I’m a huge fan of coconut oil for horses and at home. I use it in everything from baking to diaper rash cream (and there’s not many products I can say that about!).
There’s plenty of info out there about the benefits of coconut oil for people, but what about our “significant others” (and you know I’m talking about your horse).
Well it turns out they can benefit from it too, and with so many anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-microbial properties it’s right at home in the barn.
Here’s a list of my favorite equine uses for coconut oil (in no particular order).
✅ Benefits of Coconut Oil for Horses
1. Improving Gut Health
Coconut oil contains medium chain triglycerides (MCT) that are easier to digest, absorb and convert to energy than the traditionally used vegetable oils.
It’s been reported to assist with ulcers, acidosis, colic and dysbiosis and is particularly helpful for horses on a grain-based feed.
2. Wound Care
Apply it liberally on cuts to help fight infection and minimize proud flesh.
3. Entice Picky Eaters
Most horses seem to love the taste so it’s a great way to hide less palatable supplements and medications.
4. Coat, Mane & Tail Conditioner
Unlike petroleum based or silicone based products, it’s easily absorbed into hair and skin.
Try fractioned coconut oil in my recipe for Homemade Coat Conditioner or DIY Grooming Wipes.
5. Insect Bites & Stings
Helps sooth and protect against infection.
6. Mud Fever
The anti-microbial effects are perfect for treating mud fever and helping to prevent reinfection.
7. “Cool” Energy source
Coconut Oil is energy dense and yields about 2 times more energy than starch or protein.
It gives your horse a readily digestible energy, without the “hotness” that generally comes with high grain diets (great for you OTTB riders!).
See my follow-up post Feeding Coconut Oil To Horses…Without Going Broke!
8. Hoof Conditioner
This stuff will do wonders for dry cracked hooves.
9. Easy to Store Supplement
Since it’s naturally resistant to rancidity, it can be safely stored at room temperature for several years versus vegetable oils which may only last a few months.
(I’ve been guilty of keeping a jug of corn oil in the feed room for WAY too long).
10. Reducing Hay
If the price of hay in your area is sky high then coconut oil can help you add extra calories without increasing your hay bill.
It’s also great for seniors or hard keepers that don’t gain weight not matter how much hay or grass you provide.
When adding coconut oil to your feeding program it’s important to introduce it gradually and adjust according to your horse’s needs.
💲 If you’re curious (or in a hurry) this brand of coconut oil is most popular with my readers.
2019 Update – I’ve received a ton of emails about feeding coconut oil, so I’ll try to answer a few questions here.
✅ How to Feed Coconut Oil
Coconut oil can range from liquid to rock hard depending on the temperature.
Then I can stir it in, or even just mash it into the bottom of a bucket for my horses to lick.
Since I find soft oil the easiest to feed, I keep it stored in a warm place (near a heating vent, stove etc.) in the winter.
It could also be microwaved to soften, if you’re lucky enough to have a barn kitchen, but please check the temperature before feeding!
✅ How Much Coconut Oil to Feed
This is a hard one to answer, since every horse’s dietary needs are so unique.
I’ve seen recommended dosage ranging from 1/8 to 1/2 cup per day for healthy, working horses (just to give you a rough idea).
Be patient, since it may take several weeks to see results.
When in doubt, always consult your vet, but I will add that many vets are still on the vegetable oil bandwagon and therefore won’t recommend it.
My standard advice is to start small (and slowly work up to 1/8 cup twice daily).
✅ Where to Buy Coconut Oil
See my follow-up post Feeding Coconut Oil To Horses…Without Going Broke!
Here’s a quick review of the top uses of Coconut Oil for Horses:
- Improving Gut Health
- Wound Care
- Entice Picky Eaters
- Coat, Mane & Tail Conditioner
- Insect Bites & Stings
- Mud Fever
- “Cool” Energy source
- Hoof Conditioner
- Easy to Store Supplement
- Reducing Hay
I hope this is helpful. Thank you for all the wonderful feedback.
What’s your favorite use of coconut oil for horses?
Great post! I've used it for mud fever. Works every time.
I'm glad to hear you've had good results. Luckily I haven't had to deal with mud fever lately, but I'll be ready 🙂
how do you apply it for mud fever? just coat the legs? wash it first?
I would suggest rinsing with water to remove dirt, drying very thoroughly, then applying the coconut oil.
I have been giving 'Empower' by Nutrena to my horses senior pellets….I thought I smelled coconut in there….Maybe that is why his coat is looking so good, because of the coconut oil…good to know this.
When I first got by mare she had a dreadlock in her tail the diameter of my arm. I worked on it forever with all kinds of "detangler" products and nothing really helped. I used coconut oil ONCE and it untangled the whole dread easily.How much/how often do you recommend feeding them for gut health?
