Linseed is an excellent food for adding bloom to horses. It is low in starch and sugar, high in protein and it’s gel forming fibre can help smooth the passage of food through the digestive system. However it is the high, health giving omega 3 content of linseed which makes it vital to add to the diets of all horses at a low level in winter or to those horses which are on either a reduced grass diet or no grass at all. Omega 3 fats are essential in the diet meaning that the horse must get them from the food it eats.
Grass is a rich source but these fragile compounds are destroyed during the hay process and are not present in winter grass. A diet low in omega 3 fats has been shown to be pro-inflammatory. Hay and haylage are low in omega 3 but high in omega 6 so supplementing to maintaining the correct ratio between omega 3 and 6 is important.
Micronised full fat linseed can also be used at increased levels to add protein and useful calories to horses diets, particularly those in hard work or needing to gain or maintain body weight.
Linseed, in its raw state, contains the enzyme Linase, which, in moist conditions, can trigger the release of hydrogen cyanide. This micronised product however not only enhances feed value and palatability, but also destroys Linase, so that the resulting product can be fed directly and safely to horses.