How to prevent your horse becoming overweight
Equine obesity is a problem for many horse owners. It’s best that these animals remain physically active, or they soon pay the price of allowing their food intake to outweigh the amount of exercise they do.
Read on to find out why your horse is gaining weight and how you should act to ensure that they keep in shape.
Why horses get overweight
If your riding companion isn’t getting enough physical activity but is continuing to overeat, they’re going to become an overweight horse soon enough! Because horses usually have constant access to food, such as grass and hay, they spend a lot of their time eating throughout the day. This makes it very difficult for owners to monitor their food intake.
Leisure horses are most prone to weight gain and have the ability to live off a diet lacking fibre, but this doesn’t mean that other types of horses are safe from piling on the pounds.
What’s the ideal horse weight?
A horse’s weight can vary between breeds.
All types of horses require different amounts of exercise and nutritional intake. Some breeds are more muscular than others, and for athletic horses, muscle makes up around half of their body weight, however, in less-active horses, muscle can still account for a lot of their overall weight.
Smaller horses, which include ponies and miniature horses, can weigh as little as 300kg on average, whilst larger breeds such as Draughts or Thoroughbreds tend to weigh around 800kg. If you’re concerned that your animal exceeds its ideal horse weight, you should speak to your vet for advice.
How to maintain your horse’s weight
As an owner, you can play a key part in helping your horse maintain a healthy weight. Consider the following:
It’s recommended that the average horse gets between 30 and 60 minutes’ exercise four times per week. If you’re unable to ride them this regularly, it’s essential that you employ someone else to do this.
However, you should never overwork your horse, as seven consecutive days of exercise can have a negative impact on their health.
By weighing your horse consistently, you’re going to be right on top of any fluctuation that occurs with your animal’s weight.
If you feel powerless over your horse’s eating habits, try to introduce a low-calorie diet for them. Low-calorie horse feeds are designed for weight management and contain low levels of starch and sugar. They also have a good level of protein within them that helps horses maintain their muscle functionality.
Horses with a poor diet are more prone to laminitis, a condition that affects the tissues in the hooves. It occurs when the lamina within the hoof is weakened due to physical issues and can eventually leave your horse crippled.
Keeping your equine healthy is your main concern as an owner and hopefully, you can now help your overweight horse with its weight battle. By investing in horse insurance, you can be covered in case your horse experiences any health issues.
Continue to follow the tips above to ensure that your pet’s health doesn’t deteriorate due to overeating.