|Ingredient||Omega 3||Omega 6|
|Rice Bran Oil||1%||39%|
Fish oil is another excellent source of Omega 3s.
Fat Sources 101
Most commercial feeds already have some amount of fat in them, but the level varies greatly depending on the product.
Cereal grains, such as corn and oats, are high in carbohydrates but low in fat.
Oils, on the other hand, are 99 percent fat. Therefore, adding oil to your horse’s diet is one of the easiest methods for increasing fat intake.
Flax seed is another source of fat and may be fed as an oil or ground meal. There are, however, some drawbacks to flax.
“Large amounts of flax aren’t palatable,” said Cubitt. “I recommend it a lot, but more for the Omega 3 fatty acids. For sheer weight gain, you need to feed two to three cups of oil a day on top of a high-fat ration, and for some reason they don’t like the taste of it. And it can be quite costly.”
Another issue with flax is that the seeds must be ground for horses to get the benefit, as they can’t digest the seed coating. “As soon as you grind it, you expose the inside to oxidation and hence rancidity. That’s why you have to put it in the fridge,” said Cubitt. “If you’re going to buy it in bulk, keep the seed in a cool dry place and grind it as needed. Ground flax is not as potent as straight flax oil for calories because it’s got the fiber in there.”
Rice bran is another option for additional fat, and it comes in pelleted or extruded versions. However, it only contains 20 percent fat.
There are also numerous fat supplements on the market. However, it’s important to read the ingredients list. Fat can come from a vegetable or animal source, but animal fat is not as palatable to horses.
Animal fat is only about 75 percent digestible, whereas vegetable fat is 95 percent. In small intakes of fat, the digestibility is insignificant, but when a horse consumes a large amount, such as when he is on a high-fat diet, the fat that isn’t digested can upset the balance of microbes in the hindgut.
It’s fine to feed a small amount of fish oil in order to add Omega 3s to your horse’s diet, but look to the vegetable fats to add substantial amounts of fat.
Read Part 1: You Don't Need A Ph.D. To Puzzle Out Protein
Read Part 2: Feeding A Hard Keeper Is All About Extra Calories And Patience
Read Part 3: Alfalfa Is More Helpful Friend Than Foe
Read Part 4: Prevent Ulcers By Mimicking Nature
Read Part 5: Dealing With Allergies Can Be A Tricky Business
Read Part 6: Trim Down To Help Prevent Metabolic Issues