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What Are The Benefits Of Linseed Oil For Horses?

Updated: June 16, 2023 by Cathy Benson
Linseed Oil Benefits For Horses

Linseed oil is a wonderful supplement for horses. Packed with Omega-3 fatty acids, it promotes a shiny coat, supports skin health, and aids joint mobility – ideal for active horses. It’s also a rich source of slow-release calories for sustained energy.

But remember, it’s an addition to a balanced diet, not a replacement. Start with a small amount in your horse’s feed and gradually increase. Opt for cold-pressed oils to retain maximum nutritional benefits. Your horse’s health will thank you!

What is Linseed Oil?

You might be wondering: what on earth is linseed oil? Well, it’s a natural product that’s derived from the tiny seeds of the flax plant. Now, it’s not just good for varnishing wood – it’s also a fantastic supplement for our horses!

Benefits of Linseed Oil for Horses

The main benefit of linseed oil is that it’s chock-full of Omega-3 fatty acids, a type of ‘good’ fat. You’ve probably heard about these from fish oil supplements for humans, right?

Well, horses need them too! Omega-3s help keep your horse’s coat shiny and healthy, and they also play a role in maintaining good skin condition. Plus, these nutrients are great for joint health, which is especially important for horses who do a lot of trotting or galloping.

Linseed oil is also a rich source of calories, so it can help those thinner horses put on a bit of weight, but don’t worry, it won’t make your horse obese!

The energy from linseed oil is slowly released, helping your horse stay full and energised for longer. This can be particularly useful for performance horses or those with a higher workload.

Pros & Cons of Linseed Oil for Horses

This humble oil from flax seeds has its fair share of fans in the horse world, but it’s not without its caveats. So let’s take a closer look through the pros and cons of linseed oil for our equine companions.


  • High in Omega-3 fatty acids: Supports a shiny coat, healthy skin, and robust joint health.
  • Calorie-rich: Provides a slow-release energy source, useful for horses needing a weight gain or those with high workloads.
  • Easy to use: Simply add it to your horse’s regular feed.


  • Not a complete feed: It’s a supplement and should not replace a balanced diet.
  • Slow introduction required: Too much too soon can upset a horse’s stomach.
  • Quality varies: Cold-pressed is best, but not all linseed oil on the market is cold-pressed.

Remember, it’s all about finding what works best for your horse’s individual needs and circumstances.

Best Linseed Oil for Horses

When selecting the best linseed oil for your horse, you want to look for the term “cold-pressed” on the label. This means the oil has been extracted without heat, which helps retain all the essential nutrients, like those beneficial Omega-3 fatty acids.

Also, opt for a product that’s 100% pure with no added ingredients. Remember, you’re feeding this to your horse for the health benefits of the linseed oil itself – additional components might not be as beneficial or could even upset your horse’s tummy.

Finally, it’s a good idea to choose linseed oil that comes in a dark bottle. Light can degrade the oil over time, so a dark bottle helps keep it fresh.

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Quick Tip: The best linseed oil for your horse is cold-pressed, pure, and packaged in a dark bottle. It may cost a bit more than other options, but the nutritional benefits make it well worth the investment. Your horse’s shiny coat and improved energy levels will thank you!

Why You Should Opt for Cold Pressed Linseed Oil

Cold-pressed linseed oil is oil that’s been extracted from flax seeds (also known as linseeds) using a mechanical process called cold pressing. This technique involves pressing the seeds under high pressure without using heat.

Why is this the best type of linseed oil for your horse? There are a few reasons:

  1. Preserves Nutrients: Cold pressing doesn’t degrade the valuable nutrients in the seeds. Heat can break down and damage the Omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and other nutrients found in flax seeds. So, by avoiding heat, cold pressing ensures your horse gets all the nutritional benefits.

  2. No Chemical Solvents: Cold pressing doesn’t use chemical solvents or additives that are often used in other oil extraction methods. This means you’re giving your horse a pure, natural product.

  3. Higher Quality Oil: Cold-pressed linseed oil is generally of higher quality compared to other forms of extraction. It’s richer in flavour and nutrients, and it tends to be more stable, meaning it has a longer shelf life.

How Much Linseed Oil to Feed Horse?

The amount of linseed oil you should feed your horse depends on their size, diet, and work level. As a general rule, you can start with a small amount, like one tablespoon per day, and gradually increase it over a couple of weeks.

For an average-sized horse (about 500kg), a common recommendation is to provide up to half a cup (around 125ml) of linseed oil per day once they are accustomed to it. For smaller ponies, you’ll need less, while larger horses might need a bit more.

Remember, linseed oil is a supplement and shouldn’t make up more than 10% of the total daily diet. Always introduce any new feed slowly to avoid digestive upset, and if you’re unsure, it’s always a good idea to consult with your vet or an equine nutritionist.

Monitor your horse’s condition closely when introducing linseed oil into their diet. If they gain too much weight or have loose stools, you may need to reduce the amount.

How to Feed Linseed Oil to Horses?

Feeding linseed oil to your horse is pretty straightforward. The oil can simply be poured over your horse’s regular feed. If your horse is a bit picky about new tastes, you might want to start with a small amount and gradually increase it over a period of one to two weeks until you reach the desired serving.

Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Start Small: Begin with a small amount – about a tablespoon – to let your horse get used to the new flavour and texture. It also helps to avoid any potential digestive upset.

