3 Benefits of Canola Oil in Horse Diets

Standlee Premium Products utilizes canola oil in their Premium Chopped Alfalfa and their Premium Chopped Alfalfa/Timothy. Have you ever wondered why?

Benefit 1 – Omega 3 Fatty Acid Content

All sources of vegetable oil (i.e. corn oil, rice oil, soybean oil, canola oil, etc.) contain polyunsaturated fatty acids. This presence of polyunsaturated fatty acids makes these fats liquid at room temperature, compared to saturated fats (i.e. tallow, lard and to a degree, butter) that are solid at room temperature. Polyunsaturated fatty acids are commonly grouped as Omega 3 or Omega 6 fatty acids. The difference between an Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acid is simply the chemistry of the fatty acid. However, this chemistry makes the fatty acid have different functions in the body. Omega 6 fatty acids, through their metabolic intermediaries, serve many pro-inflammatory reactions within the body, while the metabolic intermediaries of Omega 3 fatty acids fuel many anti-inflammatory reactions within the body. Ideally, the body requires a balance of these two fatty acid types. Unfortunately, many of the grains and supplements fed to horses have a very high Omega 6 content and a very low Omega 3 content. This pushes the body to an inflammatory state which is not healthy. Standlee Premium Western Forage utilizes canola oil in their premium chopped forage products due to the favorable ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 fatty acids. Canola oil contains two parts Omega 6 to one part Omega 3. Corn oil on the other hand contains 82 parts Omega 6 to one part Omega 3. Simply stated, canola oil is a healthier choice for horses.

Benefit 2 – Sugar-Free Calories

Digestion of canola oil yields 2.25 more calories than any other ingredient in the horse’s diet. Thus, adding canola oil increases the calorie content of the premium chopped products, resulting in less product required to maintain the desired weight of the horse. In addition, canola oil does not contain any sugar. Many horses suffer from sugar-related diseases including insulin resistance, Cushing’s disease, tying-up and laminitis, that are made worse with diets utilizing high sugar ingredients. This makes the addition of canola oil a much better choice compared with molasses (which has 55.2% Water Soluble Carbohydrate (WSC) and 35.5 Ethanol Soluble Carbohydrate (ESC or simple sugar) as reported by Dairy One Forage Laboratory Feed Analytical Library).

Benefit 3 – Leaf Retention

The process of physically cutting premium alfalfa forage, and to a limited degree, premium timothy grass forage, to form a chopped product creates fine material. These “fines” are not dust from dirt or debris in the forage, but simply fractured leaf and grass blade material. The addition of canola oil helps bind these nutritious portions of the forage such that they don’t settle out of the chopped forage. This allows the horse to consume the entire product and result in minimal waste.


Standlee Premium Products chooses to include canola oil in their Premium Chopped Alfalfa and Premium Chopped Alfalfa/Timothy products because it creates a health advantage for the horse. Canola oil contains a favorable ration of Omega 6 to Omega 3 fatty acids, provides a great source of non-sugar calories and helps bind fine particles in the product, while minimizing waste.

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