Chia seeds have seen a huge rise in popularity over the past few years and have even been touted as one of the healthiest foods on the planet, but what about chia seeds for horses?
It turns out that many of the health benefits for humans also apply to horses, and they happen to be a very easy-to-feed, easy-to-store and inexpensive supplement!
Here are 10 great reasons you should consider chia seeds for horses:
💲 This specific brand of chia seeds is most popular with my readers.
✅ Benefits of Chia Seeds for Horses
1. Omega 3s
Chia seeds have very high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids (even more than flax and fish oils). They also have an ideal 3:1 ratio of Omega-3s to Omega-6s.
If your horse is on pasture only a few hours a day (or less) this is an easy way to add Omega-3s to their diet, which is important for overall health.
Since they retain 10 times their weight in water, adding soaked seeds to your horse’s diet can keep them hydrated longer and help retain electrolytes.
A great solution for travelling, or in extreme weather conditions when your horse may not be drinking enough (see soaking instructions below).
3. East to Digest
With the seeds being more than 25% soluble fiber (more than flax or oats) it slows down the digestive process and helps reduce spikes in blood sugar.
This is particularly helpful when feeding senior or insulin resistance horses.
Many calming supplements contain magnesium, which chia seeds happen to very high in (approx. 220 mg per 2 oz.).
It’s also a great source of slow release energy, without the “hot” effect that’s seen with oats and other high sugar feeds.
5. Healthy Skin/Coat/Mane/Hooves
Thanks to the high levels of Omega-3s and essential amino acids, you’ll be sure to notice a new shine on your horse’s coat and improved hoof growth.
For an added boost to the mane and tail, check out DIY Mane & Tail Growth Serum Recipe for Horses.
6. Allergy Relief
Chia seeds have been used to relieve the symptoms of skin allergies and are believed to help strengthen the immune system.
If your horse is suffering with itchy skin, Chia seeds may provide some relief.
7. Reduce Inflammation
With natural anti-inflammatory proprieties, and without the side effects associated with bute and other drugs, Chia seeds are a good alternative for recovery or maintenance.
As an added bonus, it’s a permitted supplement for use in performance horses by the USEF.
8. Build Muscles
Along with regular exercise, the 18% protein in chia seeds can be a big help in building your horse’s muscles and topline.
Although grains contain some protein, many do not provide an adequate amount on their own making chia seeds a helpful supplement (also see 10 Signs of Nutrient Deficiencies in Horses)
9. Sand Colic Prevention
If you live in a sandy area, you already know the importance of keeping the digestive track clear.
The gel-like substance created when chia seeds are mixed with saliva (or any liquid) help to pass food, sand, and other debris through the guts (see soaking instructions below for added benefits).
10. Long Shelf Life
Chia seeds can withstand extreme temperatures and have shelf life of 2-5 years.
This makes it convenient and easy to store, unlike many oils and supplements (with the exception of coconut oil of course!).
✅ How to Feed Chia Seeds to Horses
Most sources recommend about 2 oz (1/3 cup) daily for regular maintenance, and up to 4 oz (2/3 cup) during travel, a heavy training schedule or to help treat specific conditions.
Don’t expect to see results right away, it may take several weeks.
Chia seeds can be fed straight to your horse, raw and unprocessed, or mixed with their regular feed. Soaking the seeds prior to feeding is optional, but can increases the digestive benefits.
To soak chia seeds, mix 1/3 cup with 2 cups water and store in the refrigerator overnight, or a minimum of 2-3 hours.
✅ Where to Buy Chia Seeds for Horses
You can find chia seeds at most grocery and health foods stores, but buying it there in large (horse) sized amounts can be quite expensive.
Luckily there are some good bulk buying options online:
Amazon (Bulk Chia Seeds) (free US shipping) – 18 lbs – Prices Vary
💲 If you can get it for under $60, grab it. It’s a GREAT deal! Check the current price here.
Equine Chia – Approx. $5.60/lb (free US shipping) – 25 lbs
US Chia – Approx. $6.76/lb (free US shipping) – 50 lb bag
Prices as of Oct 2018, they may change at any time.
Here’s the quick review of the benefits of Chia Seeds for Horses:
- Omega 3s
- Easy to Digest
- Healthy Skin/Coat/Hooves
- Allergy Relief
- Reduce Inflammation
- Build Muscle
- Sand Colic Prevention
- Long Shelf Life
Read the comments below for more FAQs!