Is your horse the Right Weight?
Can you tell if your horse is the right weight? Are you struggling with a good doer? We can help you learn how to assess your horse's condition as well as providing practical tips for weight loss and management.
Watch our video (below in three sections) and read our 10 top tips beneath to find out how to manage your horse's weight
Ten Top Tops for managing your horse's weight
With so many different factors affecting your horse’s weight it’s difficult to know what you are aiming for. Here are ten easy tips to help.
1. Find out if your horse is overweight
It is impossible to tell by eye how much fat a horse is carrying and this can be surprisingly deceptive. Feel for fat in specific areas to check your horse’s condition. Watch the videos above or contact us for a free copy on DVD that will show you how to correctly fat score your horse.
2. Check your feed
Ask an expert whether you are feeding your horse appropriately. This can be very confusing, which makes it easy to feed your horse more calories than they really need. Also, try to make titbits and treats the exception rather than the rule.
3. Don’t crash diet
Horses must have a steady supply of food to keep them healthy, so you need to find ways to reduce the calories without cutting down the quantity. Our videos will give you some ideas on how to do this.
4. Control grass intake
Most leisure horses get more calories than they need from grass alone. In many cases it may be necessary to restrict their grass intake in some way, although additional vitamins and minerals will still be required. Watch our videos to find ways to cut down the amount of grass they get without stopping them from eating completely.
5. Don’t be tempted to feed for more ‘oomph’
A high energy feed is also high in calories. Feeding an overweight horse more calories won’t give it more energy for work, but it will create more fat. Think about reducing
their calorie intake so they lose weight and build up fitness to give them more energy.
6. Walk more
A brisk walk or steady trot will burn more fat than faster work such as canter. Find ways to build more walking into your horse’s day.
7. Consider if your horse really does need a rug
Remember that horses already have waterproof coats and their own central heating systems - digesting fibre generates heat and this helps to keep the horse warm from the inside out. If your horse is overweight consider whether it could go without a rug or if a lighter weight one would be more suitable.
8. Remember that every horse is different
Don’t be tempted to feed or rug your horse just because everyone else does. Consider what your horse needs and remember that it might be different to what other horses
need, even if they’re of a similar type.
9. Monitor your horse
Horses can put on weight very quickly so fat scoring and weightaping your horse fortnightly will help you spot any changes more quickly than you could by eye.
10. Log on
If you're reading this you have already followed tip number 10! Watch the videos and download our Right Weight leaflet at the top of the page. These tips are also available to download here.
Those interested in more detail may also like to read this research into equine obesity (please note this document contains images of dissected tissue).