How To Breed Horses In Minecraft [illustrated guide]


You might have heard that you can breed certain animals such as foxes, or axolotls in Minecraft? But did you know that you can also tame and breed horses?

Taming and breeding horses in Minecraft is important if you want a good mount available to you at all times. And you can create a whole stable of horses if you’d like.

In this illustrated step-by-step guide, I’ll teach you how to breed horses in Minecraft the easy way. It’ll ensure that you’ll be able to breed as many horses for your stables as you need.

Breeding horses in Minecraft is easy, as long as you understand the process to get good results. So let’s dive in.

1. Build a stable or enclosure for your horses

Enclosure built with fence in Minecraft and traveling salesman
As I was buiding my enclosure I got visited by a VERY insisting traveling Minecraft salesman.
(Image credit: Mojang).

Build some type of stable or enclosure to keep the horses in. That way you’ll be ready when you’ve tamed some wild horses.

2. Locate the horses

Horses on plains in Minecraft
Here I’ve located a group of four horses in the plains biome in Minecraft. Notice the different markings.
(Image credit: Mojang).

Step one in how to breed horses in Minecraft is to locate some wild horses first.

Minecraft horses spawn in Plains or Savannah biomes with lots of grass to eat and are usually found in groups consisting of two to six animals.

You can choose to attack and kill horses, which will give you a bit of XP and leather.

Horses are passive mobs, meaning they don’t attack you, but they’ll throw you off their back unless you tame them.

3. Tame some horses. You must tame them to breed them.

Horse bucking because it isn't tame in Minecraft
A horse will buck and throw you off before it becomes tame.
(Image credit: Mojang).

Before you can breed horses in Minecraft, you need to tame some first. And you might have been wondering why the Minecraft horse won’t let me mount and ride it?

The answer is, that a horse will buck and throw you off before it becomes tame.

Luckily, this process isn’t all that complicated.

You’ll need to tame at least two horses so that you can breed them.

Keep mounting the Minecraft horse to tame it
Keep mounting the Minecraft horse to tame it.
(Image credit: Mojang).

After you’ve located a wild horse, you’ll need to walk up to it and mount it.

On PC, you can mount horses by right-clicking the horse when you have a free hand with no item equipped.

The horse is going to try to buck you. You’ll likely fall off, but that’s completely fine. Your goal here is to raise the “temper” points of the horse beyond its threshold of 99.

Each time you mount the house you will raise its temper by five points.

So you just keep mounting the horse until it eventually becomes tame.

Tamed Minecraft horse hearts
I finally tamed the horse. When the horse is tamed hearts will appear.
(Image credit: Mojang).

4. Bring the horses home to your enclosure or stable

After you’ve tamed two horses, you need to bring them back to your home base and stable or enclosure so that they won’t just run away.

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You can bring the horses with you in two ways:

a. Put a lead on the horse

You can put a lead on it and get it to follow you back to your home.

You can see how to create a lead in Minecraft here.

Put a horse on a lead in Minecraft
If you don’t own a saddle, you need to put the horse on a lead and bring it home to your enclosure or stable.
(Image credit: Mojang).

b. Put a saddle on it

You might have been wondering, why won’t my Minecraft horse run when I’ve tamed and mounted it?

That’s because, if you want to ride a horse in Minecraft you need a saddle or else the horse won’t move when you sit on it.

How to get a saddle in Minecraft

However, there isn’t a Minecraft saddle recipe, meaning you can’t make a saddle on a crafting table or furnace. Instead, saddles are obtained from fishing, trading, or looting.

  • If you fish, there’s a 0.8% chance that you’ll get a saddle as a treasure.
  • If you meet a master-level leatherworker villager there’s a 50% chance he’ll have a saddle to sell to you for 6 emeralds.
  • If you kill a horse with a saddle, it will drop the saddle.
  • A zombified piglin might have a saddle that will drop at a 8.5% chance if you kill it.
  • A ravager has a saddle that always drop when you kill it.

When you’ve gotten a lead or saddle you need to bring two horses back to your base.

4. How to breed horses in Minecraft

Feeding horses a golden apple in Minecraft
As soon as I brought out a Golden Apple my horses got veeery interested in me. Apparently, they love the forbidden golden Minecraft fruit.
(Image credit: Mojang).

So with these initial steps out of the way, let’s now look at how to breed horses in Minecraft.

Breeding horses won’t be hard at all once you’ve tamed two of them. Get your horses together and feed them both a special type of food that will put them into “love mode.”

For horses, you’ll need to feed them either golden apples or golden carrots. You do this by holding the golden apple or carrot in your hand and then (right-)clicking on the horse.

Recipe: How to create a golden apple in Minecraft

Golden Apple recipe Minecraft
Here is the Minecraft Golden Apple recipe.
(Image credit: Mojang).

You craft a golden apple in Minecraft by combining a regular carrot with eight gold ingots on a crafting table.

Place the apple in the middle box in the 3×3 crafting window and then surround it with golden ingots in the adjacent fields.

How to get gold ingots in Minecraft

Recipe: To craft gold ingots place 9 gold nuggets in the 3×3 grid on a crafting table.

Minecraft Gold Ingot recipe with gold nuggets
Minecraft Gold Ingot recipe with gold nuggets.
(Image credit: Mojang).

Also, If you happen to own a block of gold, you can place it in the center of the crafting table to get 9 gold ingots.

Recipe: How to create a golden carrot in Minecraft

You craft a golden carrot in Minecraft by combining a regular carrot with eight gold nuggets at a crafting table. Place the carrot in the middle box in the 3×3 crafting window and then surround it with golden ingots in the adjacent fields.

