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Re: Flaxseed and oil, Carboload

> Does anyone have experience using flaxseed on endurance horses (ground
> flaxseed), would it be a substitute for oil?
> If so how much would you add to the feed? Any pros and or cons using
> flaxseed?

Advantage to flaxseed is that sometimes picky horses like it better than
added liquid fat in their feed, and there are a few essential fatty acids
that are provided in higher levels in flaxseed than are available in other
vegetable oils.  Enough to make an appreciable difference, assuming an
otherwise good-quality ration?  Nope.  Disadvantages to flaxseed is that
unless cooked, or ground and then exposed to air for awhile, it contains
some goitrogenic and cyanogenic compounds that would be a concern if fed in
appreciable amounts (just a guess, several pounds a day).  Also, flax is
quite high in protein, not stunningly high-quality protein at that
(depending on what you're comparing it to).  You'd have to feed close to
three pounds of flaxseed a day to provide the equivalent of two cups of
vegetable oil, and that three pounds would also provide 273 grams of
protein, or more than half the daily requirement for an average 900 pound
horse.  That's not a big deal if your hay is poor quality and a little extra
protein is called for, but if you're adding flaxseed to a ration that
already contains good quality grass hay, even a bit of alfalfa, or a good
quality grain ration, you don't need the extra protein.

And finally, linseed oil (derived from flax) is a cathartic and can quickly
cause diarrhea, a bad thing in any horse, let alone endurance horses.  How
much flaxseed would it take to cause diarrhea in any one individual,
couldn't tell ya.

So, bottom line, flaxseed has its place in a ration used with a little
foreknowledge, but all in all, there are better choices if you're only
looking for a fat source.:-)


Susan G

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