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An overweight horse is considered unhealthy. They’re at a greater risk for laminitis, stressed-related conditions, arthritis, among other things. Ponies and certain breeds of horses are more prone to obesity. As their owner, it can be difficult to manage these easy keepers. They seem to love to eat!
Tips for Overweight Horses
Unfortunately, most people are told to limit or greatly reduce their overweight horse’s food. The problem with this idea is the body releases cortisol (a stress hormone) when food isn’t unconsumed in a few hours. This leads to increased insulin, and thus more fat storage. It’s a vicious cycle! Your horse is a natural grazer, so this model doesn’t work. Try these ideas instead!
- No treats, grain, or sweet feed
- Ample exercise
- A track system like the Paddock Paradise one
- Testing hay
- Soaking hay
- Muzzles for turnout
- Turning out during safer hours
These are just a few ideas to keep your plush horse happy and content. They can still eat throughout the day, but it has to be managed.