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How does flax seed help horses?


Flax (linseed) has many wonderful benefits for horses and humans alike.

Flaxseed is unique among feeds because of its high concentration of Omega 3 fatty acids, including alpha-linolenic acid. Horses need a minimum level of key fats to maintain good health. These essential fatty acids are Omega 3 and Omega 6. A horse cannot produce these fats in their body, thus they are an essential part of his diet.

Characteristics of a lack of essential fatty acids may include, dull coat with dry itchy skin and cracking hooves.

Flax also is a rich source of fibre, especially soluble fibre which gels when exposed to water (similar to psyllium). It is helpful in preventing impaction and sand colic as the fibre swells and the gel like consistency traps and suspends sand, bringing it out of the system. The fibre is rich in lignans, substances believed to be linked to the cancer fighting effects of a high fibre diet. It also has anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties.

Flaxseed is 26% protein and rich in amino acids like methionine and lysine. It has good levels of antioxidants, including vitamin E and is a good source of magnesium and phosphorous.

To prepare flaxseed for your horse it must be ground, cooked or soaked. The seed hulls are small and tough and they won't be chewed enough to benefit the horse. Flaxseed, either whole or coarsely ground, appears stable to long-term storage at room temperature. Ground flax in an airtight opaque container can keep for up to 90 days in the fridge. Whole seeds last about a year.

Fresh flax has a pleasant nutty smell, while rancid flax smells fishy.

When adding flax to your horse's diet (as with any feed change), always make gradual changes. For most horses 1/2 to 1 cup of linseed per day is sufficient. It's pleasant tasting and most horses gobble it up! Expect to see a shinier, more healthy looking horse in about a month's time!

The supplementing of flax seed oil will help with many conditions including:

* clear up skin conditions
* relieve arthritic and inflammatory pain
* increase bone strength
* improved skin and coat condition (decreased dandruff and a beautiful shine on their coats! Even some dappling)
* When a pregnant mare was fed flax, her offspring were larger, and grew faster than when previous to being fed flax within 9 months cracked hooves were completely healed
* Valuable source of energy (great to feed during the cold months or during times of stress to prevent weight loss)
* keeps less desirable saturated fats mobile in the blood stream
* increases oxygen uptake to the cell
* decreases recovery time from strenuous exercise
* Numerous studies conducted on animals and humans show that flax has powerful anti-tumour properties and may reduce tumour size by 50%.



8/20/2007 6:31:15 PM
sierra said:

can you feed flax seeds to a 6 month old colt?
please email me if you have any idea?

11/8/2007 5:52:33 PM
Annie B said:

I have fed my horses 1C of flax seed, ground fresh daily for 5 years. Their coats are beautiful and no sand is detected in their manure. It is cheap in comparison to psyllium and where psyllium is good for one thing, flax seed has many benefits.

1/6/2008 12:23:25 AM
carrie mathews said:

do you need to feed vitimin c when you start feeding flax seed? There are so many article on this that it is confusing. I just started my horses on it again, and would like to take them off of lysine, and aloe vera juice, and , and , and, lol. There has to be an end to what you supplement them with. Flax seed seems to have quite a bit in it.

6/10/2009 8:38:30 PM
liz said:

Horses can masticate whole flax seed. It is not necessary to grind it before feeding.

10/13/2011 11:48:54 PM
Raul said:

Exelente grasias

10/26/2011 10:30:33 AM
Tina Mattar said:

I've heard that you must boil flaxseed for horses because it has an enzyme that is toxic to them. This reference from the UK has been boiling flaxseed for 40 years and swears by it's necessity in the diet but cautions to never feed it raw to horses, dogs and people are fine with it ground. This may be like copper toxicity to sheep.


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