The Benefits and Myths of Whole Oats for Horses

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The Benefits and Myths of Whole Oats for Horses - Silver Lining Herbs

Dispelling Myths About Whole Oats for Horses

Whole oats have gotten a bad reputation for a couple of reasons, one being that they are said to make horses “hot” and the other is that horses don’t digest oats very well, they go right through them. 


  1. Oats Cause Hotness: One prevalent myth surrounding whole oats is that they make horses "hot" or overly excitable. While oats are indeed energy-dense, proper portion control and balanced nutrition mitigate any potential for increased energy levels beyond what's appropriate for the horse's workload.

  2. Oats Lead to Digestive Issues: Another misconception is that whole oats cause digestive problems or impactions. In reality, when fed appropriately—accompanied by ample water intake—whole oats are easily digested by horses and pose no inherent risk of digestive issues.

  3. Oats Lack Nutritional Value: Some critics argue that oats lack nutritional diversity compared to other grains or formulated feeds. However, while oats may not provide every nutrient in isolation, they offer a well-rounded nutritional profile suitable for many horses, particularly when supplemented with hay or forage.


Like a lot of things, oats are all about moderation.


Suitable Quantity

Most horses do not need a gallon of oats, a quart or two will suffice. As for horses not digesting oats, that is a farce as well. The ratio of oats going into the horse compared to out of the horse is far less. Besides, those few oats that come out whole in the manure did a great service for that horse.

They just tossed and turned throughout that entire digestive tract cleaning up and breaking away debris along the way so better absorption of other nutrients can take place.


Benefits of Whole Oats

What other benefits do oats have? Oats help break down the sharp points on the teeth, they massage the esophagus, oxygenate the blood, strengthen tendons and ligaments, and they are high in silica and fiber.

  1. Nutritional Riches: Whole oats are a nutrient powerhouse, packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber. They provide a balanced blend of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats crucial for maintaining a horse's optimal health and energy levels.
  2. Digestibility: Unlike some processed grains, whole oats boast high digestibility, making them an excellent choice for horses with sensitive digestive systems. Their natural composition aids in efficient digestion, reducing the risk of colic and other gastrointestinal issues.
  3. Energy Source: Oats are renowned for their energy-boosting properties, making them a preferred feed for performance horses. The slow-release carbohydrates in oats provide a steady source of energy, ideal for sustaining endurance and stamina during rigorous activities like racing or eventing.
  4. Maintaining Body Condition: When incorporated into a well-balanced diet, whole oats contribute to maintaining an ideal body condition in horses. Their moderate fat content helps promote healthy skin and coat, while the fiber aids in digestive health and weight management.



Whole oats stand as a time-tested, versatile option in equine nutrition, offering a plethora of benefits when incorporated sensibly into a horse's diet. From providing essential nutrients to sustaining energy levels and supporting digestive health, oats play a pivotal role in maintaining the overall well-being of our equine companions.

As with any dietary component, moderation and balance are key. By understanding the true benefits of whole oats and dispelling the myths surrounding them, we can harness their nutritional prowess to optimize the health and performance of our beloved horses. So, let's embrace the oats and nurture our equine partners with the goodness they offer.

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