Feeding Canola Oil to Horses: Benefits for Weight Gain

By |2023-01-26T14:47:06-05:00January 26th, 2023|Nutrition|

A variety of supplemental oils including camelina, flax, soy, corn, fish, and canola are commonly used in equine diets. Although every oil provides the same amount of energy, each one has a different fatty acid profile which can influence the horse's health. Dense in calories, canola oil is a source of fat that can be used to replace grain in the horse’s diet. It provides cool energy for performance horses and supports weight gain in hard keepers. Canola oil is primarily comprised of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids and contains more than twice the amount of omega-6 fatty acids compared to omega-3 fatty acids.

Rice Bran Oil for Horses: Benefits of Feeding for Weight Gain

By |2023-01-13T15:44:50-05:00January 13th, 2023|Nutrition|

Rice bran oil (RBO) is an increasingly popular fat supplement fed to horses for weight management, cool energy, and coat quality. The oil is derived from the germ and bran of brown rice grains and contains essential fatty acids and antioxidants. Rice bran oil is palatable and provides a dense source of calories for horses. RBO is primarily composed of monounsaturated fatty acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids. It contains 42.6% oleic acid (an omega-9 monounsaturated fatty acid) and 28% linoleic acid (an omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid).

Fructans in Horse Forages: Do High-Fructan Grasses Cause Laminitis?

By |2022-11-29T22:46:25-05:00November 23rd, 2022|Nutrition|

Fructans are non-structural carbohydrates (NSC) found in cool-season grasses, such as tall fescue and perennial ryegrass. Fructans are indigestible by horses, passing through the foregut to the hindgut where they are rapidly fermented by bacteria to supply energy to the horse. There is an ongoing debate about the effects of fructans on equine health. Some researchers suggest that diets high in fructans predispose horses to health conditions such as insulin resistance, laminitis, or leaky gut syndrome. Other researchers argue that fructans do not cause laminitis because they do not trigger insulin secretion. Some studies showing a negative effect have used artificially high dietary levels of fructans.

Can Hair Analysis Determine your Horse’s Mineral Status?

By |2022-11-23T13:11:26-05:00November 21st, 2022|Horse Health, Nutrition|

Is hair analysis a reliable way to evaluate your horse's mineral status? Mineral testing is an important aspect of monitoring your horse's health, especially if forages in your area are known to be deficient or excessive in a given nutrient. Horses with certain medical conditions may also need frequent monitoring of mineral levels. In horses, mineral status is most commonly assessed through blood testing, hair samples or by evaluating intake with a forage analysis. These methods each have advantages and disadvantages that impact their usefulness. Hair sample analysis is convenient, but few reference ranges have been established for mineral levels in equine hair, making interpretation of results difficult.

Feeding Straw to Horses: A Low-Energy Forage Alternative

By |2022-11-21T11:55:59-05:00November 21st, 2022|Nutrition|

Straw or chaff is a high-fibre low-sugar forage that is ideal for horses that are overweight or insulin-resistant. Straw adds bulk to your horse's diet without contributing significant calories or protein. Research shows that adding straw to a forage ration can increase time spent grazing and the expression of natural foraging behaviours. This can improve wellness and prevent boredom without adding excess energy to the diet. While straw is not widely used as horse feed in North America, chaff or chopped straw is commonly fed in the United Kingdom. Mixing straw with other forages is recommended to avoid health concerns that are associated with feeding a straw-only ration.

Feeding Flaxseed & Flax Oil to Horses

By |2022-11-18T13:24:52-05:00November 18th, 2022|Nutrition|

Also known as linseed, flaxseed is produced from the flax plant and can be used to provide fat, protein, and fibre in the equine diet. Flax products are cost-effective, calorie-dense and commonly fed to horses for weight gain or to support the energy requirements of high-performance exercise. Flax seeds and flax oil are also sources of the omega-3 fatty acid, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). This essential fatty acid can be used to balance omega-6 intake and helps maintain skin and coat quality. While consuming omega-3s is generally associated with health benefits, not all omega-3 fatty acids have the same effects on the horse's body. Flax oil does not contain DHA or EPA, the two fatty acids associated with healthy inflammatory regulation and improved joint health.

