Tip feeding oil
All mammals need fats balanced by conditions
Approx. 1/3 of saturated fat.
Min. 1/3 monuunsaturated fat.
Max. 1/3 polyunsaturated fat, which is a necessity of life.
Fats carry the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K through the body and fat protects the internal organs.
Fat is a concentrated source of energy.
The advantages of feeding with oil
The horse’s body digest limited quantities of oil very well , but they gradually have to get used to it. See the adaption scheme below. Oil is a good calorie source instead of feeding your horse with large quantities of starch/grain.
Oil can be helpful to regulate the temperature and has a calming effect
The horse will perform better when lactic acid does not build up in the muscles. Often, it also has a calming effect on the horse. When the horse burns fat and no carbohydrates, it does not give off that much heat. It helps to keep its temperature down – which is a great advantage when doing hard work and being exposed to hot and humid weather conditions.
Fewer digestive problems
Oil is a great calorie source. If the meals are too heavy – and too starchy – the risk of ulcers, colic, diarrhea, fermentation in the intestines, etc. is increased considerably. Lower starch levels reduce digestion problems.
How much oil?
Horses can easily tolerate 3 dl of oil a day added to their feed, which is as energy-rich as 1 kg of oats. You can give your horse max. 1 dl oil per day/100 kg horse, but never more than 5 dl. At such a large amount – as above 3 dl – you should provide extra vitamin E.
See below how you make your horse accustomed to oil:
First week = 1 dl oil.
Second week = 2 dl oil
Third week = 3 dl oil
It takes up to 12 weeks until the horse can fully exploit the energy of the oil. After a month’s break it will take about 10 to 12 weeks until you will see the full benefit of the oil.
Which horses should have oil added to their feed?
It has been repeatedly shown that high performance horses like race horses, event horses, show jumpers and dressage horses perform much better when oil is added to their diet. You can also add oil to the diet of horses that have difficulty in keeping weight, horses with reduced appetite, broodmares, especially mares with foals and horses prone to laminitis.
KER (Kentucky Equine Research) recommends Omega-3 fatty acid
“Many veterinarians and horse owners know that a daily supplement of Omega-3 helps reduce itching and inflammation as a result from mite bites, lat. Culicoides “, says Catherine White House, M.S., nutrition advisor at Kentucky Equine Research (KER).
Omega-3, which belongs to the polyunsaturated fatty acids, has a number of benefits to offer to your horse, even if it has itching problems or not.
- Has a positive effect on wound healing
- Relieves dry and itchy skin
- Provides a healthy, shiny coat
- Increases metabolism, appetite and is an energy booster
- Strengthens joints, improves circulation and kidney function
- Strengthens the immune system and improves fertility
Below, you can read more about the allergic reaction “summer eczema”, which left untreated can be very uncomfortable and painful to the horse.
Summer Eczema – what is it?
Saliva from the insects causes an allergic reaction, which again causes the horse’s immune system to over-react. The itching is terrible. The horses are so desperate about their situation that they are able to scratch out their mane and tail. This means that they bleed, which attracts even more insects. It is so frustrating to the horse owners and we feel so sorry for the horses.
How to fight midges
It is difficult, almost impossible, to avoid midges. They are small insects of 1-3 mm, which are difficult to see. They look like tiny flies, and they swarm in packs. They are most active in low-light conditions, i.e. dawn and dusk. You can find them everywhere, but especially in wetlands/ meadows and in stagnant air like in the forest.
How to avoid mite bites:
- Stable your horse at this time of day maximizing the air flow. It is often difficult with horses grazing far away from the barn.
- Cover you horse with a horsecloth from head to tail.
You can strengthen your horse’s immune system by giving fish oil with Omega 3
By giving your horse fish oil containing omega-3 fatty acids, it will boost its immune system, improve blood circulation and skin condition and may reduce itching.
How to meet your horse’s (nutritional ) needs
REMEMBER! Things take time, and it will take some time before you can see and feel the effects of the oil and most importantly: PROTECT your horse against mite bites!
How to feed your horse the right way always depends on the individual horse. The aim is to provide the best feed for your horse in order for it to perform its best.