Soybeans and Flaxseed: Amazing “Cool Energy” Feedstuffs

Soybeans have gotten a bad rep in the horse world. However, they are a great “cool” feedstuff for your horse. Soybeans, when processed and fed correctly, are a great source of protein and fat for your horse. They are also a great source of phosphorus, low in fiber, and are highly digestible. To get the most benefit for your horse, consider what type of soy you are feeding your horse. For the greatest benefit to your horse, make sure you are feeding full-fat extruded soybeans.

soybeans and flaxseed 2

Extruded Soybeans

Extruded soybeans provide an excellent balance of essential amino acids, and are high in lysine (the first limiting amino acid for horses). Horse Guard Inc. uses only full-fat extruded soybeans in our soybean-based products. The feedstuff provides your horse with high levels of protein and fat, approximately 35% protein and 20% fat. Do not attempt to feed your horse raw soybeans. Processing is needed to denature urease and trypsin inhibitor, which act as anti-nutritional components. The extrusion process also breaks down the primary bond holding the chain of amino acids together making them more easily digestible to the horse.

The process of extrusion increases digestibility by as much as 30% compared to pelleted products, and as much as 40% compared to whole grains. Extruded feeds also encourage chewing, which in turn increases saliva production. Saliva contains buffers which are essential for preventing gastric ulcers.

Soybean Meal

A less desirable soybean product for horses is soybean meal. Soybean meal is the most common form of soy used in horse feeds. Soybean “meal” is a by-product of soybean oil extraction. In order to extract the oil one of two processes is used; pressure or solvent extracted. Solvent extracted is the most common extraction process to create soybean meal, which can leave chemical residues behind. The feed is high in protein but the energy from the fat of the oil has been reduced down to approximately 5%.

Other Forms of Soybeans

Other forms of soybeans that can be fed to horses are roasted soybeans, micronized soybeans, soybean flour, and soybean flakes. Although much less common than extruded soybeans or soybean meal, these are high-quality feedstuffs that are high in protein and fat.

Flaxseedsoybeans and flaxseed 1

Another “cool” energy feedstuff is flaxseed (also known as linseed). While whole flaxseeds can be fed to horses, the process of grinding flaxseed breaks the hard shell open, allowing your horse to get more nutritional value. Stabilized ground flaxseed is high in protein and fat, approximately 36% and 40%, respectively. The fat from ground flaxseed is also high in omega-3 fatty acids, providing anti-inflammatory properties. Flaxseed meal has had the oil extracted either from pressure. Flaxseed meal contains 30-36% crude protein. It is important to note that flaxseed, in any form, although high in many amino acids is low in lysine. Therefore, flaxseed should not be fed as the only protein supplement for horses. It is best to pair it with a feedstuff that is high in lysine, such as full fat extruded soybeans.

Horse Guard Inc. has now reformulated the line of Simplete products to provide the benefits from both full-fat extruded soybeans and stabilized ground flaxseed meal. The reformulation makes Simplete Essentials a great ration balancer, with a full dose of Horse Guard, rolled oats, extruded soybeans, stabilized ground flaxseed meal, and flaxseed oil. Simplete Senior and Simplete Hi-Performance have added joint support and other perks.  Simplete now has even more omega-3 fatty acids. By feeding only 2 pounds you will ensure your horse is getting all the trace minerals and vitamins your horse needs. Your horse will love it!

About Dr. Kelsey J. Nonella Ph.D., P.A.S.

Kelsey J. Nonella, Ph.D. is an equine nutritionist who was riding horses before she could walk. Her love for horses drives her to help educate people on what their horses’ needs in order to have happy, healthy horses. Kelsey went to Cal Poly receiving a Bachelor’s of Science in Animal Science and then onto West Texas A&M, where she got her Masters and eventually her Doctorates in Equine Science. At A&M, Dr. Nonella did extensive research on Selenium within horses. Click here to view her research. Kelsey’s colleagues have mentioned her as one of the United States equine Selenium experts.
View all posts by Dr. Kelsey J. Nonella Ph.D., P.A.S.

8 Responses to “Soybeans and Flaxseed: Amazing “Cool Energy” Feedstuffs”

  1. Majed says:

    Doctor, can I ask a question?
    Are flaxseeds, pomegranate peels, cichlids, nigella seeds, guava, fenugreek, garlic and soybeans .crushed and with a quarter cup added to it with a meal (barley) for the horse Does it harm the horse? Will it affect his stallion?

    • mm Dr. Kelsey J. Nonella Ph.D., P.A.S. says:


      Thank you for the question. The soybeans must be roasted or extruded to in order denature enzymes that are anti-nutritional. Simply crushing raw soybeans could cause issues. Pomegranate peels, nigella seeds, guava, fenugreek, and garlic are all safe to feed. I am not familiar with feeding cichlids to horses. I hope this is helpful.

  2. Kari Carver says:

    would you recommend simplete performance for a horse that needs help with gaining muscle?

    • mm Dr. Kelsey J. Nonella Ph.D., P.A.S. says:

      Thank you for the question. Yes, the full-fat extruded soybeans and flaxseed in Simplete will help build muscle.

      Let me know if I can answer anymore questions.

  3. Kim says:

    So you can feed simplete senior to a 18 year old and 10 year old?

    • mm Dr. Kelsey J. Nonella Ph.D., P.A.S. says:


      Thank you for the question. Yes, you can feed Simplete Senior to both your 18 year old and 10 year. I think you will really like it. Let me know if I can answer anymore questions.

  4. Yvonne Morales says:

    Where can I buy extruded soybean?

    • mm Dr. Kelsey J. Nonella Ph.D., P.A.S. says:

      You can buy Glow on our website in 40 lb bags and 10 lb bags. Glow is 50% extruded soybeans and 50% flaxseed cake.

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