Wow, that's great it worked so quickly. She must have looked so much better without the dreadlock!I think 1/4 cup a day (ideally spread between AM and PM feedings) would be a good place to start. You also might need to decrease other grains or oils to compensate for the extra calories.
I already feed Copra Meal to my horses, however I have 2 horses that need some extra weight. How much coconut oil should I feed as an extra add on for more calories?
There's so many factors to consider with weight gain, that it's hard to guess an exact amount. You (and/or your trainer & vet) is the best judge of your horse's condition, so I'd work up to 1/4 cup a day and go from there. Remember that it may take several weeks (or even months) to see the benefits.
my horse loves coconut Oil but if i give to much to him would it hurt him .also would it help him with eating if he has a hard time chewing Hard stuff? ( P.S ) he is under weight and hes a rescue
Too much of anything can hurt a horse, so always start small and go slow. This is especially true for rescues that may have digestive issues. Soaking his feed and adding coconut oil should help him chew, or at the very least make it more palatable. I'd also recommend getting his teeth checked. Good luck, and I'd love to hear an update!
Hello I have some coconut cream does it have the same effect ? thank you
Interesting question! Since coconut cream is made by grinding the meat of the coconut, I assume it would have some of the same benefits, but perhaps not the same impact as oil. Personally I would not feed it to my horses without doing some more research. Save it for yourself (it's delicious and makes amazing coconut whipped cream) and get the oil for your horses 🙂
I have a reining horse with a mane past her knees. It is the ONLY thing I will put on her mane. Virgin coconut oil is what you should use. If it is the fractioned the properties that are beneficial are broken down and the product isn't as good. If it is the type that they make for humans it has other properties in it and it actually detrimental to the hair. Get the coconut oil in the cooking oil section of the grocery store, you want the hard kind in a tub/jar. Rub it in your hands to liquefy it and apply it. Make sure to get the Virgin Coconut Oil.
Wow.. I bet it’s beautiful
would it help build my horses topline?
The best way to build a topline is consistent strengthening & lengthening exercises. A good feeding program will just enhance it.
exactly what is mud fever. My horse has very raw looking hoaves very sore they say the mud is eating her skin, need help
made a batch of your conditioner…..wow!………….won-der-ful !!!!!!…….may wound like a silly question: can this recipe with witch hazel be used on mane and tail? thank you ever so much
I'm so glad you like it! You can definitely use witch hazel on the mane and tail. I add about a teaspoon to my own homemade shampoo as well. It's great for removing build up.
My horse loves coconut oil. I just feed him a lump of it in it's solid state. I also use it on hooves – both hoof wall and sole – and on cuts, scratches and insect bites. In winer I use a tub of coconut oil mixed with olive oil as pure coconut oil is rock solid and hard to use in cold weather. Did you know that coconut oil is a major ingredient in some leather treatments? You really can use it for anything.
That's a great idea to mix with olive oil. I'll have to try that for cooking too!
Olive oil mixed with vegetable oil, then use it on horse's hooves.That would create wonderful result.
Since the horse does not have a gall bladder to process oil and uses other receptors to process oil which eventually get gummed up, what would be the max oil to feed a horse?
I like to take a conservative approach to my horses' supplements, and feed the smallest amount necessary to see results. More is not always better, or healthier! If you're looking into feeding larger amounts, this would be a good discussion to have with a vet or nutritionist.
the great thing about coconut oil is that its digestion bypasses the gall bladder. People who have had their gallbladder removed and eat all they want
I have a mare that has Cushing's and is insulin resistant and has had numerous episodes of laminitis the past3 years. I've got a handle on her diet now and am giving her supplements to help (Remission and HA) mixed with beet pulp shreds and a little water to soften the beet shreds. She has been refusing the feed/supplementmixture the last few days however and I wonder if the coconut oil will make this mix more palatable. How manycalories are in a 1/4 cup of coconut oil? She is currently sound and going well. Thank you for any advice.
I have heard that Coolstance Copra Coconut Oil feed (www.stanceequine.com) is great for horses like yours. The problem with some horses though, is getting them to eat it! Mine is picky with tastes. Has anyone ever mentioned the sugar in beets? That might not be good for Cushings…which is really horse diabetes. I would at least check that. But yes, my opinion is that Coolstance feed and coconut oil would be good for your mare all around. She could get the slow energy from the oil, instead of the fast energy from the sugars.
I have a Insulin Resistant 23 yrs old Fox Trotter. He is maintained on 2 cups shredded, beet pulp and 1 gal scoop of Timothy pellets, soaked. This is given twice a day. I also give him high quality grass hay daily, he free feeds on a flake. We are in Colorado and I have noticed that his skin is dry, as is his tail and mane. I have added 1 tbs. of coconut oil, twice daily to his soaked mash. He is doing super. We have not had a bout with laminitis since changing to this feeding regiment, it's been over two years. Feet are sound, coat shinny and he's full of energy. I hope this might help other folks out there with an insulin resistant horse.
