3 Reasons to Stop Feeding Corn Oil to Your Horse


Corn oil, once the staple of every barn and horse owner to add shine to a horse, still has a place in the internet of all things horses as a good idea. It’s a myth that won’t seem to perish, despite advances in equine nutrition and much better alternatives.


So my point is this – corn oil for horses has some benefits – with a few glaring and negative exceptions. There are alternatives that have the same benefits and none of the negatives. It’s really just that simple.


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corn oil in cups in front of corn cob


Why feeding your horse oil and fat is a good idea.


Oils as energy


  • Fats and oils are a great way to give your horse some energy. This is especially handy for horses that have long-distance or endurance type jobs.


  • In warmer weather, oils as an energy source are nice to use as produce less heat than any other part of your horse’s diet.


  • Fats for horses are also called “cool or calm energy” as some believe they don’t make a horse hot or excitable.


However, corn oil creates more lactic acid and can contribute to a higher heart rate than other types of fats. Strike one for corn oil.



horse grains in bags from the top view

Commercial feeds are often loaded with Omega 6’s – and are sometimes dusty. Using oils as a top dressing can cut the dust.


Oils for digestion, dust, and shine.


  • Oils in your horse’s diet are delicious! This may help you deliver meds and can bind powdered supplements to your horse’s noms.


  • They also create a nice meal that reduces dust that may be present in some feeds. This is helpful for the horse with respiratory issues.


  • Oils and fats also increase your horse’s shine factor from the inside out. Bloom from the inside, so to speak.


But – corn oil can create diarrhea and other intestinal problems like gas and bloating. This is usually in horses that are fed too much oil. Strike two.



What about the Omega fatty acids?


  • Here’s where we know some specifics about corn oil and horse. Oils and fats contain Omega fatty acids of the 6 and 3 variety, which are essential to a horse. Essential fatty acids are not made by your horse’s own body, he needs to eat them. Omega 9 fatty acids are made by your horse. So much more on all of the Omega’s here.


  • It’s understood that a horse should have a ration of Omega 6’s to Omega 3’s somewhere in the neighborhood from 3:1 to 10:1. Your horse needs to get them from his diet.


  • Omega 6’s are essential to your horse – in the right proportions. At a very basic level, these support inflammation and can exacerbate some conditions, like metabolic disorders and respiratory issues. Omega 6’s are common in horse feeds.


  • Omega 3’s are also essential, and plentiful in pastures and super fresh hay. They are, at a simple level, anti-inflammatory.



Corn oil is essentially all Omega 6’s – with a ration Omega 6’s to 3’s at about 87:1. This is a TON of inflammation support. Strike three.



This flax is great for horses – much better than corn oil.

There are better alternatives to corn oil for horses!


  • Sunflower oil is also a huge NOPE – with a ration of about 200:1 for 6’s to 3’s.


  • Pasture is best, if you can swing it and your horse is safe on pasture. This gives your horse lots of FRESH ingredients.


  • Flaxseed is also great. Flaxseed does come in a stabilized form, or you can grind it daily if you feed it within about 10-15 minutes. You can also find flax oil. More on this delightful option here.


  • Fish oil is perhaps the best option, it’s Omega 3’s are the most digestible for horses, and many horses love the flavor.

gray horse in far corner of green grass pasture

Salad for days.



Whenever you are modifying your horse’s diet, keep it all in moderation and introduced slowly.


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Big Hoss - Outlaw Nutrition

Omega 3's plus gut health support in a delicious cold milled flax formula. It's delicious and it will turn your horse's coat into a mirror.

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