What’s all this about lin­seed?

Your Horse (UK) - - Ask The Experts -

QLin­seed oil seems to be a buzz­word at the mo­ment. What are the pros and cons of adding it to my horse’s feed? Diane As­cot, Nor­wich

AWhile it can be a lit­tle ex­pen­sive, lin­seed oil is a pop­u­lar ad­di­tive to the equine diet and the pros of feed­ing it cer­tainly seem to out­weigh the cons. As with ev­ery­thing, horses are all dif­fer­ent and some things suit some bet­ter than oth­ers, so it’s al­ways best to first un­der­stand why you might need to feed a par­tic­u­lar prod­uct.

Sup­ple­ment­ing lin­seed

Lin­seed oil is a su­pe­rior oil source as it con­tains a very high con­cen­tra­tion of omega-3 fatty acids — 54%. Re­search sug­gests that sup­ple­ment­ing the diet with omega-3 fatty acids can help re­duce joint in­flam­ma­tion even in arthritic horses and its anti-in­flam­ma­tory prop­er­ties are well doc­u­mented too. It must be given for a min­i­mum of 28 days be­fore th­ese ben­e­fits are seen. Lin­seed oil is also good for sup­port­ing nor­mal mus­cle func­tion and re­cov­ery rates post-ex­er­cise and has shown pos­i­tive ef­fects on the im­mune sys­tem, which is par­tic­u­larly im­por­tant for per­for­mance horses, breed­ing and young­sters. It also has a pos­i­tive ef­fect on sup­port­ing op­ti­mal skin and coat con­di­tion. High lev­els of omega-3 in the diet can help to in­crease skin cell elas­tic­ity and this, com­bined with its anti-in­flam­ma­tory ef­fects, helps soothe itchy or ir­ri­tated skin. It’s not rec­om­mended to feed lin­seed oil in large vol­umes as it can have a lax­a­tive ef­fect and also re­sult in weight gain if your horse is a good doer.

Lin­seed oil is ben­e­fi­cial for some horses

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