||3 ❤️||1 min||3|
|Golden Carrot||4 ❤️||1 min||5||Activates breeding in tamed horses|
|Golden Apple||10 ❤️||4 min||10||Activates breeding in tamed horses|
|Hay Bale||20 ❤️||3 min|
The first food on the list is sugar. Sugar can be crafted from Sugar Cane or a Honey Bottle. Sugar Canes are the go-to resource for sugar collection, as they’re easily found near water sources.
Feeding a horse sugar accelerates its growth for 30 seconds and heals the horse for 1 heart.
Wheat is also an easily-sourced food type because it can be planted and farmed. With some wheat and a plot of land, you can have a small wheat farm up and running in minutes.
Feeding wheat to a horse accelerates its growth for 20 seconds and heals it for 2 hearts.
Apples are yet another food source that is easy to obtain, provided you’re in a location with lots of oak trees. When you chop down an oak tree, each branch that’s destroyed has a chance to drop an apple.
Apples accelerate horse growth for 1 minute and heal the horse for 3 hearts.
Golden Carrot crafting recipe.
This is the first food type on the list that’s hard to find. You need 8 Gold Nuggets and 1 Carrot to craft a Golden Carrot.
Golden Carrots are one of two food types that activate breeding in horses (the other is the Golden Apple). It heals a horse for 4 hearts and accelerates growth speed for 1 minute.
Golden Apple crafting recipe.
As mentioned above, Golden Apples also activate breeding in horses. You need 8 Gold Ingots and 1 Apple to craft a Golden Apple.
Feeding a Golden Apple to a horse heals it for 10 hearts and accelerates growth for 4 minutes.
Hay Bale crafting recipe.
You need 9 Wheat to craft a Hay Bale. Again, Wheat is quite easy to find (especially if you have your own farm) and the benefits of Hay Bale over regular wheat are significant. For those reasons, unless you’re trying to breed horses, we recommend you spend that bit of extra time crafting Hay Bales to feed to your horse rather than regular Wheat.
Hay Bales heal for 20 hearts and accelerate foal growth for 3 minutes.
How Food Type Affects Foal Growth
Typically, a foal will take 20 real-world minutes to reach adulthood. You can speed up this process by feeding it certain foods. All horse foods will increase a foal’s growth speed, but foods like Hay Bales and Golden Apples will apply this growth acceleration effect for much longer (3 minutes and 4 minutes, respectively).
That just about covers all the important facts you need to know about what horses eat in Minecraft. As we’ve learned, foods don’t just heal your horse or improve your relationship with it, but they can also speed up the growth process. Knowing the right food types to give your horse can speed up their maturation process, turning your newborn foals into full adults in minutes.