“Dietary fats are required to facilitate absorption of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K, and as a source of the essential fatty acids (EFAs) Omega-3 and Omega-6, which are not synthesized by the body,” says Dr. Jo-Anne Murray. “Using oils in the diet reduces the need for high levels of cereal grains, which are detrimental to gut health, and are ideal for pregnant mares in late gestation with reduced appetite but increased energy requirements.”
While hempseed oil has been used for thousands of years for its natural healing properties, it is more recently being introduced to equine diets for its unique and highly nutritious Omega oil profiles. What sets hempseed oil apart from the rest? It contains GLA (gamma linolenic acid), which naturally delivers the correct ratio of Omegas 3 to 6. Finding this perfect balance of Omega-3 to Omega-6 is important because too much of one fatty acid can stop the formation of the other, with potentially negative effects.
Hempseed oil has the highest level of polyunsaturated fats and one of the lowest levels of saturated fats in the plant kingdom. It is a very efficient source of dietary energy because it is cold-pressed from the seeds at low temperatures, thereby retaining all its nutrients and requiring only spoonfuls a day. It is not chemically refined or genetically modified, and naturally contains Vitamin E (a natural preservative and antioxidant).
Evidence suggests that many horses on high grain diets, with joint problems, dull coats or allergic skin conditions, are likely to benefit from a supplement of optimally balanced Omega oils, as found in hempseed. And the best part of all is that horses love the taste of hemp. Don’t be surprised if you hear them nickering as you prepare their feed pails!
HEMPSEED OIL AND PERFORMANCE
“Dr. Tim Ober, USET veterinarian, conducted a small study in Florida in 2009 on hemp oil for the high performance jumpers,” says Tigger Montague, Formulator. “What he found was that hemp oil helped to maintain muscle glycogen reserves, thus reducing muscle glycogen depletion and fatigue.”