The Best Form of Flax for Your Horse

Do you want to give your horse the benefit of omega-3-rich flax but aren’t sure if you should feed it whole, ground, stabilized, or as an oil? Our nutrition expert helps sort through the differences.
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The Best Form of Flax for Your Horse
Flax is a good source of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids and has become a popular supplement for horses for improving coat quality and as a way to support a healthy inflammatory response. | Photo: iStock

Q. I’d like to start supplementing my horse with flax to improve his coat quality. My friend recommended that I buy ground stabilized flax. I went to the feed store and found it had flax oil. Additionally, the feed store sells whole flaxseeds that are far cheaper than the ground or the oil. I’ve read that horses cannot digest whole flaxseed. Is that true, and which form of flax should I buy?

A. Flax is a good source of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids and has become a popular supplement for horses for improving coat quality and as a way to support a healthy inflammatory response.

Whole Flaxseeds

Flaxseeds are small and hard, and if you’ve ever had them in your breakfast cereal or in whole grain bread, you know they become slimy once in contact with saliva. This is thanks to the mucilage that forms when they become wet. They can also be tricky to chew

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Written by:

Clair Thunes, PhD, is an equine nutritionist who owns Clarity Equine Nutrition, based in Gilbert, Arizona. She works as a consultant with owners/trainers and veterinarians across the United States and globally to take the guesswork out of feeding horses and provides services to select companies. As a nutritionist she works with all equids, from WEG competitors to Miniature donkeys and everything in between. Born in England, she earned her undergraduate degree at Edinburgh University, in Scotland, and her master’s and doctorate in nutrition at the University of California, Davis. Growing up, she competed in a wide array of disciplines and was an active member of the U.K. Pony Club. Today, she serves as the district commissioner for the Salt River Pony Club.

3 Responses

  1. What type of Flax is used in horse products? blue, yellow, Red? Perennial or annul type?

  2. Can Flax seed help with respiratory allergies in reducing inflammation in the lungs?

  3. Micronized linseed can be fed at 1 cup per day for a horse and 1/2 cup for a pony. It has the advantage of a long shelf life, provides fibre as well as oil and doesn’t leave an oily residue in the feed bowl like the oil does.

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