The role of Oils and Fats in Horse Feed
Saturday, 14 April 2012 | Admin
Firstly, oils and fats are the same thing with oils being liquid and fats being the solid form
Oils and Fats are concentrated sources of energy typically having 2/3 times energy from same weight of cereal
Fatty acids can be broken down into two types
- Essential fatty acids (body cannot make itself so must be supplied by the diet),
- Non-essential fatty acids (can be made by the body)
Soya Oil, Linseed oil and grass all supply linolenic acid which in addition to its role in the inflammatory response is also used to produce the skins natural oils. These will therefore promote a shiny coat
Horses digest oils efficiently in the small intestine, but do not the same increase in blood glucose after a meal, so don’t have the same ‘heating effect’ of cereals.
It should be noted that Oils are energy rich so over-feeding them can lead to weight gain.
How much oil to feed your horse?
Typically adding between 100 and 450g per day is plenty for most working horses
Using a high oil compound feed such as Baileys Outshine or Alfa A Oil can be a convenient way to introduce oil to a horses diet
Also see our guides to Starch and Sugar in the Horses Diet and Protein in the horses diet.