A SPECIAL POST BY MARIJKE VAN DE WATER, B.SC., DHMS
Question: I was told by an animal nutritionist that I should give my mare oil to help her coat and thin condition. I have also heard that oil is not good for horses? Why would that be? He did not recommend one over the other.
Answer from Marijke van de Water: Your animal nutritionist is recommending canola oil, corn oil, or some other vegetable oil to fatten up your horse. This recommendation is based on the fact that fats provide energy in a very concentrated form thus making it very difficult to burn off quickly. Fats are very slow to metabolize. One calorie of fat is equivalent to 3 pounds of oats or 6 pounds of hay. Very dense indeed. But is a daily feeding of 1/2 to 1 cup of oil from questionable sources a healthy cure-all to weight gain?
Vegetable oils in this form are poor-quality oils, all of which are polyunsaturated. This means that these oils are unstable with very poor resistance to heat and/or light. They easily release free electrons which are the culprits in free radical damage. The resulting cell damage is implicated in cancer, heart disease, and other chronic diseases related to aging and unless you buy organic many corn and canola crops are genetically modified as well.
It is significant that horses have no gallbladder – they don’t need one! The natural equine finds no puddles of concentrated fat in his foraging and if he/she did the reaction would be a “what in the heck was that?” lip curl. Can you imagine drinking a cup of oil without your gallbladder? I drank 1/2 cup of olive oil (twice), a relatively healthy oil, over 2 or 3 hours with my gallbladder intact and I can tell you my liver never worked so hard. The gallbladder acts as a timer that shoots bile (bile digests fat) within 20 minutes of ingesting fat. Without it the liver releases bile at random and thus becomes easily congested and overworked with excess dietary fats.
Fats slow down the normal rate that the stomach empties its food into the intestine so adding oil to grain means that the digestion of grains is abnormally slowed down, thus affecting stomach overload, gut motility, adequate enzyme activity, and energy. Horses have a small stomach designed to empty quickly. That is the reason they eat almost continuously. Replacing grain/hay calories with fat calories means a significant loss in protein, fibre, and minerals.
The key to healthy weight gain is finding the appropriate grain/hay combination for your particular horse based on breed, lifestyle, and biochemistry; correcting any nutritional deficiencies; and ensuring optimum digestive function with good enzyme activity and the regular use of “Riva’s Remedies Probiotics”.
To detoxify a congested liver from excess oil take a daily supplementation of the “Riva’s Remedies Happy Horse”, as well as a course of “Riva’s Remedies Pro-Dygest” to remove fat/oil residue from the intestines.
Marijke van de Water, B. Sc., DHMS
Equine Health Consultant
Ph. # 1-800-405-6643
Marijke van de Water is an Equine Health and Nutrition Specialist and Homeopathic Practitioner. She travels extensively for clinics and is a sought after speaker in North America.