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Oil as an Energy Source for Athletic Horses

Updated: Jul 14, 2023

Incorporating oil into the diets of hard working horses can be highly beneficial for their performance and overall health.

The primary objective of adding oil to the diets of hard working horses is to increase the energy density of their diet.

Several other benefits are reported when horses consume diets rich in fats and oils. These include lower lactic acid accumulation in muscles and blood due to glycogen sparing, a reduction in the severity of tying up, and calmer behavior. Such diets also facilitate a reduction in total body heat production, promote body and coat condition, and improve overall health.

Research has shown that high fat diets enhance both aerobic and anaerobic activity in horses, resulting in a delay of fatigue. Fats and oils are well digested and utilised by horses and are well tolerated when offered at up to two cups per day.

Each fat or oil has a unique blend of fatty acids, high-performance horses should be supplemented with both omega 3 and 6. While the ideal ratio of Omega 6 to 3 has not been determined, it is likely that a lower ratio would be more beneficial for horse health.

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