Adding fat to your horse’s diet is one of the quickest and least expensive ways to add calories. If you are already meeting your horse’s nutritional needs, you don’t necessarily want to feed more grain. Certainly, that’s been the case with Freedom. He is a bit of a “hard keeper” but if I feed him too much complete feed, he gets too hot to focus.
Oil is messy to feed. For many years I assiduously avoided it for that reason, preferring to feed rice bran. However, when you have a horse that is thriving on the calories provided by two cups of oil per day, it quickly becomes advantageous to find the least expensive source for fat. Over the winter, when feeding oil was a non-issue because it froze in the barn, I asked my husband to prepare a cost per calorie comparison to determine which fat source offers the biggest bang for the buck. I had just bought a bag of rice bran and was amazed by how much it cost.
Keep in mind that this comparison is only to evaluate cost per calorie. At a later date I’m planning to write about the reasons why you might — or might not — choose particular fat source based on other issues.
Here’s what he compared: Soybean oil vs. corn oil vs. rice bran vs. flax seed.
Here’s a caveat. We belong to Costco. Price clubs like Costco allow you to purchase vast quantities of products such as oil at low prices. To benefit from the price comparison that’s detailed here, you need to have a bulk source of oil. I’ve been feeding soybean oil although I also feed half a cup of flax seed per day. For Rice Bran I used the Triple Crown rice bran available from my feed store.