Why is equine obesity a growing problem?

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Obesity in horses is becoming a growing trend and is affecting the health of equines up and down the country. 

It's easy to let your horse's weight creep up and threaten his health. So why has this problem become so huge in the UK?

"The reasons why our horses are carrying more weight than they should are many and varied, and largely boil down to misconceptions and misunderstandings," says Dengie nutritionist Katie Williams. Here she explains the key factors:

Workload

It's a common misconception to think your horse or pony is working harder than he actually is, which means you end up feeding him more than he needs.

If you hack and school your horse five to six times a week, this is classed as light work, so be sure you know how hard your horse is really working and feed accordingly. 

Energy

Many owners fail to realise how much energy their horse's feed contains.

Half a scoop of low-energy mix will provide your horse with enough energy for 20 minutes of schooling - and if you're feeding cubes you can increase this time to 50 minutes.

Grazing 

Grazing and hay or haylage should be included in your horse's overall ration when you're working out how much to feed, not merely considered a staple.

Also be aware that grass and hay are usually the main source of sugar in most horses' diets.

Condition

Condition scoring is used to assess whether a horse or pony is at the correct weight but it's simply not done enough.

Body condition score

Here's how to do it