Golden carrot recipe Minecraft
Here is the golden carrot recipe in Minecraft.
(Image credit: Mojang).

If you’ve got three emeralds in your inventory, you can purchase three golden carrots from master-level farmer villagers instead.

How get gold nuggets in Minecraft

Recipe: To craft gold nuggets simply place 1 gold ingot in a box in the 3×3 crafting in the player crafting window.

Gold nugget recipe from gold ingot in Minecraft
Gold nugget recipe from gold ingot in Minecraft.
(Image credit: Mojang).

You can also mine Nether gold ore using a pickaxe. This drops 2-6 gold nuggets.

If you mine gilded blackstone with a pickaxe there’s a 10% chance that it will drop 2-5 gold nuggets as well.

Once you’ve gotten some golden apples or golden carrots, you need to feed one to each horse you want to breed. They’ll then enter the love mode state.

After the horses enter love mode, they’re going to mate. This will make it so that a foal will show up and you will have done your job successfully.

A baby horse in Minecraft
My first baby horse in Minecraft

Congratulations, you now have a baby horse for your home stables. You can continue to do this if you want to try to make many horses for your property.

How to breed a horse with high stats

Some people breed horses in an effort to get one with really good stats. Babies come out with stats that are an average of the two parent horses’ stats as well as a third randomized stat set.

Breeding horses with high stats in certain areas such as speed will allow you to reliably breed babies with good speed stats.

Depending on what you want to accomplish, you might need to breed horses for a while to get one with the stats that you desire.

Horses Can Also Breed with Donkeys to create Mules

Horse Donkey Mule differences Minecraft
Here is a horse (with saddle and armor) and a donkey (and attached a chest). I’ve used these two bred a mule to which I’ve also attached a chest so that it can carry stuff for me.
(Image credit: Mojang).

Horses can also breed with donkeys. Just as in the real world, breeding a horse and a donkey will produce a mule.

You need to tame the donkey first in the same way you tame a horse. And you need to feed it a golden carrot or apple as well.

So if you want to have mules on your property, you’re going to want to tame some donkeys and bring them to the stables. One thing to note is that mules cannot breed.

Mules are sterile and this means that they aren’t capable of producing offspring.

  • Two donkeys are, of course, going to produce a baby donkey when they mate.
  • Two horses produce a baby horse when mating.
  • One horse and one donkey will make a mule.

What Is the Difference Between Horses, Donkeys, and Mules in Minecraft?

Horse with armor in Minecraft
Horses can wear armor in Minecraft. Donkeys and mules can’t.
(Image credit: Mojang).

Now that you know that you can breed horses and donkeys, you might be wondering what the differences between them are.

Horses, donkeys, and mules are all going to look different. So there’s automatically an aesthetic difference to consider. Some might simply like having more unique animals to keep at their Minecraft homesteads.

Diamond Horse armor and saddle Minecraft example
When you select your inventory while sitting on a horse, you can equip it with a saddle and armor. Here I’ve equipped my beast with a Diamond Horse armor and saddle.
(Image credit: Mojang).

Horses are capable of equipping armor that will give them better protection. It makes them a bit more durable than donkeys or mules.

Both donkeys and mules have the advantage of being able to equip chests so that they can carry stuff around for you. They can make it easier to haul things back and forth when necessary.

Of course, horses are generally going to be much faster than donkeys and mules. Interestingly, the max stats for horses, donkeys, and mules are the same.

This means that with very selective breeding, it’s possible to breed donkeys and mules that are just as fast as horses. It would take some time, but you can do it if you’re interested.

How to breed horses with special colors and markings in Minecraft

Two couples of Minecraft horses with their offspring
Two couples of Minecraft horses with their offspring baby horses with different markings. See if you can spot the parents of each baby horse.
(Image credit: Mojang).

Another aspect of breeding horses is the colors and markings on the horses.

The parent horses will have certain colors and markings. It’s very likely that the baby horse is going to get its color and marking from the parents.

However, in Minecraft, there is a random chance that the baby will come out with a different color or set of markings.

The chance for a horse to have a different color than one of its parents is only 11.11%. However, the chance for a horse to have different markings that are different from the parents is 20%.

You might need to keep breeding horses for quite some time if you’re hoping for a specific set of markings and the right color to match.

Luckily, breeding horses is easy enough that this shouldn’t feel like a huge problem. Just don’t lose hope and you’ll eventually be able to breed a horse that is quite aesthetically pleasing.

If all else fails, you can choose to apply a special texture pack to a horse to make it look closer to how you want it to look.

In Closing

Now that you’ve learned how to go about breeding horses, it’ll be easier for you to get the horses that you want.

Pick out good wild horses that have decent natural stats. Breed two horses with high stats together to produce an offspring that will hopefully have quite good stats.

If you keep doing this, you’ll eventually wind up with horses that have amazing stats, and that can really help you out.

You can also choose to breed donkeys if you’d like to. And, as mentioned, donkeys and horses can be bred together to create mules.

There are advantages to having donkeys, because the can carry stuff for you, and breeding donkeys with horses can produce mules with good stats and speed if you take the time to make it happen.

Getting horses that have the right color and markings that you want will likely take some time though. Even so, it’ll be a simple matter of repeating an easy breeding process.

I hope you found this guide on how to tame and breed horses in Minecraft useful. Feel free to share it if you like, and good luck getting a good mount to take you around the vast voxel biomes of Minecraft.

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Jan has played video games since the early 1980s. He loves getting immersed in video games as a way to take his mind off stuff when the outside world gets too scary. A lifelong gamer, the big interest led to a job as a lecturer on game sound at the University of Copenhagen and several written articles on video games for magazines.

Read more on the About Page.