Content watched by Skip to Content

Do Horses Eat Sugar Cubes + Other Treats For Horses

Sharing is caring!

*This post may have affiliate links, which means I may receive commissions if you choose to purchase through links I provide (at no extra cost to you). As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Please read my disclaimer for additional details.

Most horse owners see their horses as pets, not just livestock. They often spend many hours caring for their horses and giving them treats as rewards. Sugar cubes are one treat option, but do horses really eat them?

Do Horses Eat Sugar Cubes?

Horses can eat sugar, including sugar cubes, and usually like the taste. Sugar should only be given in moderation as too much sugar can cause obesity and dental problems.

horse feed sugar

Precautions must be taken anytime you feed treats to your horse, especially if they contain sugar. Sugar cubes are made entirely of sugar that is pressed together into a cubic shape.

Key Takeaways: Sugar and Horse Treats

  1. Horse’s Diet and Sugar: Yes, horses can eat sugar cubes and often enjoy them because they have a sweet flavor. However, it’s best to give them sparingly, as sugar offers no nutritional benefits and can lead to health issues like weight gain and gastrointestinal problems.
  2. Risks and Moderation: Keep in mind that overfeeding sugar cubes can be harmful, especially for horses with conditions like insulin resistance, equine metabolic syndrome, or laminitis. It’s necessary to limit sugar cubes to one sugar cube per day to prevent negative health impacts. (source)
  3. Alternative Treats: Since sugar cubes are not the healthiest option, horse owners are encouraged to consider healthier alternatives. Fruits and vegetables are a great way to provide nutrition and enjoyment.

Eating sugar cubes might be enjoyable for horses, but fruits like apples or carrots are outstanding alternatives to horse feed (Read about other horse treats). Before you consider feeding them your horse you may want to learn all the ins and outs of this sweet treat, and if it is safe for your horse or not.

Are Sugar Cubes Safe for Horses?

Sugar cubes are safe for most horses despite most of them containing only sugar, but avoid giving them too many. When fed in moderation, sugar cubes can be a safe treat for healthy horses. They are small, making them easy for horses to chew and swallow without the fear of choking. (source)

Do Horses Like Sugar Cubes?

Most horses, when given the option of a sweet treat, love to eat sugar cubes. Some more picky horses, of course, will not enjoy sugar cubes.

If your horse does like them, you might need to store the sugar cubes in a safe place, in case your horse ever gets loose and goes on a food-scavenging spree in your barn.

When To Avoid Sugar Cubes For Horses?

brown sugar cubes

Sugar cubes mostly contain sugar and have no healthy nutrients or minerals for horses.

Too many sugar cubes can cause weight gain and stomach issues. Overall, sugar cubes are not considered a healthy horse treat and many horse owners typically prefer to give their horses healthier treats. (source)

Suger Alternative – Make a healthy treat for your horse

How Many Sugar Cubes Can a Horse Have Daily?

Three to four sugar cubes is all that any horse should consume daily. That small amount, combined with a horse’s large weight, causes only a small spike in glucose levels.

For a healthy horse, this is not significant at all and they should not have any negative side effects. Overweight horses should not be fed sugar cubes at all because they can cause additional weight gain. (source)

3 Ideas For Using Sugar Cubes For Training

two horses and a goat eating on a man's hands

Horse treats like sugar cubes help in training, but limit them to 3 or 4 per day. Here are a few ways you can use just a few sugar cubes each day to help train your horse.

Putting Bridles On

Some head shy horses resist having bridles put on their heads. You can use a sugar cube as a reward when the horse lets you put their bridle on. Over time, the horse may see the bridle as a positive thing instead of something scary.

Ear Shy Horses

May horses dislike having their ears messed with. Whether you are putting a halter on them or clipping the hair in their ears, you can use a sugar cube as a treat when you are finished.  

Positive Reinforcement Training Treats

You can use a couple sugar cubes each day to provide positive reinforcement to a horse for performing other wanted behaviors. Simple things, like coming to you when they are called for, or listening to commands can be rewarded with treats.

Are Sugars Cubes Unsafe for Some Horses?

white  sugar cubes

Sugar cube treats can be unsafe for a horse that suffers from certain sugar-related illnesses. Horses that have insulin resistance, equine metabolic syndrome or laminitis should not be fed sugar cubes at all.

The sugar will spike insulin levels which could make their illness worse and even cause irreversible damage. (source)

Where to Get Sugar Cubes for Horses

Grocery Stores

Most grocery stores sell sugar cubes that can be easily fed to horses. Just read the box to make sure that the only ingredient is granulated sugar.


If you cannot find sugar cubes locally, have no fear! Sugar cubes can be ordered online and delivered straight to your door!

Make your own

Homemade Sugar Cubes

homemade cane sugar cubes in a bowl


  • 1 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 3 Teaspoons Water

Pour water over sugar in a bowl. Use a fork to mix and break up sugar until it keeps its shape when you gently push on it.

Put the mixture in a baking pan lined with parchment paper. Spread evenly to half an inch thick. Cut into small, even squares. Cook on 250 for 1 hour. Let cool and break apart! Store in a moisture-free container. (source)

Possible Side Effects

In most healthy horses, sugar cubes fed in moderation should not cause any negative side effects. Anytime you feed your horse a new treat, you should monitor them for any changes in behavior or body composition.

Sugar cubes can cause weight gain as well as small insulin spikes that are usually not dangerous unless your horse as an insulin-related issue. Watch for changes in demeanor, energy level, or excessive urination. Contact your vet if you are ever concerned about your horse’s health. (source)

Other Treats For Horses – Outstanding Alternative For Sugar

While sugar cubes might be a treat, the most beneficial alternatives for horses are healthier options. You must consider treats that contribute positively to their nutrition. Apples and carrots are favorites, providing essential vitamins. Remember, moderation is key, even with these healthier treats.

Healthy Treat Alternatives:

  • Apples: Nutritious and sweet (Read the full article)
  • Carrots: Rich in fiber and vitamins.
  • Hay Cubes: Great for chewing and digestion.
  • Homemade Horse Biscuits: Can be tailored with healthy ingredients.
  • Sliced Beetroot: Offers vitamins and minerals.

Things to Remember

  1. Feed all treats only in moderation.
  2. Feed no more than 3-4 sugar cubes a day.
  3. Monitor your horse for any side effects.
  4. Do not feed sugar cubes to horses with insulin-related illnesses.
  5. Do not give horses sugar cubes when they have a bit in their mouths.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How Many Sugar Cubes Can a Horse Have Each Day?

Ideally, horses shouldn’t eat more than 3 or 4 sugar cubes a day, and they should not be a daily treat. They are better reserved for once or twice a week or special occasions

What Are the Risks of Feeding Horses Sugar Cubes?

Excessive sugar intake in horses can lead to weight gain, metabolic issues, dental problems, and in severe cases, laminitis. It’s essential to monitor sugar intake, especially for horses prone to these conditions

What Are Healthier Alternatives of Treats for Horses?

Healthier treat alternatives include carrots, apples, peppermints (in moderation), commercial horse treats formulated for equine nutrition, and homemade low-sugar treats