What’s all this about linseed?
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.
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