A “grossly overweight” horse suffering from laminitis has lost more than a quarter of his bodyweight following his rescue. Gelding weighed in at more than 100kg heavier than he should have been when he was taken in by Redwings Horse Sanctuary. A vet described him as “grossly overweight” and estimated it would have taken several months for the horse to have reached this state.

When John arrived in the charity’s care he was put on box rest, but as his condition improved, he was able to be turned out in a woodchip paddock with a shelter. Although he made use of the opportunity to exercise, staff said he showed little interest in the horses in neighbouring paddocks.

Over 14 months John lost more than a quarter of his original body weight. Luke looks after John on a regular basis at one of Redwings’ sites and has seen how weight loss has helped transform John’s behaviour:

“John spends a lot of his day with his best friend, Garde,” he said. “They are currently being turned out on woodchip paddock and can be quite playful. It’s good to see because John wasn’t used to any type of herd environment and it shows just how much happier he is these days, both with other horses and with people.”

Now 12-year-old John’s laminitis has been brought under control thanks to a carefully monitored diet. His front feet are now shod, to support the structures in his hooves.

“Since his time at the Sanctuary, we have steadily helped him return to a healthy weight, which involved losing 124kg in unnecessary fat,” said Nic de Brauwere, Redwings’ Head of Welfare and Behaviour. “This equates to him carrying 27 per cent more weight than his optimal healthy weight. This was done with John’s mental well-being carefully considered with our team making huge and creative efforts to ensure he was kept occupied and had plenty to eat whilst still losing weight.

“This once unhappy, frustrated and tetchy individual is now a much more relaxed, active and engaging horse.”

John will stay in the safety of Redwings Horse Sanctuary for the rest of his life.

Have you heard about Your Horse’s #FitNotFat campaign, which is supported by Dodson & Horrell? Equine obesity is an enormous welfare problem and we’re on a mission to provide owners and riders with the knowledge, skills and information you need to keep your horse in tip-top health. It could be life-saving! Find out more

To Support John’s Appeal and help more horses secure a safe future, click here

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