Oil is famed for its energising properties and condition-boosting benefits. It can be particularly useful for competition horses who need plenty of energy but without added starch, although all horses can benefit from having oil included in their diet.
Independent equine nutritionist Nikki Megason has these five tips for feeding oil:
1 Buy cold pressed
Choose cold-pressed oils over highly processed ones. The more processed an oil is, the higher level of oxidation it will have been subjected to, degrading its quality.
2 Avoid cheaper oils
These ones have generally been highly processed, are a lower quality oil and may not have high levels of omega-3.
3 Include vitamin E
A natural, antioxidant, add vitamin E to your horse’s diet to ensure the higher levels of fat in the diet are balanced with higher levels of vitamin E.
4 Keep oil out of sunlight
Sunlight can degrade the quality of the oil. Keep it in a dark, cool place and try to source oil in a solid opaque bottle, rather than a clear one.
5 When to avoid feeding oil
Oil is a fat and so will contribute to weight gain in your horse. Overweight or obese horses are at risk of developing other debilitating conditions, like laminitis. So, if your horse is prone to being overweight, or puts on the pounds quickly, oil isn’t suitable for him.
Read the full feature on feeding oil plus much more in the August issue of Your Horse magazine, on sale now. Find out what's in the latest issue here