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By Kentucky Equine Research Staff · February 21, 2011
Corn oil has been a staple in the diets of many horses for years, but has this much-loved additive fallen out of favor? Supplementing a horse's diet with corn oil has its advantages and disadvantages, but scientific headway might be making this pour-on less appealing to horse owners.
Because it is completely fat, corn oil was originally added to diets to increase the energy density without increasing bulk. Studies have shown that that regular supplementation of fat as an energy source has a glycogen-sparing effect and has been found to be beneficial in long-distance exercise. With regard to intense exercise, however, corn oil resulted in increased lactic acid production and higher heart rates in comparison to horses supplemented with rice bran (approximately 20% fat).
The use of corn oil as an energy source is particularly valuable in the hot months of the year because its digestion produces less heat than any other energy constituent in a horse's diet.
Corn oil cannot be used as the only energy source. It should never be fed at more than 15% of the total diet, but 1 to 16 ounces per day is safe. Too much oil will decrease feed consumption and may cause loose manure...
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