Weight loss. This is a really important issue at this time of year. We are half way through winter and those horses who are still carrying excess weight from the summer and unseasonably warm autumn/winter really need to lose the weight before the spring grass comes through with a vengeance. If horses get to spring slightly underweight they are less likely to have issues with conditions such as lameness and laminitis.

The importance of losing this weight: An animal’s regulation of insulin is controlled by lots of factors but one of the most important ones that can affect the effectiveness of insulin is how fat it is. Fat depresses the effectiveness of insulin on the cells in the body which leads to complications such as EMS and Laminitis, alongside lameness due to being too heavy for their legs to carry them and you on a daily basis. It can also aid the development of conditions such as arthritis, due to the weight of the animal and the job you are asking it to do.

Ways to help with weight loss:

  • Clip them out
  • Use a rain sheet or no fill rug when out is a good way to shiver the excess kilo’s off.
  • Replacing haylage with soaked hay (soaked for a minimum of 12 hours) means that they are eating a forage that is low in sugar but high in fibre
  • Feeding speedibeet (soaked) to fill their tummy’s before they get access to grass or hay helps to reduced gorging
  • Reducing the treats they are given. All horses like treats but even small amounts of these can add to their waistline
  • Exercise them as much as possible – anything that increases the heart rate will also increase their metabolism which in turn will help with weight loss
  • Levothyroxine – this drug can be used as an aid to weight loss. For more information as to whether it would be beneficial to your horse please contact us at the office on 01782 898102.