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Linseed: Superfood for Horses

by Marlen Fischer
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Many horse owners like to add linseed to their horses’ diet as it has many beneficial effects. This article tells you why the supplement is good for horses, whether you need to cook linseed or not and what the feeding recommendations are.

Benefits: That’s why you should feed your horse linseeds

Linseeds are not only healthy for humans, but can also be used as supplementary feed for horses. This is because the seeds have a high proportion (over 50 percent) of unsaturated omega-3 fatty acids. This benefits both us and our animal friends in terms of health and reduces inflammatory processes in the body. In addition, linseed contains a lot of protein, folic, nicotinic and pantothenic acid as well as selenium and various vitamins.

When does your horse need linseeds?

It is recommended to feed flaxseed only temporarily, for example during the coat change or when your horse has digestive problems.

Feeding linseed has positive effects on the horse’s digestive tract: The bulking agents of the seeds amount to about 25 percent. Of these, about five percent are natural mucilages that support the mucous membranes of the stomach and intestines. For example, a bloated belly from being in the paddock for too long and eating dirt can be regulated quickly.This is why linseed is also ideal when horses have digestive problems, diarrhoea, watery excrement or mild colic.

Furthermore, linseed is often fed to horses during their change of coat, as it supports the transition and results in a more beautiful coat.

Preparation of flaxseed – to cook or not to cook?

Even though linseed is considered a true superfood, care must be taken when preparing it. The reason for this is so-called cyanogenic glucosides, the processing of which releases hydrocyanic acid in the body, which is considered toxic.

However, please note that these toxins are only released when special enzymes are present, which the plant seeds provide. The enzymes, in turn, are only activated under a certain pH-value. The horses’ stomach acid prevents this activation and consequently also the release of hydrocyanic acid.

We therefore recommend letting linseed soak overnight, which allows horses to digest the seeds better. Ideally, you should feed the superfood in the morning so that it can be well processed during the day. For example, you can mix the linseed into the morning feed.

If you are unsure about the soaking, you can completely eradicate the hydrocyanic acid by boiling the flax seeds, since the acid is water-soluble and evaporates during a boiling time of about 15 minutes.

However, there are some disadvantages with this, as a high proportion of vitamins and fatty acids are also destroyed in the boiling process and other chemicals can be released that can be harmful to the horse’s health.

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