Redwings Horse Sanctuary has reminded owners of the importance of monitoring their horse’s body condition to help them maintain the ideal weight.

The call to action comes after the charity received a £5,000 boost through Spillers’ equine Slimmers Club. Kilos lost were converted into pounds and donated to the good cause.

Nicola Jarvis, Head of Veterinary Services at Redwings, said: “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.

“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.”

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 by 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 senior horses and reduced fertility.

Lynn Cutress, Chief Executive of Redwings, added that the donation was a “fantastic” way to start 2023.

“We are very grateful to Spillers for supporting us through this important campaign,” she said.

“Redwings is a charity 100% funded by donations, and we could not do the work we do, caring for over 1,500 rescued horses, ponies, donkeys and mules every day and rescuing hundreds more, without donations like this.”

To sign up to the Spillers Slimmers’ Club, click here.

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