Fat in a horse’s diet is a good thing.
Recent studies have shown that fat added to a horse’s diet is usually very beneficial. Fats in the horse’s diet can help reduce some physical probelms and behavioral problems. Fat burns slows that sugar when digested by the horse. Many good quailty feed companies such as Purina are adding fat into certain feeds. Fat can be used to help make your horse better. Feeds higher in oils/fats may require you to cut back in the amount of feed you give to your horse. Fat is a good thing but like all good things, too much of a good thing can be bad too. I use high fat feeds on my horse who has HYPP in her breeding background. She does well on the Strategy Healthy Edge. It has a controlled sugar/starch release.
Additional fat added to a horse’s diet is usually in the form of vegetable oils. Never under any circumstances feed a horse animal fat; their digestive system is not designed for that product.
Fat may be added for the following reasons, weight gain, growth, extra energy reserves to meet exercise/work demand or medicinal therapies. Commonly corn oil is the preferred supplement, but soybean oil, canola oil or other 100% vegetable oils may be used. This oil supplement can be poured over the top of the feed.
A horse may need additional calories in the form of fat if the hair coat is dull or the hooves don’t have a natural luster. Horses known as “hard keepers” may benefit from additional fat in their diet.
Horses may have a daily fat intake as much as 20 percent and not display any physical problems, however 10% daily fat intake is usually the recommended amount. As with any feed or supplement change, slow is best when adding to the diet or removing from the diet.
Benefits of fat in a horse’s diet
Fat provides over twice (2.25 times) as many calories per pound as grain. When fat is added to the diet, the amount of concentrate fed may be reduced.
Fats are digested more efficiently than grain. Any fat that escapes digestion in the small intestine does not upset the fermentation process in the cecum.
Adding fat to the diet of performance horses may increase stamina.
Adding fat to the diet of genetic muscular disease issue horses may benefit them by reducing tying up episodes.
Adding fat to the diet of and reducing grain/sugary feeds may give the horse a more consistent attitude.
Adding fat to the diet of broodmares may increase re-breeding performance.