  2. Increase Gradually: Over a couple of weeks, gradually increase the amount of linseed oil you’re adding to the feed. For an average-sized horse, you can work up to about half a cup (around 125ml) per day.

  3. Monitor: Keep a close eye on your horse’s condition and behaviour. If you notice any signs of discomfort or change in droppings, cut back on the amount.

  4. Consistency: Once you find the right amount that works for your horse, stick to it. Consistency is key when it comes to feeding horses.

Is Flaxseed Oil the Same as Linseed Oil for Horses?

Flaxseed oil and linseed oil are essentially the same thing. They both come from the seeds of the flax plant. The difference is primarily in terminology – in the UK and some other countries, it’s commonly called “linseed”, while in the US and Canada, “flaxseed” is more often used.

Does Linseed Oil Make Horses Fizzy?

The short answer is: no.

Linseed oil is a slow-release energy source. It provides calories, yes, but these calories are digested and absorbed slowly, so it doesn’t cause the sudden energy bursts associated with fizziness. Instead, it gives your horse a sustained energy level, which is especially useful for performance horses or those with a high workload.

However, it’s important to remember that every horse is unique and may react differently to changes in diet. While linseed oil is generally very well tolerated, always introduce it slowly and watch your horse’s behaviour and body condition closely.

Is Linseed Oil Heating or Non Heating for Horses?

Linseed oil is considered a ‘non-heating’ feed. While it is an excellent source of calories, these calories are provided in the form of fats.

Fats are slow-burning, meaning they provide a steady release of energy over time rather than a quick burst, like you’d get from feeds high in starch or sugar. This slow-release energy shouldn’t cause your horse to become fizzy or overly energetic.

Is Linseed Oil Beneficial for Horses with Laminitis?

Linseed oil can be beneficial for horses with laminitis but it is very important to keep in mind the specific needs and conditions of each horse.

Linseed oil is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, which are known for their anti-inflammatory properties. These can potentially help reduce inflammation in the body, including the hooves.

Moreover, linseed oil is a source of slow-release energy, which can be beneficial for laminitic horses who need to maintain a healthy weight without the risk of rapid weight gain or the sudden sugar highs that can exacerbate laminitis.

However, it’s crucial to remember that while linseed oil can be a part of the dietary management for laminitic horses, it is not a treatment or cure for the condition. Laminitis requires professional veterinary intervention and careful management, including a well-controlled, low-sugar and low-starch diet, regular hoof care, and suitable exercise.

If you’re considering linseed oil for a horse with laminitis, always consult with your vet or a qualified equine nutritionist. They can provide guidance tailored specifically to your horse’s needs and ensure their diet is balanced and appropriate for managing their condition.

Is Linseed Oil Beneficial for Horses with Ulcers?

Linseed oil, due to its high omega-3 fatty acid content, can help reduce inflammation in the body, which may indirectly aid in ulcer management. These omega-3 fatty acids also contribute to overall gut health and may support a healthy gut lining, potentially beneficial for horses with ulcers.

However, it’s important to note that linseed oil is not a treatment for ulcers. If your horse has been diagnosed with ulcers, your vet will likely recommend medication to reduce stomach acid and strategies to manage diet and stress.

While linseed oil can be a part of a diet for horses with ulcers, it should be one component of a comprehensive management plan overseen by your vet. This plan will likely focus on regular, small meals high in forage and low in starch and sugars, as well as management practices to reduce stress.

Is Linseed Oil Good for Weight Gain in Horses?

linseed oil can be a useful tool for promoting weight gain in horses. Here’s why:

  1. High in Calories: Linseed oil is dense in calories, providing more energy per gram than proteins or carbohydrates. This makes it an efficient way to add extra calories to your horse’s diet without significantly increasing the volume of their feed.

  2. Slow Energy Release: The calories from linseed oil are released slowly, offering sustained energy without the risk of causing ‘hot’ or ‘fizzy’ behaviour that can sometimes come from high-starch or high-sugar feeds.

  3. Healthy Fats: Linseed oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. These healthy fats are not only good for your horse’s overall health but can also contribute to a shiny coat and healthy skin, making your horse look in better condition.

However, while linseed oil can help, it’s not a miracle cure for all underweight horses. Gaining weight is a slow process and should be done carefully to maintain the health of the horse.

It’s also important to identify and address any underlying causes of weight loss, such as dental problems, parasites, or other health issues.

Introduce linseed oil gradually into your horse’s diet and always in conjunction with a balanced feed program.

Is Linseed Oil Toxic to Horses and What Is the Maximum Amount to Give?

Linseed oil itself is not toxic to horses; however, it’s essential to remember that it must be used appropriately. Raw linseeds (or flaxseeds), from which the oil is made, do contain a compound called linamarin, which can release cyanide when consumed. However, the process of pressing the oil removes this compound, making the oil safe for horses to consume.

As for the maximum amount of linseed oil to give your horse, it’s typically recommended that you don’t exceed about 1 cup (around 250 ml) per day for an average-sized horse. The exact amount can vary based on the horse’s size, diet, and specific needs. It’s also important to introduce linseed oil slowly into your horse’s diet to avoid any digestive upset and allow their system to adjust.

Remember, linseed oil is a supplement, not a replacement for a balanced diet. Always make sure your horse has plenty of high-quality forage and a balanced feed. If you’re ever in doubt, don’t hesitate to reach out to your vet or an equine nutritionist for further guidance and advice.

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Last update on 2024-06-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API