Being overweight is one of the most serious problems a horse can have, as along with colic it causes the most equine fatalities of any equine disease in the UK, even though it is 100% preventable. www.bluecross.org.uk
Equine obesity can lead to a number or health, development, performance and behavioral problems, such as Laminitis, Hyperlipaemia (high cholesterol), Arthritis, Respiratory disease, Heart disease, Reproduction issues and Lipomas are to name a few.
What can you do to tackle your horse’s weight gain :-
• Limit access to grazing.
• Reducing hay intake – soaking hay reduces the calorie content yet maintains the important fibre intake – when hay is soaked overnight the calorie content is reduced significantly.
• Use measures to aid slow feed intake – smaller holed hay nets, multiple hay nets, feed balls.
• Use smaller feed bowls and scoops.
• Weigh your horse’s feeds to ensure feed intake is accurate for each individual horse.
• Feed little and often.
• Don’t over rug your horse – this will then encourage your horse to use its own calories to keep itself warm.
• Remember every horse has different dietary needs.
Prevention is always better than a cure!
Body condition scoring your horse is a useful tool in monitoring your horse’s weight and is also a good visual assessment of a horse’s body condition. Visit www.bluecross.org.uk to learn how to body condition score your horse.