Welcome to the yourhorse.co.uk Right Weight Challenge
Did you know that around 80 per cent of British leisure horses are overweight?
Probably not – but that’s not your fault. It’s just that horse owners and riders are so used to seeing overweight horses they no longer recognise what a horse of the right weight should look like.
But why is an overweight horse a problem, you might think?
Well, just as obesity is a problem in the human population, it is in the equine population – only more so.
Because of the way a horse is designed, with a large body balanced on relatively tiny limbs, obesity puts a huge extra strain on the limbs, joints and ligaments, often leading to lasting damage.
There are also two main conditions linked to equine obesity that spell disaster for the horses they affect – equine metabolic syndrome and laminitis.
Equine metabolic syndrome is a condition occurring typically in overweight horses and ponies, in which the excess weight actually causes changes to the horse’s metabolism. This leads to high levels of insulin and blood sugar, which in turn may contribute to laminitis. Once acquired, the horse with Equine Metabolic Syndrome is condemned to a life of health problems requiring careful diet and lifestyle management.
Laminitis is a crippling disease of the hoof, which can lead to rotation of the main bone in the hoof – the pedal bone, and even disintegration of the hoof wall. In these severe cases the affected horse often has to be put down. If you think about how much time a horse spends on his ‘feet’ it is easy to imagine how agonising this condition must be. Laminitis caught in the earlier stages can be managed but will often become chronic, with the affected horse or pony suffering recurrent bouts.
Everyone recognises how appalling it is to allow a horse to starve – perhaps now we can start to see the damage we’re doing by killing our horses with kindness.
Click here to go to:
WHW Right Weight Project
Downloads (incl fat assessment chart)
Fat scoring video