Honey for Horses

Last Updated on May 31, 2020 by Allison Price

Honey has been used as both food and medicine since ancient times. It’s very high in beneficial plant compounds. It offers several health benefits. Particularly, honey is healthy when used instead of sugar, which is 100% empty calories. Honey’s medical properties are not applicable only to humans. Horses also gain something from this natural ingredient. The soothing nature of honey offers relief from irritation. It coats the horse’s throat and disperses the other active ingredients.

Benefits of Honey for Horses

It contains vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants

Honey is not only a sweet treat that provides relief from a cough – but it is also loaded with nutrients. It contains calcium and protein, as well as vitamins A and B. Honey, is also an effective antioxidant. It can reduce an overabundance of oxidants. These oxidants are in the kidneys, liver, pancreas, plasma, and serum. They are also found in the reproductive organs and gastrointestinal tract. Your horses combat the oxidative stress in these areas. As they do, honey supports the healthy management of relief from hypertension. It also helps with atherosclerosis, diabetes, and cancer.

Boosts athletic performance.

Honey increases athletic performance. The digestible carbohydrates of honey are a great source of energy. It is helpful for racing, jumping, and even pleasure riding.

Aids in wound treatment

Honey also contains anti-bacterial properties. A lot of horse owners, including me, use it to treat minor wounds. Veterinarians think manuka honey was the only type with healing properties. But there are many different types of honey that provide similar benefits.

Manuka Honey Benefits to Equine Digestive Health

The top shelf honey is coming from one specific part of the world and is made by the pollen of one specific plant. Manuka honey is very effective and useful to the health and well-being of all. Many types of bacteria and toxins end up in your horse’s digestive tract. This is the better way to offer support to them than with natural, whole ingredients.

Honey Heals

The sticky, yellow stuff made by honeybees has been used to treat wounds. Horse owners are using it since the dawn of civilizations. The next time you stock up medicine chest, you may want to consider adding some medicinal honey.


Several properties of honey help kill bacteria. Honey is hygroscopic. Its sugars absorb moisture and will pull it from the surroundings. So, it will draw pus, waste products, and other fluids. It does while keeping the exposed surfaces moist. Most species of bacteria cannot survive in this hygroscopic environment.


Inflammation is a natural part of the body’s response to illness or injury. If it becomes chronic it can stall healing. Honey acts on white blood cells in the tissue to produce an anti-inflammatory effect.


Honey is rich in polyphenols. These belong to a class of chemical compounds with an antioxidant effect. They tend to bind with damaging reactive oxygen species (ROS). You can generate ROS as a byproduct of inflammation. The normal inflammatory process that heals long-term wounds can generate too many ROS. In return, it stimulates more inflammation. It will become constant and inhibit healing. Honey’s antioxidant qualities can break this cycle and allow healing to take place.

How Much Honey You Should Give?

A tablespoon of honey (21 grams) contains 17 grams of sugar. The main reason why we feed honey to horses is that it is an always available energy source. The sweetness of honey might also entice picky eaters to consume their rations.

Causes of Sudden Death in Horses

Ruptured Aorta

Aorta is the large main artery that comes from the heart. It distributes blood to the rest of the body. A part of the wall of the aorta is thin and weak in some animals. The weakened area in the blood vessel is called an aneurysm. When this area of weakness bursts, a ruptured aorta occurs. Once the aorta has ruptured, the horse hemorrhages right away. Because the aorta is a major blood vessel. There is no treatment for this. The horse dies almost immediately. Unfortunately, there is no way to examine a horse if he has an aortic aneurysm.


When a horse ingests a toxin, he can die unexpectedly and quite rapidly. Toxins include various weeds in the pasture and tree leaves like bracken fern and others. Botulism is caused by harmful bacteria. Some feed meant for other livestock may be deadly to horses. They may contain drugs called ionophores. These drugs are deadly in small doses to horses and cause rapid death.

Drug Reactions

Allergic reactions to a drug can be rapid and difficult to treat. There may be a high chance for recovery if treatment starts very soon after a reaction is noticed. But a severe reaction can lead to death very quickly due to anaphylactic shock. Fortunately, this type of extreme reaction is seldom seen in horses on the farm.

Gastrointestinal Ruptures

Distention and rupture in a horse’s stomach or intestines can cause acute death. The first sign of this problem is colic symptoms. Dehydration and twisting of the intestine can cause the stomach to rupture. Although sometimes these symptoms occur over a period of a day or so, some issues may occur quickly. It can result in acute signs that lead to sudden death.

Congenital Defects

Some horses are born with congenital defects. This can lead to sudden death. Sometimes there is no outward sign that anything is wrong in the foal. The horse may survive until adulthood depending on what the congenital defect is. But they will suddenly die. Some cardiac defects manifest this way.

An autopsy on an animal (Necropsy) may reveal the cause of death. This requires the expertise of a veterinarian. Provide the best care possible for your horse. That way, we can help our horses live a long and comfortable life.


Honey is generally not bad for your horse. It won’t do any harm. It is not deadly as well but makes sure that you feed him with the right amount. Too much of it can be dangerous for them. Apparently, local honey can help with allergies and inflammation in horses.

Allison Price
Allison Price

I’m Allison, born and raised in San Diego California, the earliest memory I have with horses was at my grandfather’s farm. I used to sit at the stable as a kid and hang out with my Papa while he was training the horses. When I was invited to watch a horse riding competition, I got so fascinated with riding!