3 benefits from fats in horse diets

20-04-2018 | |
Photo: Dreamstime
Photo: Dreamstime

Do horses need fat and oils in the diet and what are the benefits for these animals?

Kentucky Equine Research reports that despite the fact they don’t have gallbladders, horses digest fat well if it is introduced slowly into the diet. As it turns out, horses benefit from fat in several ways. According to Catherine Whitehouse, nutrition advisor at Kentucky Equine Research, “Dietary fat is necessary for the absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins, A, D, E, and K, but it has turned into a useful feedstuff outside of that.”

3 benefits from fats in horse diets

  1. Fats have a role in vitamin absorption
  2. Fats are an energy source and contain more calories than carbohydrates. It can an alternative energy source for horses that require limited carbohydrates, such as horses suffering from certain muscle diseases and those prone to laminitis.
  3. Fat supplies omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids.

Adding fat to the horse diet ca be done by top-dressing a concentrate with oil. Other fat sources include stabilised rice bran and flaxseed, both of which are palatable to horses. Some commercial feed companies produce fat supplements that may be extruded or pelleted. Fat alone is devoid of balanced nutrients, so some commercially produced products include vitamin and mineral fortification as an added benefit.

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