Flaxseed is coming into use as a nutritional supplement for horses. It is a plant usually grown in northern climates with Canada being the largest producer. Flaxseed is sometimes referred to as “linseed.”
Flaxseed is an excellent source of fiber, containing about 30%, and fat, about 40%. It also supplies Omega 3 (as alpha-lineolic acid) and is 20% protein.
Fat is an important nutrient needed to keep skin, coat and body in good condition. Omega 3 has shown to be beneficial to horses suffering from inflammatory diseases such as osteoarthritis and improving immune system responses.
Flaxseed should be freshly ground before adding to feed to avoid it becoming rancid and to increase digestibility. Commercially ground stabilized flaxseed can be used as well.
Horses can be fed up to a pound of flaxseed daily. As with any supplement, add a small amount gradually increasing it over a period of a few days. Check with your vet when making changes to make sure you are feeding an appropriately balanced diet. Include the calorie count of the flaxseed in your horse’s daily feed.