Overweight/Good doers

Equine obesity is a growing issue amongst our horses and has reported as being the ‘norm’ in the UK and other countries. There are also certain breeds of horses or ‘types’ who are predisposed to gaining weight on very little, such as our much-loved Cobs. This poses a big problem for our horses, as by nature they are trickle feeding herbivores designed to graze and chew for 16-18 hours/day. This system worked well for the equine species when it roamed the fibrous plains or evolved in places such as the Iberian Peninsula where land and grazing was mostly dry foliage, high in fibre and low in sugar and calories.

When horses with efficient metabolism – know as’ good doers’ are housed on sugar laden grass or quality hay, they gain weight which not only poses a practical problem for the owner, but can lead to other diseases such as Laminitis, Insulin Resistance (IR), Equine Metabolic Syndrome, (EMS), Leptin Resistance (LR), and more.

Restricting feed and calorie intake seems the obvious solution, but this can cause physiological problems for a species designed to chew on an almost continuous basis. Chewing stimulates saliva production, which acts as a buffer to gastric acid and prevents ulceration occurring. This dilemma means that forage restriction is not an option for the horse, but calorie restriction is crucial to prevent metabolic disease. Restricting the feed portion of the diet is not a good option either (unless it is cereal based), as these vital nutrients are needed to compensate for deficiencies in grazing and hay and supply balanced nutrition. On this basis, we recommend that TOTAL horses are fed a minimum of 1.5kgs /day.

Our aim is healthy horses, however we understand that many horses have weight issues due to sugar laden grass/hay, so with this in mind we researched and found a slow feeder for hay, endorsed by vets and dentists which mimics the horse’s natural grazing behaviour, to satisfy both physiological and psychological needs.

For more information on how this can help, not only your good-doer but all your horses, both inside and outside – click here.