I would think the pesticides on beet pulp could case problems with both conditions. The only non-GMO beet pulp has to be imported from Spain or England. It is a shame.
You could try MitaVite's Speedi-Beet. It is 95% sugar free.
Coconut Oil!! We love the stuff and so does our horse!http://domestichorsesnaturally.weebly.com/horses/coconut-oil
Since the horse does not have a gall bladder to process oil and uses other receptors to process oil which eventually get gummed up, what would be the max oil to feed a horse.. Ascenergy
Someone told me that the oil was a good fly repellant….have you tried it for flies?
It doesn't work on flies so much, but on all the other flying monsters, like mosquitoes and horse flies it works great, in my opinion!So you won't get rid of the flies, but at least they'll be less itchy!
What about fresh coconut water or the coconut itself?
Seems like a very good alternative to all the chemical compounds. I hope the horses love it.
Very interesting.. Thanks. Love reading these..
How do I apply it to hooves for cracked hooves. We have just recently gotten a horse that was not being taken care of properly and his hooves are very bad.
Coconut has vast uses which are endless.Pure coconut oil is naturally liquid and has many benefits both our skin & body care.
Coconut oil is a miracle worker that can be used in so many applications. It's good for us and our horses. Thanks for sharing your tips.
Just when I thought I knew of every purpose of coconut oil I learn more! You can also use it as s carrier oil when using essential oils on your hotdog.
What about coconut water? ?? For your horse
After reading all the comments I bought a 10 litre container from Truecoco. It worked great and my horse loved it.
I use coconut oil to supplement my horses' diets. Here is a great tip…for those of you who get frustrated with the oil being in its liquid state when added to the feed, and then clumping the feed together as it cools and solidifies, try this:1. Warm the oil in its container in a water filled crock pot on LOW.2. Pull it out when it has turned to liquid3. Have a clean, bucket-style feed scoop4. Pour the oil from its container into the feed scoop5. Measure out the oil into silicone ice cube trays6. Put it into the refrigerator (I'm lucky enough to have an awesome feed room w/a fridge…otherwise, you do this in the house).7. Allow the liquid to cool and solidify.8. Pop the now solid oil out as cubes. You may need to use a knife w/a point to encourage them out of the tray.9. Put them in a zip-lock baggie or sealed container.10. Add the desired amount of oil, as 1 oz. cubes, into your horse's feed.Note: I have finicky…and I mean FINICKY eater. So, for him, I chop the cubes into slivers, and add them to his feed. He can't eat around it. Don't they know what's good for them! LOL…I'm able to do all of this in my feed room, because I also have a prep counter to sliver up the cubes straight from the fridge, using a cutting board and knife. When it's warm out, I simply pull the cubes out, chop them into slivers, and add them to the grain. I hope this helps! Thank you Savvy Horsewoman for all of the great articles.
i'm about to get a rescued underweight mare. she was a really beautiful and good jumper before but her owner couldn't pay for the feed that she needed and didn't train her at all this winter. the horse won't be able to eat a lot at first. do you think the coconut oil will help her gain weight faster?
ok i have a mare who only gets grained once a day and hay twice , she looks great ! except fpr her top line and hooves … i was int in trying coconut oil on her hooves as well as a suppliment to her grain ! could i start an 1/8 of a cup to her daily grain ?
I love coconut oil and my horses love it too, i use it on everything, I even used on a squeaky gate the other day in the stables and it hasn’t squeaked once ! Couldn’t live with out coconut oil 💕
GREAT POST….. BUT……ummmm, great post, but I was doing some research and on coconutoil.com, they had the same post. same wording and everything. I did notice some words were changed around and the location of certain information, but it was the same post. You did add some more information than they did. I just thought i’d point out how the two posts were almost identical.
Thanks! They asked my permission to publish the article with credit and links back to my site, so I have no problem with that. I’m glad to hear you found it there as well 🙂
What brand of coconut oil would you recommend? Could I buy the one at a local wal mart in the cooking section?
Hi Kim, I have my favorite brands listed here: https://www.savvyhorsewoman.com/2014/06/feeding-coconut-oil-to-horseswithout.html
Is there any way of getting my horse to lost weight she is over weight
Please if anyone can help me much appreciated
could i apply directly onto the coat to make it soft/shiny?
Yes! Just use it sparingly to avoid a sticky/greasy feel. A little goes a long ways.
Is organic refined coconut oil basically what we can use on them / or feed to them ?
Hi how much oil do I need to use for detangling mane and tail
Would coconut oil help with Leninist?