Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs) that are essential in the horse’s diet. Supplementing your horse’s feeding program with omega-3 oil can support anti-inflammatory mechanisms in the body and contribute to overall health and well-being.

The horse cannot synthesize these essential fats on their own, which is why they must obtain them through the diet. Giving your horse a source of omega-3 fats can support a calm demeanor, immune function, and joint health. Omega-3 fats also help prevent dry skin and dull coats and support weight maintenance.

The main healthful omega-3s are EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). Horses do not naturally get DHA in their diet.

Instead they convert ALA (alpha linolenic acid) from fresh grasses and forages into DHA and EPA. However, this process is inefficient and does not generate enough of these omega-3s to benefit from their anti-inflammatory properties.

Enriching your horse’s diets with EPA and DHA has numerous beneficial effects. One of the most noticeable benefits is a shiny, healthy coat. These PUFAs also helps prevent skin allergies and dry skin.

Omega-3 supplementation has been shown to prevent tying up in horses that have a history of exertional rhabdomyolysis (ER).

EPA and DHA also support healthy joints and minimize stress responses related to transport. Supplementing with omega-3’s is especially recommended for heavily-worked horses or those in competition.

Dense sources of fat such as omega-3 oils are considered “cool energy” because they are metabolized efficiently without generating much heat. This is particularly beneficial for horses exercising during the hot, humid summer months. [1]

For horses that are prone to ulcers or hindgut issues, adding omega-3 oil to the diet allows the horse owner to replace some of the grain as a source of calories in the feeding regimen.

This may help reduce the risk of ulcers or dysbiosis related to high-grain intake. Reducing grain intake by adding omega-3s also has a calming effect on horses, improving their focus and handling.

Hard keepers that have difficultly gaining weight could also benefit from essential fatty acids as a dense energy source. This allows you to provide more energy in your horse’s to support healthy weight gain without feeding higher volumes of commercial grains.

Mad Barn’s W-3 oil provides an equine source of omega-3s from plant sources (flax and soybean oil) and microalgae. Microalgae contains high levels of DHA, the main omega-3 in fish oil, but without a fishy smell or taste making it highly palatable for horses.

This supplement also contains Vitamin E which is a potent antioxidant that is best absorbed when consumed along with a fat source and increases the shelf-life of the oil.

This product should be introduced at a rate of 1 ounce (30ml) per day and slowly increased to a maximum dose of 8 ounces (250 ml) per day.