The Secret Health Benefits (and Risks) of Feeding Horses Maple Syrup

By Zunnun Ahmed •  Updated: 08/05/23 •  5 min read

You want to provide your horse with the greatest nutrition possible as a horse owner. Although hay, grass, and grains are the typical nutrients horses require, you may be curious about adding other foods to their diet.

One example of such a meal is maple syrup, a viscous, sweet liquid produced by boiling maple tree sap. The question: can horses eat maple syrup?

This article will discuss the potential benefits and risks of feeding maple syrup to horses, as well as the nutritional advantages, safe ways to include it in your horse’s diet, and significant variables to take into account.

Related: Discover whether horses can eat cashews and get insights from experts in the field Learn about the potential benefits and risks associated with feeding cashews to horses.

What is maple syrup? Where does maple syrup come from?

Maple syrup is made by boiling down maple trees and producing a sweet, sticky liquid. It is frequently sprinkled on top of waffles, pancakes, and other dishes. It may also give some nutritional benefits to horses.

Did you know that one gallon of maple syrup requires roughly 40 gallons of sap? Because pure maple syrup is more costly compared to various sweeteners, the production procedure is probably time and labor-intensive.

Zinc, manganese, and calcium are merely some of the essential minerals and antioxidants present in maple syrup which are beneficial for horses.

According to studies, a tablespoon of maple syrup has about 20.4 mg of calcium, which can help horses develop strong bones and teeth.

A suitable alternative for horses with insulin resistance, maple syrup also has a lower glycemic index than other sweets.

Nevertheless, keeping in mind that maple syrup includes a lot of sugar, consequently, it is best avoided in very special situations and after discussing your veterinarian.

A bottle of maple syrup next to a wooden spoon; horses eat.

Related: Dive into the world of equine nutrition as we explore whether lettuce is a suitable option for horses. Learn about the potential benefits, risks, and important points to consider.

The health benefits of feeding horses maple syrup

Feeding horses small amounts of maple syrup may offer some potential health benefits. As previously stated, maple syrup is a good alternative to calcium, zinc, and manganese, all of which are vital to horses’ healthy bones, muscles, and other physical processes.

A favorable gut microbiome in horses may be bolstered by the antibacterial properties of maple syrup, owing to some research.

Additionally, considering maple syrup has a glycemic index that is less than other sugar substitutes, it could represent an excellent choice for horses with resistance to insulin or sugar sensitivities. Maple syrup can support a more stable energy balance in horses by offering a source of natural sweetness without raising blood sugar levels.

But you must keep in consideration that maple syrup is best utilized as a supplement to a healthy diet. An incorrect sugar intake from feeding equine too much maple syrup may end up in complications like gaining weight, resistance to insulin, and laminitis.

Before adding maple syrup or any other item to your horse’s diet, as with any dietary adjustment, it is best to speak with your veterinarian.

Related: Curious about sunflower seeds’ impact on horses‘ nutrition? Delve into the potential advantages and discover if these delicious treats are a suitable addition to your horse’s menu.

How to give maple syrup to your horse?

If you choose to feed your horse maple syrup, it’s crucial to do it in a secure setting. To assist you administer maple syrup to your horse, here are some suggestions:

  1. Start with minimal doses: Give your horse no more than one or two tablespoons of maple syrup at first. You can observe their response and prevent overfeeding by doing this.
  2. Use pure maple syrup: As was already established, the best choice for horses is pure maple syrup. Avoid using imitation syrups or those with added flavors and ingredients.
  3. Combine it with their feed: Combine the maple syrup with your horse’s usual diet to make it easier for them to eat. Additionally, it will guarantee that they consume a healthy, balanced diet.
  4. Keep an eye on their intake: Record how much and how frequently you feed your horse maple syrup. Stop giving them maple syrup and talk to your veterinarian if you observe any adverse reactions or changes in their behavior or health.
  5. Use it as a supplement, not a mainstay: Although maple syrup can offer some nutritional advantages to horses, it shouldn’t be substituted for their regular feed. Always make sure the horse’s nutrition is balanced. and covers all of its unique nutritional requirements.

Related: Discover if horses can safely enjoy raspberries. Learn about the benefits and potential risks of feeding raspberries to horses.


Horses may consume maple syrup in small amounts, but they need to look at its benefits and potential hazards to their health. Small dosages of pure, organic maple syrup given to your horse may have some favorable health advantages, but you should always consult your veterinarian before making any significant dietary adjustments.

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.

Keep Reading