Latest studies reveal that one in three horses and ponies is now overweight.
Dengie senior nutritionist KATIE WILLIAMS, MSc (Dist), looks at those most at risk and what we can do to help them slim down.
We meet lots of overweight horses at Dengie yard clinics, so it was no surprise to find that two recently published papers reveal that about 30% of the equine population is obese.
Although this figure is shocking, it often takes an episode of ill-health – such as laminitis – for some owners to sit up and actually do something about their horse’s weight.
In one study, Prevalence of and Risk Factors for Equine Obesity in Great Britain Based on Owner-Reported Body Condition Scores, by Charlotte Robbins, nearly 16% of horses and ponies were reported to have a history of laminitis – a much higher figure than the 7% previously shown in the 2005 BEVA (British Equine Veterinary Association) study.
3,000 Horse & Pony Owners Needed To Participate In Fight against Laminitis
More than 3,000 horse and pony owners are needed to collaborate on a new web-based research project, named ‘CARE (Creating Awareness and Reporting Evidence) about laminitis’, that aims to help all horse and pony owners reduce the threat posed by equine laminitis.
The four-year study, being undertaken by the Animal Health Trust (AHT), in partnership with the Royal Veterinary College (RVC), and generously funded by World Horse Welfare, is being conducted by PhD student, Danica (Dee) Pollard, based at the AHT. It will take a closer look at management factors which may contribute to the development or recurrence of laminitis within the British horse and pony population.
The BETA Guide to Avoiding Prohibited Substances, will help riders steer clear of positive tests for banned substances in equestrian sport and highlights key factors responsible for their accidental presence in the horse and provides a helpful list of ways in which they can be avoided.
“Many riders are unclear what a prohibited substance is and are surprised to hear that they can be found in everyday food and drink such as chocolate, coffee and tea,” said BETA executive director Claire Williams, who has been instrumental in producing the guide. “By taking a few careful measures – many of which are just plain common sense – the risks of exposing a horse to the substances in question could be significantly reduced.”
Healthy Tummy is a high-calorie feed with an energy level equivalent to a competition mix or cube, but with about 10 times less starch. It features high-specification vitamins and minerals, including B vitamins and biotin for improved hoof condition. It also has an oil coating for slow-release energy and exceptional coat shine.
Island Farm Donkey Sanctuary in Oxfordshire has secured sponsorship from forage and feed manufacturer, HorseHage. The company will provide Mollichaff Donkey, which is a complete high fibre feed formulated specially for donkeys, for the 120 donkeys under the sanctuary’s care.
Mild winter may increase small redworm risks warns Zoetis.
Early spring is the high-risk time for larval cyathostominosis, a potentially fatal syndrome caused by the mass emergence of small redworm from their dormant, encysted state. Worming experts at Zoetis are warning that this year, the risk of disease may be higher than usual, following the UK’s exceptionally mild, wet winter.
To help celebrate the start of spring Rowen Barbary Horse Feeds are looking for riders of all ages that need support to help them achieve their goals. If you are passionate about equine nutrition and are regularly competing, at any level across any equine discipline then Rowen Barbary are inviting you to apply to join their team.
Question: My horse is lacking condition after the winter months – can you provide advice on what I need to feed?
By Anna Welch, BVSc, BSc, MRCVS. Veterinary Nutritionist, TopSpec.
Most horses do best when fed all the forage that they can eat (i.e. ad-lib). This is a more natural way of feeding than offering large feeds. It usually makes sense to buy good quality hay or haylage because the more nutrients provided by forage, the less hard feed your horse will need. However there are exceptions, such as laminitic horses.