Spillers is inviting owners of overweight horses and ponies to join its new Slimmers’ Club for support, advice and encouragement to help keep their horse or pony at a healthy weight.
The initiative is supported by Redwings Horse Sanctuary, who hope it will help people recognise that an overweight horse can be as much of a welfare risk as an underweight one.
Obesity is a major welfare issue for horses and ponies, not only because of the direct weight-associated effects, but also due to the increased risk it poses for certain clinical conditions, in particular laminitis.
Other health and welfare implications include increased joint strain, respiratory stress, heat intolerance, an increase in chronic low-grade inflammation in senior horses and reduced fertility.
The Slimmers’ Club provides horse owners with invaluable 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 will also receive access to a dedicated Facebook group where they can share their horse’s progress and tips with other owners, as well as post questions for Spillers’ nutritionists to answer.
“Some horse and ponies simply appear to get fat on thin air,” said Clare Barfoot RNutr, marketing and research and development director at Mars Horsecare UK, home of the Spillers brand.
“Reduced exercise and less rigorous management regimes due to Covid-19 restrictions haven’t helped and we are perhaps becoming guilty of normalising overweight horses. We all need to work together to tackle the problem, for the future health and welfare of our horses and we hope our Slimmers’ Club will help achieve exactly that.”
More rescued equines arrive overweight
To celebrate the launch of the campaign, Spillers has donated £500 to Redwings.
The charity will be sharing literature with all those taking on a Redwings horse or pony as well as sharing tips and answering practical management questions in the Slimmers’ Facebook group.
Nicola Knight, head of communications and campaigns at Redwings, said: “For almost 20 years, we have worked closely with Spillers to help raise awareness and support horse owners on a range of health and wellbeing issues.
“The Slimmers campaign is just as close to our hearts as we see more and more equines arrive at the sanctuary requiring veterinary attention for conditions that could have been prevented with proper weight management.
“With a herd of 1,500 rescued horses, ponies, donkeys and mules, we also live the day-to-day challenges of pasture management and helping our residents maintain healthy weights throughout the changing seasons, while tending to their individual and specialist needs.
“We look forward to sharing our experiences through this latest exciting partnership.”
Join the Slimmers’ Club here.