*Updated June 2021
- Best Trait = simple high quality ingredient for a fair price
- Worst Trait = feeding oils is messy
Consider this product if…
- Your horse suffers from auto-immune disorders such as severe allergic reactions
- Your horse’s immune system in compromised (i.e. allergies)
- You are positive that your horse’s vitamin-mineral requirements are being exceeded, but would still like to see a shinier coat for show season.
- You feed reproductive broodmares and/or stallions and you’d like to improve fertility, AND you are certain that their vitamin and mineral requirements are being met or exceeded.
Why Review this Product?
Your horses best source of omega-3 fatty acids is green grass. However, in our modern world of horse care, fewer and fewer horses have access to green grass on a regular basis leading to greater interest in high omega-3 products. Omega-3 fatty acids, namely alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), can be fed to horses in supplements with marine sources (i.e. algae or fish), plant seed oil sources (i.e. flaxseed), or mixes of both marine and plant sources.
Besides the strain on your pocketbook, there are few downsides to feeding your horse an omega-3 supplement; they won’t hurt, they could help, and they don’t have to be horribly expensive. In my opinion, the body of evidence to support their use in humans, dogs and horses is good enough. As in so many equine supplement ingredients, however, research results are mixed (frustrating I know), but I do recommend a form of omega-3 in severe allergy cases, heavy reproduction operations, and elite performance horses under very heavy stress.
The Actual Review in 5 Parts
Company Information & Communication
I was sincerely impressed by the company’s quick and thoughtful response to my questions. Within 24 hours I had heard back from their nutritionist about the manufacturing facility, research to support their claims, as well as a thoughtful response to my question “is there any situation where you would NOT recommend your product”? [In this case, allergic reaction to flaxseed oil and/or obesity and need to decrease calories.] I think it implies confidence in a product when a creator is willing to concede situations where their product may not be appropriate. Also, the nutritionist is a PhD, and has done equine nutrition research on omega-3s.
The Oregon manufacturing facility is American Feed Industry Association’s Safe Feed-Safe Food certified which I know to be a worthy regulator. HorseGuard is proud to be made in the United States, and is also proud to keep it in the family. The nutritionist is a second generation employee of the company.
As you may know by now, I find it frustrating when a supplement company fails to make make unique recommendations for size, activity level, life stage, or disease severity variations in horses. To me, it either signals laziness or a lack of research on the ingredients. Sadly, I have to give HorseGuard Flaxen Flow 2 stars for recommending 1-2 ounces per day regardless of the horse’s condition or state.
I just love the simplicity of this product. In a world of supplements where everyone is scrambling to “one up”, these guys are like “nope, we’re gonna stick to what works and not be fancy”. I also like that the flaxseed oil is cold-pressed, unfiltered, and preserved with nitrogen.
Omega-3 and omega-6 concentrations are guaranteed at 55% and 14% respectively. It’s frustrating that labeling laws insist that companies use percentages rather than actual weight values such as grams, but that’s the industry we have to live with.) That means that there are 1.1 fluid ounces (1 fluid ounce = 30 ml= 28.4 grams of oil) of omega-3 molecules in 2 fluid ounces of product. Comparatively, there are 0.28 fluid ounces or omega-6. Therefore, the ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 is roughly 4:1. That tracks accurately with published data.
HorseGuard sells a three liter bag of Flaxen Flow for $37.75 at http://www.horseguard.com/products and this is better than the $43.41 at Amazon (February 15, 2021). A three liter bag of Flaxen Flow offers 50 servings at the recommended 2 ounce dose, so that means the owner of an average horse in average work will spend $0.76 per day to feed this. I like that number. On top of that low daily cost, their was a free shipping option to get it to me in Montana.
How does that compare to purchasing whole flax at the feedstore? A bag of whole flax will cost you roughly $36 per 50 pound bag- that’s $0.72 per pound which is what you’d have to grind, mix, and feed to see similar results. So, your choice will stem more on ease of use- do you prefer pouring a liquid into your horse’s feed or do you prefer grinding flax and mixing yourself? If you have to prep your horse’s feed in baggies in a boarding situation, the ground flax may work better, but if you feed yourself or have a willing barn hand, pouring a couple ounces of oil product and mixing may be more enjoyable.
Ease of use, fair price, and simple, effective ingredients gives HorseGuard Flaxen Flow a four out of five star rating. I do with they would be more descriptive with their feeding directions, but it does match the feeding directions of other similar companies.
One potential disadvantage of all oil based products is the risk of poor palatability. I decided to purchase this product on my herd. My moderately picky mare would not eat even when masked slightly with her joint supplement, so don’t buy in bulk the first time that you purchase HorseGuard Flaxen Flow.