There are a lot of positives to adding oil to your horse’s diet. You may want to improve your horses body condition, add a cool energy source, or you may have increased their workload. Adding oil can help with all these things and so much more.
For the horse with a high workload Fatty Acids (found in oil) are what fuel the muscles. Horses doing more intense work such as racehorses or eventers rely on this to help maintain energy and endurance during that high intensity work. But it’s not just for those high-performance horses, even horses doing a slow to moderate workload will benefit from the addition of oil to their ration.
But what are the benefits of oil and how will it help your horse?
- It’s a cool feed and won’t “heat” your horse up
- Improved coat shine
- Good source of energy
- Provides essential fatty acids
- Increases calorie intake without needing to increase amount of feed given
- Improved body condition
- Highly digestible
- Decrease need to feed higher amounts of grain in the diet
- Great for horses that suffer from conditions such as Tying up as the need for grain is reduced
So which oil should you feed?
There are varying types and opinions of which oils are best. All oils contain the same amount of digestible energy, however the levels of Omega 3 in certain oils does vary.
Linseed oil has a higher level of Omega 3 than some of the other oils available. It contains a more balanced ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 providing more desirable levels. Other oils such as Canola, Rice Bran, Soybean and Sunflower oils tend to have slightly varying amounts of Omega 6 which may be slightly higher than the ideal ratio. These higher levels of fatty acids, whilst still a good source of digestible energy, can have a slightly inflammatory effect. Keeping a good balance of the two is preferred to try and be consistent with what your horse would find naturally whilst grazing on pasture, which is a horse’s natural source of both Omega’s.
Hopefully some of this helps if you have been on the fence about adding some oil to your horses diet. If ever in doubt seek out the help of a nutritionist. Ranvet have a free diet evaluation service via our website if you need help making sure your horse is getting everything they need to be happy and healthy.
Written by Selena P.