The energy or calorie requirement of the horse is one of the most commonly analyzed factors of performance. Horses that compete in energy-oriented competitions need the proper amount of fuel to perform at their best, whether it is racing, eventing, or endurance riding. Often times when the topic of energy sources comes up, carbohydrates are considered the main source of energy. While carbohydrates play an important role in the production of energy, other sources, such as fat, should not be ignored.

Fat as an Energy Source


When compared to carbohydrates, fats produce two and a half times the energy yield and help reduce soluble carbohydrate in the horse’s diet. Horses are also better at digesting fats than sugars and starches. As discussed in the article Tips on Feeding the Finicky Thin Horse, by Heather Thomas, equine nutritionist Dr. Amy Gill explains that “fat is digested, absorbed and readily available as an energy source—and does not cause any disruption of the hindgut, like grain can do. Horses are very good at digesting fat whereas they are terrible at metabolizing sugar. Fat utilization is superior to that of starches”.

Palm Fat as an Energy Source – Equi-Palm™


Palm fat is a palatable vegetarian source of fat. Palm fat is also unique, as it supplies medium-chain fatty acid’s (MCFA) that can be used by the horse directly as an energy source. MCFA’s are transported directly to the liver where they become available as an immediate energy source and are not stored as fat in the body. MCFA’s are also used preferentially as an energy source during exercise and can help prevent fatigue in the exercising horse by sparing the use of glycogen.

Equi-Palm™ is a high calorie fat supplement formulated with palm fatty acids. Because Equi-Palm contains medium chain fatty acids it helps to prevent horses from burning muscle as an energy source when caloric requirements are high. The benefits of Equi-Palm™ include:
  • An excellent source of calories and energy for horses that are resistant to starches and sugars
  • A “direct” energy source for high intensity exercise
  • Helps spare the use of glycogen stored in muscle
  • Does not disturb hindgut bacteria during digestion
  • Helps lead to an increase in weight gain by preventing the use of muscle cells as an energy source during intense exercise and competition
  • Excellent for horses in training, sales prep, pregnant and lactating mares

If you are interested in incorporating a fat supplement in your horse’s diet, be sure to keep in mind the benefits of Equi-Palm™. If you are unsure if a fat supplement would be beneficial to your horse’s feeding program, please contact Dr. Amy M. Gill at 859-967-3307.