Items

Forums
Preventing Equine Obesity
 By Winniefield Park   •   25th Aug 2018   •   447 views   •   0 comments


Is your horse carrying a little too much weight, or maybe even much too much weight? Horses that are overweight are more likely to suffer health problems than horses that are on the lean side. Generally, you want to be able to feel, but not quite see your horseís ribs. There shouldnít be fat pads on either side of the tail head, withers or top of the neck. There should be no furrow down the horseís back, or dimples anywhere. These are all signs a horse is just too fat. If we donít take action, our horses can become prone to laminitis, insulin resistance or equine metabolic syndrome, fatty tumours, problems with breeding, and problems when working, especially in the heat.

Just like humans, when a horse eats more calories than it expends, itís going to put on weight. So, restricting calories and providing more exercise are key to taking that weight off again. And just like putting yourself on a diet, it means you may have to make a few changes.

Diet Paddock
In my past, Iíve tried putting horses in a Ďdiet paddockí to prevent them from eating too much. Apparently this isnít terribly effective. Horses that are denied food and then let back at a round bale or good pasture will just make up for lost time eating. The time they would normally spend napping or hanging out with pasture mates will be spent eating. So, you might find your horse isnít really losing weight even if you do try to keep it away from food sources.

Restrict Feed
For a horseís stomach to stay healthy, it needs to be constantly eating small amounts over the course of a day. But that doesnít mean it should have its head stuck in a rich round bale, or lush pasture all the time. Horses didnít evolve to eat rich pasture all the time. Rather, they ate fibrous grasses from less than lush pastures. And, they travelled miles a day to do this. Our horses are often out on good pasture, and if the pasture isnít great, we supplement with hay and concentrates. It isnít unusual to over feed. AFter all, we feel like we need to take very good care of our horses, and this a way to do that.

So restricting feed might mean feeding flakes of hay frequently throughout the day, holding back on concentrates, or changing to a blend thatís not going to contribute to weight gain, and saving that super rich hay for the horses that are in foal or lactating or working hard.

Hard Work
Race and performance horses work hard, and can take in a lot more calories than pasture potatoes. If you decide to put your Ďtaterí on a work schedule, ramp up slowly. You donít want to cause problems related to overwork. Even some exercise is better than nothing though.

Grazing Muzzles
Another way to slow a horse down whether on pasture or free choice hay is using a grazing muzzle. A grazing muzzle allows a horse to nibble at forage, without being able to grab great mouthfuls and wolf it down. And, being able to graze through the muzzle allows the horse to spend its time naturally, doing what nature programmed it to do. A muzzled horse will be able to stay with its herd mates, which is good for its mental health. You may find that you only need to keep your horse wearing the muzzle when the grass is growing quickly in the spring, during rainy times or in the fall. In the winter, the horse might not need it at all.

There are some downsides of using a grazing muzzle. Some horses are clever about rubbing them off, so they need to be fitted right. Like a halter, muzzles can become a hazard if they tangle on anything. Uneven front tooth wear can occur. They can cause chaffing. And, other horses may pull on and damage the muzzle. You canít just put one on and forget it, especially if your horse is reluctant to drink through it. A horse should have a few hours every day, without the muzzle. Some horses might not accept a muzzle. If you use one, it needs to be checked frequently.

Itís can seem harder to take and keep weight off a horse. And, it isnít as satisfying as feeding one up. But, for your horseís health, itís every bit as important.
Horse News More In This Category:  Care and Grooming      Horse News More From This Author:  Winniefield Park
 More News by Winniefield Park
The White Sands Horse Rescue Operation
19th Aug 2019   |   Care and Grooming   |   Winniefield Park
25 years ago, Dr. Don Hoglund led a roundup that saved the lives of about 1800 wild horses. Hoglund is best known for his wild horse training methods and prison inmate programs. But, he claims, the highlight of his career is the r ...
U.S. Olympic Dressage Rider Charged with Attempted Murder
18th Aug 2019   |   Care and Grooming   |   Winniefield Park
A U.S. Olympic dressage rider has been charged with attempted murder. Michael Barisone, who rode with the the U.S. team in the 2012 Beijing Olympics shot, 38 year old equestrian Lauren Kanarek. Kanarek and her fiance were tenants ...
Capture Every Hoofbeat with Equilab Equestrian Tracking
17th Aug 2019   |   Care and Grooming   |   Winniefield Park
With Equilab tracking itís possible to watch the progress of a horse and rider in real time, and see at what speed they are traveling. The maps can be viewed much like Google maps, either in satellite or map view. At the end of a ...
Listening To The Horse Documentary
11th Aug 2019   |   Care and Grooming   |   Winniefield Park
Created in 2018, the documentary series Listening to the Horse is designed to help you develop a better understanding of your horse and improve your relationship whether in the saddle or on the ground. Featured are over 70 well kn ...
Tennessee Walking Horse Community Concerned Over New Legislation
10th Aug 2019   |   Care and Grooming   |   Winniefield Park
Members of the Tennessee Walking Horse community are concerned that a passing of a bill before the U.S. congress would be detrimental to their industry. PAST or Prevent All Soring Tactics would amend previous legislation and chang ...
Jessica Springsteen is The Boss
5th Aug 2019   |   Care and Grooming   |   Winniefield Park
Equestrian Jessica Springsteen currently ranks 6th according to the USED and this puts her in place to vie for a 2020 Olympic spot. Jessica Rae Springsteen is 27 and has ridden since she was four. Her family has owned several eque ...
Explore Inside Your Horse With Equine 3D Anatomy App
3rd Aug 2019   |   Care and Grooming   |   Winniefield Park
When we admire a horse we might not consider what lies beneath the stunning exterior. Mobile Apps, creators of the Real Bodywork apps have created an easy way to look inside a horse with a simple, but informative mobile and Window ...
Chuckwagon Racing Under Review
2nd Aug 2019   |   Care and Grooming   |   Winniefield Park
After six horses died during chuckwagon racing at this yearís Calgary Stampede the sport is under scrutiny. July 14, three horses on the same team were euthanized after sustaining irreparable injuries. After one horse broke a hind ...
  View All News by Winniefield Park
 
©2002 - 2019   PonyBox LLC Create Account Terms & Conditions Privacy Contact Us
444 Members Online 249,763 Registered Members 2,604 News Articles 10,959,569 Unique News Article Views 254,894,734 Website Views