Choosing Healthy Fats

The ideal equine diet is forage based. However, many horses are not able to obtain adequate energy from hay alone. Though it’s common to augment a forage diet with calorie-dense fats or grains, feeding grains should be done with caution. Excessive grain consumption has been associated with metabolic health issues, excessive inflammation and several other chronic health issues.

Are all fats good for my horse?

It is important that horses consume a healthy ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fats. Typically, the modern equine diet contains far fewer omega-3s. This imbalance can affect the health of joints, the digestive system, allergic reactions, the metabolic system, etc. This chart illustrates examples of fatty acid ratios in common feeds and supplements.

Ratio of Omega-3 to Omega-6 Fatty Acids

Feedstuff

Omega-3 : Omega-6

Grass

1 : 0.2

Platinum Performance® Equine

1 : 0.4

Soybean Meal, Fat Extracted

1 : 6.9

Soybean Oil

1 : 7.5

Equine Commercial Feeds*

1 : 8.0

Barley

1 : 9.6

Oats

1 : 19.4

Corn

1 : 54.5

Adapted from Hallebeek and Beynen
*Average of five equine commercial feeds tested by an independent laboratory.