Advice 2800 x 1000_0008_Right weight

Is your horse the right weight?

Is your horse the right weight? Are you struggling with a good doer? Learn how to assess your horse’s condition and find practical tips for weight management.

Is your horse the right weight? Are you struggling with a good doer? Learn how to assess your horse’s condition and find practical tips for weight 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.

You can also download our Right Weight leaflet, with a fat scoring guide, and download our Right Weight Podcast at the bottom of the page.

Ten Top Tips 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.

Remember you can always call our Advice Line on +44 (0)1953 497 238.


How to know if your horse is. the right weight
Is your horse the Right Weight?

Download our Right Weight leaflet for helpful tips on managing your horse’s weight, including a fat scoring guide

Fat scoring podcast
World Horse Welfare Fat Scoring Podcast

Equine Obesity
Equine obesity

Those interested in more detail may also like to read this research into equine obesity (please note this document contains images of dissected tissue).

Need insurance for you and your horse? Take a look at our...

World Horse Welfare


Membership with Veterinary

  • Veterinary Fee Insurance for accidental injury cover for your horse up to £1,500.*
  • Public Liability Insurance to the value of £10 million.*
  • £10,000 Personal Accident Cover.*

* Terms, Conditions and Territorial limits apply.

Peace of mind for only £130 a year - call our membership team on 01953 497 270

Our lines are open Monday to Friday from 8:30am to 5:00pm.

Get our latest news and rescue stories
Follow our story on social networks