Is my horse getting fat?

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As we live in a society of over-eating and poor diets with statistics showing that one third of all children are overweight it looks like the trend is spreading to our horses with up to 30% carrying too much fat.

Back in 1994 studies by Warwickshire College showed that there was generally about 10% of horses which were overweight.

Horses tend to eat constantly and generally do not get the sort of exercise they need and invariably consume more calories than they burn leading to a gradual weight gain. This gradual change is often not noticed and is deemed normal so no action is taken to remedy the situation until further problems present themselves.

Obesity in horses can lead to conditions such as Laminitis, Equine Metabolic Syndrome and Cushings Disease.

Horses should have a fat condition score which will determine what level they are at and what needs to be done as to ensure the animal remains fit and healthy.

Losing weight needs to be done carefully and over time to ensure it does not cause unnecessary risk to the animal. You must ensure that the animal is getting the correct amount of exercise it requires and it is eating a healthy and balanced diet. Food rationing should be by no more than 10% in a 10 day period. Monitoring of the weight can best be achieved by the use of a weight tape.

It should be placed on the lowest point of the withers passing around the horse and as close to the elbow as possible. It should be pulled firm around the body but not to the extent that it dents the skin.

Your horse should be fed on a diet that is high in fibre and low in fat/energy and also receive plenty of water which will aid its digestive system. If you have more than one horse, it should feed away from the other horses as it will have a tendency to eat the other horse’s food.

Following these tips should ensure that your horse stays fit and healthy, protect your horse from unexpected illness with insurance from www.horse-insurance.co.uk or call 03300 241 580.

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