Teff Hay for Horses: Nutrition Overview & Feeding Guide

By |2022-11-18T10:43:35-05:00November 18th, 2022|Nutrition|

An increasingly popular equine forage, teff grass is grown in warm geographic regions and is commonly cultivated in the Southern USA. Native to Africa, teff is a warm-season grass that is high in fibre and low in sugars and starch. The digestible energy content of teff hay varies from high to low, depending on growing conditions and crop management strategies. Because teff does not store fructans, a form of non-structural carbohydrate (NSC), it typically contains less energy than cool-season grasses. Due to the variable NSC content, obtaining a forage analysis is recommended before feeding teff hay to horses. Low-NSC teff provides a safe forage option for metabolic horses.

How to Choose the Best Mineral Supplement for Your Horse – [Buyer’s Guide]

By |2022-11-06T11:12:20-05:00November 4th, 2022|Nutrition|

Proper vitamin and mineral nutrition is critical to maintaining your horse's health and well-being. But how do you ensure that your horse gets everything they need to balance their diet? Horses on a forage-only diet universally have deficiencies in key minerals, including sodium, copper, and zinc. Even if you provide your horse with a salt or mineral lick, the chances are that their diets will under-supply nutrients required for optimal health. This is why a vitamin and mineral balancer is necessary for almost all horses. Feeding a concentrated mineral supplement can benefit your horse through improved coat condition, stronger hooves, improved stamina, mood regulation, and better performance.

Glucosamine & Chondroitin Supplements for Horses – [Joint Health Research Review]

By |2022-11-01T16:39:49-04:00November 1st, 2022|Nutrition|

Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate are two of the most common ingredients found in equine joint products. These natural supplements are purported to promote mobility and joint comfort in hard-working performance horses and aging seniors. But despite their commercial success, there is limited research to support the efficacy of glucosamine or chondroitin in horses. Although studies in humans, other animals and cell cultures suggest potential benefits, the results are not as promising when these supplements are fed to horses. The poor results in horses are likely because these compounds are not well absorbed from the gut and are typically used at much lower doses than the amounts used in cell culture studies.

Hay Dunking in Horses: Causes of this Abnormal Eating Behavior

By |2022-10-24T13:42:11-04:00October 24th, 2022|Nutrition|

Hay dunking describes an abnormal equine feeding behaviour in which horses dunk their hay in water before chewing and swallowing it. This can be a messy habit and many horse owners want to know why it happens and how to stop it. While there is little research into why horses dunk their hay, several theories attempt to explain the behaviour. Anecdotal reports suggest some horses dunk their hay before eating it simply because they prefer it when it is dampened or because it helps them chew. It is also thought that underlying health issues can promote the behaviour, including gastrointestinal discomfort, allergies to dust, and dental issues.

Why is My Horse Eating Soil? – [Geophagia Causes & Prevention]

By |2022-10-24T08:12:23-04:00October 12th, 2022|Nutrition|

Has your horse started eating or licking the soil? The ingestion of soil in animals is referred to as geophagia. The reason some horses eat dirt is not fully understood. But the behavior is thought to serve a nutritional purpose by providing minerals and other nutrients that might be lacking in the diet. Geophagia may also be linked to boredom or stress. Horses may nibble on the soil to pass the time, relieve anxiety, or alleviate stomach pain. Geophagia can be harmful because the soil may contain parasites and other pathogens that cause illness. Excessive ingestion of dirt can also damage the intestines and lead to impaction colic.

