2018-04-11  facebooktwitterrss

Helping Your Horse to Lose Weight

For some horse owners, you may take a look at your equine friend one day and notice that they’re a little tubbier than usual. If you go on regular rides with them, or they even compete in competitions this is definitely not the outcome you want to be faced with so you’ll want to get them back down to their optimal weight.

Here’s our helpful tips for getting your horses weight under control.

Record your progress
If you want to lose weight yourself, it goes without saying that you’ll record your progress to see how far along you’ve come, right? So why wouldn’t you do the same for your horse? Taking pictures in regular intervals (per week) and comparing that with a log of what activities and food your horse has undertaken will be a good indication of how their progress is shaping up.

body condition scoring tool

body condition scoring tool

While you can’t stick your horse on the bathroom scales to get a gauge of their weight, there are ways and means of estimating.

Alter their turnout times
A lesser known fact about letting your horse graze of a night is that there is far less sugar in the field for them to chomp on – you can thank the morning dew for making the field sugary! Letting your horse out in the evenings is a great way reduce your horses sugar levels, another way to achieve this is by feeding them fake hay which can also come with minimal sugar.

Focus of their nutrition

The idea that simply restricting their food will get them back to their level best is in fact damaging to the health of your horse and should not be pursued as the only option. Alter their diet, yes, but certainly don’t cut down their food without careful consideration to the nutrition that your horse will need.

Total forage intake should not be restricted for less than 15 grams of forage per kilogram of bodyweight on your horse per day. That’s dry matter, in practice, this would equate to 18 grams of hay per kilo bodyweight, or 20 to 24 grams of haylage.

A horse feed balancer is a great way to provide your horse with much needed vitamins, minerals and quality protein without the excess calories. The feeding rate for these balancers is around 100 grams per 100 kilos grams per day.

What to do if you’ve a lazy horse
From experience, you might find that you’re doing all the right steps, but your horse has turned a bit lazy after a gluttonous few months – some mare’s do have ‘em! Encouraging your horse with some energy boosting nutrition like oats and vitamins alongside a regular exercise routine and you’ll soon see a spring in their step again.

Watch out for Hyperlipemia
Otherwise known as the ‘diet disease’, this can be dangerous to your horse if you make them lose weight too fast. When a horse suffers from malnourishment of important nutrients its body will start to feast on its own fat reserves and can cause serious problems to that horse’s metabolism. A sign your horse is suffering from this is if they stop eating or drinking – if so, consult your vet.


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