Oils for Performance Horses

TJ Smith Tulloch

Why feed oils to performance horses?
Why Did Hall Of Fame Racehorse Trainer Tommy Smith Feed An Oil?
Why Feeding Oil Gives Horses A Performance Advantage?
Which Oil Is Best For Performance Horses?

Why feed oils to performance horses?

There are great advantages to feeding oils to performance horses. Feeding an Oil is a simple addition to all performance diets to help improve and maintain weight, energy, coat condition and digestive health.

Why Did Hall Of Fame Racehorse Trainer Tommy Smith Feed An Oil?

In the late 1980s, feeding oils to racehorses was widespread in Australia. The leading Sydney hall of fame trainer Tommy Smith (T.J Smith) would feed a cupful (up to 250mL) of oil to his horses daily. This would delay lactic acid production and lead to improved stamina, as the oil has a glucose-sparing effect.
A 1989 study showed horses receiving oil every day, replenished the glycogen in their muscle fibres more rapidly, and to a higher level after fast work. The study showed that oil-fed horses broke down more glycogen during the race and broke it down at a rapid rate.

Why Feeding Oil Gives Horses A Performance Advantage?

Oils contain up to 3x more energy than grains (carbohydrates) and when used as a calorie source, there is a delay in lactic acid production.
Delaying lactic acid can lead to improved stamina, as the oil has a glucose-sparing effect. By sparing glucose until the final stages of a race, the horse can stay stronger in their action. This is due to glucose being anaerobically metabolised in the muscles when asked for an extra effort by the jockey.
Improvement in temperament can be seen when feeding oil. Unlike starches (carbohydrates) from grains, fat is considered cooling (non-heating) as it does not warrant an insulin response when used for energy.

Which Oil Is Best For Performance Horses?

When choosing the best oil for performance horses, look at the Omega fatty acid profile especially the Omega 3 content. Oils with a profile higher in Omega 3 to Omega 6 levels are considered anti-inflammatory. All vegetable oils including corn, canola and rice bran oil are less beneficial due to their high Omega 6 levels and chemical extraction methods.
Choosing a naturally extracted oil that is cold-pressed & high in Omega 3 like CEN Oil will provide greater benefits to the horse’s system. Especially in performance, chronic inflammation must be controlled and including a high Omega 3 oil in the diet will be highly beneficial. See article The Healthy Oil Choice For Your Horse.

Written by Bryan Meggitt (BMedSc. PGCrtMedSc.)
Biochemist / Senior Scientist and Co-founder of CEN Horse Nutrition
Bryan is passionate about improving equine health & performance through nutrition & science.

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