You've probably heard of taking flax seed oil or eating flax seeds as a way to improve your own heart health, but did you know that flax seed is a great supplement for horses, too? Adding a ground flax seed supplement to your horse's diet will offer a number of benefits, mostly thanks to the large amount of omega-3 fatty acids these supplements supply. Here's a look.
Healthier Skin and Coat
Omega-3 fatty acids are great for the skin, helping it to produce healthier oils and remain supple. After just a few weeks on flax seed, you'll likely notice that your horse's coat begins to bloom and his skin loses that flakiness that's so common, especially in the cooler months. Flax seed is great for horses that always have dandruff in their manes and tails. Imagine not having to slather on the conditioner to hide dandruff flakes when you braid for a show! Your horse may also be less susceptible to fungal infections like girth itch and ringworm thanks to the healthy boost flax seed gives to the skin.
Omega-3 fatty acids are also great for reducing inflammation, so flax seed can be of great benefit to horses who have a touch of arthritis or who tend to become stiff after a hard workout. You may notice you don't have to give bute as often when feeding flax seed.
Reduced Risk of Laminitis
Laminitis, an inflammation of the sensitive tissues in a horse's hoof, can mean the end of your equine's career--and maybe even his life. Laminitis can be brought on by so many different factors, from an excess of sugar in the diet to foot trauma. But one thing is for sure: decreasing inflammation through the use of flax seed supplements can reduce your chances of laminitis.
Flax seeds are also very high in soluble fiber, which helps keep food moving through the digestive tract. For this reason, they can be a very good choice for horses who are prone to colic and also for older horses who may not get as much fibrous, long-stemmed forage in their diet. Flax seed is also a smart choice for horses who feed on sand lots and may therefore be prone to sand colic. It keeps the digestive tract moving so sand passes through rather than accumulating in the intestines.
Look for a good flax seed supplement for horses at a place like Forest Farmacy, and feed it according to the instructions on the package. Your horse will thank you!