Chia Seeds for Horses
The following is a guest post by Zack Pennington, CEO of US Chia, a company which produces U.S. grown chia seeds for horses.
Many people are familiar with chia pets, the novelty clay planters that create fast growing sprouts. You may not, however, be familiar with chia seeds as a food, or even as a feed additive. Horse owners around the country are adding chia to their horses’ diets because they are one of the most nutrient dense and complete foods available. Chia is rich in Omega 3 fatty acids, protein, fiber, minerals, and antioxidants. These nutrients combined help address several key health issues in horses, including joints, digestion, hooves, skin and coat, and allergies.
Chia is here to stay, but where did chia seeds come from? These seeds were an ancient staple of the Mayan and Aztec warrior diets because of the energy and endurance they provided. When Christopher McDougall’s New York Time’s Bestseller Born To Run was released, it profiled the role chia seeds still play in the success of the “super-marathon runners” from the foothills of Central Mexico.
Needless to say, the distance running community in the U.S. latched onto chia seeds right away. Because of that book and the regular support Dr. Oz gives chia, millions of pounds of chia seeds have found their way onto grocery store shelves across the U.S.
Horse owners and vets that value natural foods for themselves began experimenting with feeding chia seeds to their own horses. People who had been feeding other sources of fats and fiber started seeing better results due to the high bioavailability of the soft seeds. Chia seeds break down naturally in the horses digestive system and don’t have to be cooked or ground prior to feeding.
Some of the more common issues that horse owners remedy with chia seeds include:
- Sand clearing
- Weight maintenance
- Coat shine
- Skin allergies
Chia seeds have a mild nutty flavor and are great for picky eaters. Many people switch from flax to chia because their horses seem to like the taste of chia seeds better.
Chia seeds are low in starch and great for Insulin Resistant horses, as well as horses with Polysaccharide Storage Myopathy, Equine Cushings’s Syndrome, and other metabolic disorders.
Chia Seeds can be consumed daily, fed raw (without grinding), and easily mixed in with your horse’s current feed. Higher daily doses are ideal for high performance horses or for addressing existing health issues. One serving is a ¼ cup scoop of seeds. Typically, horses consume 4-5 lb. of chia seeds per month. Nutritionists and vets recommend feeding 1-2 scoops a day depending on the size and activity level of the horse.
Chia seeds are primarily produced in South and Central America or Australia. US Chia Seeds are the only equine chia cultivated right here in the US. We work closely with our farmers to ensure that we know how and where our seeds are produced, cleaned, and stored.
We do all of this to provide high-quality and traceable products, reduce environmental impact, and enable us to sell an affordable American-made product! We want your horse to reach its optimum health and potential, while also reducing the number of supplements added to their feed.
If you’d like more information about feeding chia seeds to horses, make sure to check out the US Chia website. Thanks for the great information, Zack!