The specialty oil manufacturer Natures Crops International has signed an exclusive US supply agreement with Purina Animal Nutrition for Ahiflower oil in nutritional supplements for horses.
Andrew Hebard, CEO of Natures Crops, said that not only is providing herbal ingredients that are science backed, traced back to their farms of origin, and regeneratively grown, but it is fast becoming a requirement.
The fatty acid composition of Ahiflower oil includes omega-3-SDA and omega-6-GLA values as well as a total content of polyunsaturated fatty acids of 85%. Through research conducted by Dr. Robert Jacobs found that Ahiflower Oil has high palatability and an ability to better match the omega nutritional effects of pasture grasses in horses. The team’s first results were recently published in the Journal of Equine Veterinary Science.
According to Purina’s product development team, Ahiflower fills an important gap for horses that do not have regular access to fresh pasture, hence the name “OmegaMatch”.
“Extensive studies have now shown that horses are able to absorb the specific vegetable omegas in Ahiflower Oil and metabolize them to a long-chain, highly unsaturated fatty acid such as EPA. Through the process of metabolizing EPA (as opposed to ingesting preformed fish oils), horses receive extensive benefits from the omega fatty acid supplement that supports joint, cardiovascular, skin, respiratory and reproductive health, muscles and supports the immune function, ”explains Hebard.
“Like humans, horses can often meet their nutritional needs without nutritional supplements if they have adequate access to complete, balanced, plant-based omega sources. However, where there are dietary restrictions, such as: For example, if there is insufficient quality or quantity of grazing, or there are certain health goals that horse owners are trying to achieve, balanced omega supplementation can be very beneficial. In these cases, you want to give your horse the best product we believe is ahiflower. Purina called the line “OmegaMatch” for a reason. Your independent equine science confirms that Ahiflower Oil best matches certain omega intakes and ratios obtained from pasture grasses. “
The oil also solves the palatability problem horses have with non-vegetable sources of protein.
“There is a strong reluctance to supplement horses with fish oil, and horses really don’t like the palatability of fish oil. Hence, a plant-based, sustainable, traceable, and great-tasting alternative that is showing great results has brought sales to a very strong development, ”noted Hebard.
Bill Bookout, president and founder of the National Animal Supplement Council, echoed a similar opinion, stating that plant-based sources of protein are much more common in horses than other animals because horses are naturally vegetarians.
Bookout added that dog and cat products tend to follow human trends, but horses are not that fast a segment.
“You are talking about a 1,000 pound animal that is far larger in consumption than any pets or humans, and there are some ingredients that just get too expensive to include in a horse product. CoQ10, for example, is not as popular because of its cost. However, this doesn’t apply to other ingredients like hyaluronic acid, other joint support ingredients, or something for the hooves like biotin. In some areas horse owners are willing to pay the price for products that provide meaningful amounts of high quality ingredients, ”said Bookout.
The OmegaMatch Ahiflower Oil product launched in April 2021 has surpassed Purina’s early sales forecasts.
“OmegaMatch Ahiflower Oil is available nationwide and offers horse owners important benefits in all horse disciplines, from dressage, eventing and jumping to western performance, endurance and riding as well as recreational riding. We believe that Ahiflower Oil is the most complete and balanced “multi-omega” from a regenerative plant source. We are very excited about the overwhelmingly positive response from horse owners as Purina is helping to raise awareness of the vast benefits of Ahiflower supplementation in horses, ”said Hebard.