Omega 3 to Omega 6 Ratio for Horses

Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids are both essential to your horse’s diet because they support everything from individual cellular health to your horse’s overall well-being. Though your horse needs both types, maintaining the correct balance between the two is critical. Because omega 3s support an anti-inflammatory response and omega 6s support a pro-inflammatory response, it’s generally recommended that your horse have two to four times more omega 3s than omega 6s.

Unfortunately, the typical diet of a modern horse can make achieving that balance challenging. Fresh grass contains omega 3 fatty acids, but most horse owners turn to hay because year-round quality pasture is hard to come by or because their horses are easy keepers who can’t be on pasture. In addition, many horse owners feed grain because it’s considered a traditional horse feed or to provide extra calories.

This can be problematic because, as you can see from the omega 3 to omega 6 ratios of common feedstuffs pictured here, the combination of a low-pasture, high-grain diet can lead to an imbalance in the omega 3 to omega 6 ratio that sets the horse up for a chronic state of inflammation.


Yet another reason fresh grass is an ideal food source!

Little to no omega 3s and omega 6s–hay doesn’t contribute either way.


High in omega 6s, can contribute to a pro-inflammatory state.

Even higher in omega 6s, even more pro-inflammatory.

Supplemental Ingredients

Numbers like this are the reason that SmartPakers have banished corn oil from our barns. While it may put a nice shine on your horse’s coat, it’s not worth the heavy omega 6 load, especially when there are much healthier ways to support a gleaming coat!

Right on the ideal ratio, flax is a great ingredient to look for in skin & coat supplements.

Virtually all omega 3s — while fish may not be a natural part of a horse’s diet, their oil can be a shine-booster when it’s added to skin & coat or general wellness supplements.

Add more omega 3s to your horse’s diet
A daily supplement like SmartOmega 3 & E Ultra is an easy way to provide high levels of omega 3s from flaxseed and fish oil so your horse’s good health can shine through.