An equine Slimmers’ Club has been launched to help horses and ponies reach a healthy weight safely. Expert guidance will be offered to owners, and as their equine loses weight, funds will be donated to Redwings Horse Sanctuary.

The unique initiative has been launched by Spillers, who have pledged to donate £5,000 to the charity as it helps more overweight horses get slimmer. It has set a goal of members’ horses collectively losing 100,000kg, and as the weight loss accumulates it will be converted to the financial donation to support Redwings’ work, which includes rescuing horses from the risks of obesity.

Being overweight can pose as much of a welfare risk as being underweight for horses, not only because of the direct weight-associated effects, but also due to the increased risks posed for certain clinical conditions, especially laminitis. Other health and welfare implications include increased joint strain, respiratory stress, heat intolerance, an increase in chronic low-grade inflammation in veteran horses and reduced fertility.

The Slimmers’ Club was launched last summer to help address the problem of equine obesity. Now, with more than 2,500 members, the club provides practical support and camaraderie for owners of overweight horses and ponies, to aid them on their weight loss journey. It provides information and advice including weight loss tips, details of how to body condition score and use a weigh tape, diet plans and weight loss records. Club members also receive access to a dedicated Facebook group where they can share their horse’s progress and tips with other owners, get inspired with success stories and post questions for Spillers nutritionists to answer.

“Our mission for this campaign is threefold,” said Spillers’ Product Manager, Sarah Nelson. “We want to use our knowledge and expertise to help owners of overweight horses and ponies achieve safe, sustainable weight loss, to raise funds to support our favourite charity Redwings and to continue to raise awareness of the need to end equine obesity for good.”

Expert collaboration

During the past two decades, Spillers and the Waltham Equine Studies Group, together with other experts in the field, have been helping to unravel the links between EMS, insulin dysregulation, obesity and laminitis.

Nicola Jarvis, Head of Veterinary Services at Redwings, said the charity was “delighted” to be working with Spillers on this initiative.

“Fat has long been regarded as just an innocent way to store excess calories, but we now know fat produces chemicals that negatively affect our horse’s metabolism and health, as it does in humans,” she said.

“By helping our horses safely reach an ideal body condition score we decrease their risk of laminitis and the agony and suffering this condition brings. At Redwings we empathise with the challenges of managing weight, especially in our cobs, Welsh ponies and Shetlands, but getting an honest opinion as to whether your horse is overweight is essential. Don’t wait for laminitis to strike before seeking advice.”

To join the SPILLERS Slimmers’ Club visit

You can view the Redwings fundraising totaliser here 

Find out what’s inside the latest issue of Your Horse

Get the latest issue

Check out our latest subscription offer