Feeding Flax

by Cathy
(Alberta, Canada)

Country: Canada

Hopefully you will be able to help me out. I have a VERY easy keeper, who I have just moved to paddock with 3 hay meals a day from pasture & round bales in winter. (she's not impressed).

My question is: Is it safe to feed about one cup of whole raw flax seeds about 3 - 4 times a week to my 5 year old Swiss warmblood mare. I gave her a handful yesterday, & no surprise she loved them. I am not sure if I want to feed any other supplements (grain etc) as she is on a diet & doesn't get worked super hard. Thank you very much. Cathy

Hello Cathy,

First off I apologize for the delay in answering you--one of those weird things where I saw your question and then I couldn't find you again to give you an answer!

Anyway; on the flax question:

Flax seed is good for horses for all kinds of reasons. Because of its high omega-3 content it can be beneficial in improving skin conditions, coat appearance, and it has anti inflammatory properties too.

As a supplement for older horses it is great because it helps with stiffness and can help the immune system and thyroid function in horses with cushings or other metabolic conditions.

The flax seed does not have to be boiled or ground-you can feed it as whole seeds.

According to many nutritionists the most that you should feed a horse is 8oz a day. So your question about feeding it to you mare is that you should be fine.

With any new feed program you should always check with your vet too or consult with the nutritionist at the feed store you purchase the flax seed from.

Thanks to its low cost, flax is a great supplement for any horse.

Thanks for writing and let me know if you have any other questions!

P.S. Please check out my detailed article on flax on the Equine Nutrition page.

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