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Corn Oil for Horses: Good or Bad?

corn oil for horses

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Corn oil for horses has been a food supplement number one for years. Horse owners rely on feeding corn oil to horses as corn oil makes horses’ coats shine and it is a fuel to burn. However, several researches have been carried out on equine nutrition and corn oil for horses is no longer so popular. Why?

Benefits for horses

  1. If you feed horses with corn oil in addition to the regular nutrition you give them more fat without increasing excitability.
  2. Due to this fat horse owners admit the calming effect of corn oil for horses. Moreover, horses digest the oil easily.
  3. Feeding corn oil to horses helps them temper dust.
  4. Regular consumption of the oil is beneficial for hooves and coats as you can see from corn oil fatty acid composition that the oil is a source of essential fatty acids, such as omega-6 and omega-9s which are vital for animals’ hair coat.
  5. Moreover, these essential fats help horses in some vitamins absorption.


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The main risk of feeding corn oil to horses is that you may give too much of it. Corn oil is rich in omega-6 fatty acids and poor in omega-3 fats according to Wikipedia. The excessive consumption of omega-6s without omega-3 fats will lead to inflammation in the tissues and can worsen the functioning of the heart system.


Dosage of corn oil for horses

As corn oil is low in omega-3 fats it is better to combine it with other oils high in omega-3s, for example, flaxseed oil or fish oil. The dosage of corn oil depends on the horses’ diet. When horses are fed grain and hay they already receive omega-6 fats and lack omega-3 essential fatty acids. They have the imbalance of fats and corn oil is of no need for them. It will only do worse. Fish oil, hempseed oil or flaxseed oil are what they need. Other oils are richer in omega-6 fats than in omega-3s. In case horses eat pasture grass and fresh forage they receive omega-3 essential fatty acids. They can be given oils with omega-6s as a food supplement.

If you decide to add corn oil to your horse’s diet remember that corn oil for horses should be introduced slowly. Give your horse at least 7 days for adjusting to it. A lot of corn oil at once can cause bloating, loose stool and gas and horses cannot absorb nutrients. So start from 1 ounce and increase the dosage to 16 ounces per day. It should constitute no more than 15% of the total diet as Equinews writes.


SEE ALSO: Fish Oil for Horses: Is it Necessary

Oil alternatives

There is a great variety of other oils with similar benefits for horses’ health and without such drawbacks.  However, it is necessary to take into consideration the taste of corn oil. According to researches conducted at the Virginia Polytechnic State University it is corn oil that is preferred by horses. They choose corn oil and eat it with more pleasure than soybean oil, canola oil, fish oil, flaxseed oil or tallow oils.