If you’ve read a feed label lately, you probably noticed that Flaxseed is an ingredient in most bagged feed and supplements. Flaxseed is a main caloric component in many feed products because it packs a nutritional punch.
Flaxseed is produced by the flax plant. It is sometimes also called linseed and is grown in cool, northern climates. Flaxseed comes in two varieties: brown and golden. Both varieties have roughly the same nutritional makeup. On average, flaxseed contains 40% fat and is one of the only vegetable forms of Omega-3 fatty acids. It also contains around 30% highly digestible fiber and 20% protein.
You can purchase flaxseed in two forms: whole or ground. Flaxseed has a hard-outer shell which is not easily digestible by horses, so the ground form is generally preferred. It is important to get freshly ground flaxseed or use a stabilized product whenever possible as fresh flax can go rancid quickly.
Flaxseed has many benefits to a horse’s diet. When supplemented along with a regular diet, flaxseed can improve skin and coat as well as increase body condition. Flaxseed can also reduce inflammation, helping horses with arthritis or joint pain and stiffness. The amount of fiber in flax helps aid digestion by adding mucins that are great for the gastrointestinal tract. Flax is also known to boost the immune system. Flaxseed can help regulate thyroid function, which makes it a great supplement for metabolic and aging horses.
Flaxseed should be added gradually to a horse’s diet over the course of several days to allow their digestive system to adjust to the additional fat in their diet. It can be consumed in several forms including ground, whole and oil. (See our exciting Blog Post article about Oils!)
CareMore Nutrition’s RevolutionEQ and Prime4Life lines all contain golden flax as their primary ingredient. See what a difference flax can make in your horses’ diet today.