In the spirit of Stampede, we couldn’t exclude certain four-legged buddies from a discussion about hemp. Hemp seed oil has been known to have many nutritional benefits for horses. Recent studies have shown that hemp seed oil can help brighten up dull coats and improve mobility in stiff joints.
A basic understanding of fatty acids can help us understand these benefits. Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are dietary fats that serve as carriers for fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamin D and vitamin E.
These cannot be created in the horses’ body and must be obtained through the diet. The balance of omega-3 and omega-6 is critical; studies have shown that excessive levels of omega-6 to omega-3 can increase the risk of disease.
Evidence shows that benefits of omega-3 and omega-6 in the right proportions include improved nerve conduction, brain function, cardiovascular health, increased motility, and mating behavior.
Hemp seed meal contains high levels of omega fatty acids, as well as protein and fiber. Hemp seed oil has been used for centuries on horse hooves to prevent their deterioration. Healthy horses make the wagon wheel go round!