Add Fat for Weight Gain, Coat Condition in Horses

Last Updated on February 21, 2022 by Allison Price

Even though fat is not a common ingredient in horses’ natural forage diet, it has been proven useful in horse rations for two main reasons: to increase energy and improve coat condition. Fat can be offered in any of three ways and horsemen usually choose the one that is most suitable to their management plan.

Feed is a high-fat concentrate.Feed manufacturers sell high-fat feeds to various classes of horses. High levels of fat are common in products for senior and performance horses. High-fat feeds can contain 10 to 12% fat and sometimes 14%.

Catherine Whitehouse, M.S., nutrition advisor at Kentucky Equine Research, stated that fat is used in these feeds as an energy source. A mixture of energy sources can fuel performance and weight gain efficiently, which allows for optimal results.

What feedstuffs increase the fat content of these feeds? Feed manufacturers add vegetable oil to stabilized rice bran. However, dried distillers grains and flaxseed are also used. Full-fat soybeans are also included.

Add Fat for Weight Gain, Coat Condition in Horses

Supplement with oil. For decades, vegetable oils have been a favorite of horsemen. vegetable oil contains 100% fat.

Equine nutritionists started to understand the benefits and relationship between omega-6 fatty acid and omega-3 fatty acid. They re-evaluated their recommendations and suggested oils that were more naturally rich in omega-3s.

“Because cereal grains already have high levels of omega-6 fatty acid, increasing the intake of corn oil will skew the ratio of omega-3 to 6 in the diet. Soybean oil and other vegetable oils are more rich in omega-3 fatty acid than corn oil. Most feed stores stock these products. She advised that if they are not available at the feed shop, she would recommend checking the local grocery.

Vegetable oil can be added to horse feeds in a way that horses will accept. Slowly add oil to the feed, first adding a small amount and then thoroughly mixing it. Gradually increase the amount of oil every few days. The horse’s health and tolerance will determine how much oil is added to the diet.

“Working 8 oz (1 cup;240 mL) per day is a reasonable goal. Some horses will take twice that amount. Whitehouse said that it may not be possible to add a lot of supplemental oil to feeds already high in fat.

Use stabilized rice Bran. Just like vegetable oil, stabilized Rice Bran has been a staple feedstuff for the horse industry for many years. Rice bran is a suitable energy source for horses because it is high in fat and very palatable.

Rice bran must be heat-processed to destroy enzymes that can lead to rancidity in raw rice bran. The product is extremely valuable in feeding programs once it has been stabilized. Rice bran that is not stabilized should not be considered.

Stabilized rice bran is a mixture of 18 to 20% fat and can be used to increase horse’s energy intake. Whitehouse stated that stabled rice bran can be added to the feed to increase the energy density for most horses.

Many horsemen prefer stabilized Rice Bran to vegetable oil as it is a better supplement to their horses’ feed. Oils can be messy and require frequent scrubbing of bins or troughs to remove unsightly, sticky dirt. Rice bran comes in a variety of packages, including a meal or a pellet. It can be churned to make a textured or pelleted feed.

Allison Price
Allison Price

I’m Allison, born and raised in San Diego California, the earliest memory I have with horses was at my grandfather’s farm. I used to sit at the stable as a kid and hang out with my Papa while he was training the horses. When I was invited to watch a horse riding competition, I got so fascinated with riding!