Why is My Horse’s Appetite Decreasing or Increasing? [Top Reasons]

By |2022-10-08T11:53:28-04:00October 8th, 2022|Nutrition|

Have you noticed changes in your horse's appetite and eating behavior? Perhaps your horse has gone off their feed or is no longer interested in eating as much forage as usual. Or maybe your horse's appetite has increased, and they are going through their hay faster. Your horse's appetite can change frequently and for a variety of reasons. While short-term fluctuations are nothing to be alarmed about, longer-lasting changes can impact body condition and overall health. Equine feeding behavior is complex and affected by many different factors. Your horse's appetite is affected by temperature changes in the environment, activity level, gut function, reproductive status, feed composition, dental health, psychological well-being and more.

How to Feed a Pregnant Mare – [Nutrient Requirements]

By |2022-10-24T13:53:30-04:00September 2nd, 2022|Nutrition|

Your vet has just confirmed that your mare is pregnant, and you can’t wait for that healthy foal to arrive! When should you be changing her feed? How much weight does she need to gain? What additional nutrients does she require to grow a healthy baby? All these questions are important to consider when planning a nutritional program for your expecting mare. How you feed a mare while she is pregnant not only affects growth and development in utero but can also have lifelong impacts on the foal. Your mare's diet affects the foal's bone and tendon health, neurological development, immune status and more.

Is Soy Good or Bad for Horses? [Review of Soybean Meal in Feeds]

By |2022-09-01T16:39:35-04:00September 1st, 2022|Nutrition|

Soy is a common ingredient in many equine feeds. Different parts of the soybean can be used to provide protein, energy, and fiber in your horse's diet. Soybeans are popular because of their versatility and affordability. Soy oil is a palatable fat source for horses who require additional calories. Soybean meal and roasted soybeans also have a superior amino acid profile compared to other commonly fed protein sources. This makes soy a desirable addition to the high-protein diets required by lactating and growing horses.

Best Fat Supplements & Oils for Horses – [How & Why to Feed]

By |2022-08-19T12:22:05-04:00August 19th, 2022|Nutrition|

Adding fats and oils to your horse’s diet is a great way to increase calorie supply without relying on grains and high-NSC feeds. Fats can be added to the diets of underweight horses as weight gain supplements. Oils also provide cool energy to support exercise performance, weight maintenance and gut health. High-fat feeds are typically made with rice bran, ground flax, or vegetable fat. Oils such as canola, soybean, flax, or camelina oil are also popular options for horses.

Why Do you Need an Equine Nutritionist? – [Free Consultation Inside]

By |2022-08-11T07:40:54-04:00August 10th, 2022|Horse Health, Nutrition|

Is your horse getting what she needs in her current diet? Does she have health concerns that could be improved through feeding practices? If you own or care for horses, chances are you have asked yourself these questions at some point. You may have even sought out the services of an equine nutritionist to help you formulate a balanced diet for your horse.

Best Electrolyte Supplements for Horses: A How-To Guide

By |2022-08-20T20:06:52-04:00July 21st, 2022|Horse Health, Nutrition|

Electrolytes are minerals that play a key role in cellular function and regulate fluid balance in the body. Electrolytes carry an electric charge when dissolved in fluids such as blood or fluid in and around cells. These are critical for nerve transmission and muscle contractions.

Best Magnesium Supplements for Your Horse [Bioavailability Comparison]

By |2022-07-26T10:21:33-04:00July 18th, 2022|Horse Health, Nutrition|

Magnesium supplements for horses come in many forms and are used to support muscle function and calming. This important macromineral is required in the equine diet to facilitate muscle contraction, maintain ion balance in the blood, and activate enzymes throughout the body.

How to Feed an Emaciated Horse to Avoid Refeeding Syndrome

By |2022-10-24T08:50:31-04:00July 8th, 2022|Horse Health, Nutrition|

Emaciated horses have a very low body condition score with extensive loss of muscle and fat. These severely underweight horses need to be carefully managed with veterinary care and precise nutrition strategies during their recovery. Reintroducing feed must be done slowly to allow your horse’s body to adjust.