Feeding horses with flax seeds is a widely-spread and known for a long time practice in a majority of stables. Flaxseed oil for horses is a much more convenient and time-saving way for horse breeders to provide their horses with beneficial nutrients of flaxseeds.
According to Wikipedia, flaxseed oil possesses 58% of omega-3 fatty acids (alpha-linolenic acid or ALA among them), 21% of omega-9 essential fatty acids and 16% of omega-6 fatty acids. (You may find other flaxseed oil nutrition data here). You see that flaxseed oil is rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids which are needed for horses as they cannot produce them. Most horse feeds don’t include omega-3 acids and it is very important to add them to horses’ consumption.
Benefits of flaxseed oil for horses
Omega-3 fatty acids in flaxseed oil help:
- Prevent and treat inflammation and inflammatory diseases, for example arthritis;
- Support the immune system by inducing the immune response;
- Strengthen hooves that become more stable to cracking;
- Maintain healthy skin and shiny and soft coats;
- Prevent allergic reactions, for example sweet itch;
- Lessen the recovery period after intense exercise, prevent cramping;
- Calm excitable animals.
Moreover, flaxseed oil lessens the amount of lactic acid built up in muscles that helps eliminate performance horses’ fatigue. It controls the balance of hormones and enzymes that make horses have more stamina and run quicker.There are other possible flaxseed oil uses, not only for horses but also for people.
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For general support of horses’ health, hooves, joints and skin conditions 30-70 ml taken every day is needed for a period of 10-14 days. The exact amount depends on the size of your horse. A miniature horse needs 30 ml. a pony – 40 ml a day, a 17 hh horse – 60ml. It will be the starting point for the horse, its body will get used to the oil and you will see the first results: softer coat, increased mobility and less nervous behavior.
In case your horse suffers from inflammatory diseases, has arthritis or skin problems, the amount fed to the horse should be higher. It depends on the horse’s disease and you will need to consult your vet.
If you have a race horse and want to use flaxseed oil for horses as an energy source, it is suggested to give 130-200 ml daily. The main point is to feed flaxseed oil daily to achieve results.
Remember keeping flaxseed oil in a fringe or in a cool dark place. The oil has a short shelf life so calculate the amount you need and don’t buy too large containers.