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Pleun Broeren
22 januari 2024 Reading time 2 minutes

Linseed oil for horses

Many horse owners feed their horse some form of flaxseed or linseed oil, but what is linseed oil exactly? Linseed oil, and other oils too, contain essential fatty acids. These fatty acids are also known as omegas and are important for your horse's health. Omega 3 and omega 6 are the main omegas and are both found in linseed oil. The unique thing about this oil is the high omega 3 content, which can provide good support especially in winter.

Why use linseed oil for your horse?

Linseed is a seed from oil flax and is particularly rich in proteins and fatty acids. These proteins support muscle recovery and muscle growth. But especially the fatty acids have a positive effect on the health of the horse. Partly because horses cannot produce these fatty acids themselves, this can be a healthy addition to their diet.

First of all, linseed stimulates a healthy digestion. There are also benefits that are more visible to the eye, such as the well-known shiny coat. The right ratio of omega 3 and omega 6 ensures a shiny coat for your horse. This is also the reason why many people give linseed oil during the shedding process. A healthy coat in fact has the effect of stimulating this process. In addition, linseed is known for its natural anti-inflammatory effects due to the high percentage of omega 3 (40-60%). This can help your horse to recover more quickly from, for example, an inflammation. As a result, linseed oil can also have a positive effect on skin problems such as summer eczema. In addition, linseed is a true source of energy for your horse, but in the small quantities we feed it, it will only make a tiny contribution. This is mainly due to the extra fats from which a horse can get much more energy than from carbohydrates.

Linseed versus linseed oil

Linseed oil is a better choice than pure, uncooked linseed. This is because hydrocyanic acid is released during the digestion of pure linseed. This is a toxic acid and interrupts the transport of oxygen through the blood. To prevent this, you can boil linseed before you feed it. By doing so, the hydrocyanic acid is released and disappears into the air. Another solution is linseed oil, because the hydrocyanic acid is already released during the pressing of the seed.

How much linseed oil to feed your horse? 

When you want to feed linseed oil to your horse it is useful to know how much you can feed it. As with other foodstuffs, it is wise to introduce a new supplement cautiously. It is advisable to mix the oil with the concentrated feed, for example, so that your horse can calmly get used to the taste. It is also important to build this up gradually and ensure that your horse can get used to the effects. After building it up over a few weeks, a guideline for adult horses is a maximum of 100ml a day. However, two tablespoons a day is often more than enough to see the desired benefits. A surplus of linseed oil can lead to diarrhoea.

In addition to the amount of linseed oil, it is sometimes wise to consider the time of year. Fresh grass is naturally richer in omega 3 and concentrate is richer in omega 6. For this reason, it may make sense to feed this feed mainly in a winter period when horses get less fresh grass or in periods when your horse needs extra energy, such as during the shedding period.


Linseed oil or sunflower oil for your horse?

In addition to linseed oil, sunflower oil is also a supplement that contains essential fatty acids. The main difference lies in the ratio of omega 3 and omega 6. As already mentioned, linseed oil contains more omega 3, in contrast to sunflower oil which contains more omega 6. Horses that eat (sufficient) concentrate often already get sufficient omega 6. A surplus of omega 6 can have adverse effects, making linseed oil often a better choice. Another disadvantage of sunflower oil is that it is often refined and the fats can be harmful.

Read more about:

Coat +Season change +Shedding +