By Annie Birmingham
Purina® Omega Match™, the newest addition to the lineup of Purina® horse feed products, is approaching omega supplementation in a whole new way. The company’s new Omega Match™ Ahiflower Oil supplement and Omega Match™ Ration Balancing feed are specially formulated by Ph.D. equine nutritionists with ingredients and benefits inspired by fresh pasture, but without the calories or carbohydrates. These limited-ingredient formulas address common nutritional sensitivities and provide a convenient, palatable way to supply meaningful amounts of omega-3 fatty acids to horses that may not be able to get them from grazing.
The Plaid Horse sat down with Anna Pesta, Ph.D. and Purina equine nutritionist, to learn more about this new product line.
Q: What type of horses will benefit most from Purina® Omega Match™ Ahiflower® Oil supplement and Omega Match™ Ration Balancing Feed?
A: We created these products for horses that need a concentrated source of omega fatty acids, including those that are not able to graze due to pasture availability, travel schedule or carbohydrate sensitivity. They are two great options for any horse that’s missing out on the natural benefits of green grass. Due to the low feeding rate and a low combined sugar and starch content, the ration balancer is an appropriate option for horses with metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, Cushing’s Disease, and more. The oil is good for any horse, especially performance horses that can benefit from the high concentration of healthy omegas.
Q: Why do horses need omega fatty acids?
A: Every cell in your horse’s body contains a balance of essential Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids to function properly and ensure that your horse’s skin, joints, cardiovascular, and immune systems can perform optimally, but your horse’s body can’t make essential fatty acids. Horses evolved to graze in order to get plenty of Omega-3s, but sometimes our modern diets can fall short. Each pound of Omega Match™ Ration Balancing feed provides a similar amount of Omega-3 fatty acids as two hours of grazing on fresh pasture.
Q: What are some of the key ingredients in the Omega Match™ Ration Balancing feed that help to fill nutritional gaps?
A: Omega Match™ Ration Balancing feed is high in Omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, high-quality protein, and individual amino acids. Plus, we formulated it with natural source vitamin E and biotin to support hoof growth and repair. Just as exciting as what’s in it, is what it is formulated without. There is no soy, alfalfa, corn, wheat or molasses, making it a great choice for horses with sensitivities to these ingredients.
Q: Does Omega Match™ Ration Balancing feed offer benefits to horses that do have access to fresh pasture?
A: Yes, those horses will benefit, since they still need a balanced source of nutrients to complement forage and fill in gaps in protein, vitamin and mineral content. Also, the additional omegas, biotin, vitamin E, and Outlast® gastric support supplement will benefit any horse.
Q: How does the Ahiflower® Oil supplement compare to other Omega supplements on the market?
A: Not only does Ahiflower oil deliver more Omega-3s per ounce than other plant oil sources, but it is also unique among plants in its fatty acid profile. It is rich in stearidonic acid (SDA), which is efficiently converted to beneficial eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), normally only found in fish oil. Ahiflower oil also has a higher palatability compared to fish-derived Omega-3 products. Nature didn’t intend for your horses to eat fish, but they love the taste of Ahiflower oil!
Q: Can Omega Match™ Ration Balancing feed completely replace fresh pasture in a horse’s diet?
A: This ratio balancer can be used as the sole concentrate for your horse, or in conjunction with other feeding programs as a supplemental source of omega fatty acids. It does not replace the fiber of pasture, so it is meant to be fed with hay. But for horses who don’t get out on green grass, this product provides them with the nutritional benefits they are missing out on.
Interested in adding Purina® Omega Match™ products to your horse’s diet? Visit Purina’s website here for more information.