Experts in UK raise alarm about growing number of overweight horses

While beneficial for protection, horse blankets can also inhibit natural calorie burning
Credit : Therese Hallin/Choklad4life02 (Wikimedia)

Friday 18 January - 12h30 | Ian Clayton

Experts in UK raise alarm about growing number of overweight horses

The observations relate to the United Kingdom but the issue is relevant in any country. As The Telegraph newspaper puts it, overweight horses have become a ‘new normal’ in that country according to some equine vets, as experts remind owners to remain vigilant about their animals’ caloric intake and the possible health consequences of their diets. 

 - Experts in UK raise alarm about growing number of overweight horses

In the Telegraph article by Kimberley Duffell, David Rendle of the British Equine Veterinary Assocation (BEVA) cites studies suggesting that around half of the horses in the UK are now overweight. "Overweight has become normal and horse owners no longer appreciate what a healthy horse should look like,” Rendle comments. 

“Equine vets,” Duffell adds in her piece, “said horses had evolved to lose weight in the winter and regain it by spring but improvements to land meant animals were still able to graze on hillsides and moorlands, halting any natural weight loss. The World Horse Welfare Association warned modern practices such as putting rugs on horses during winter in order to keep them warm had inhibited their ability to efficiently burn calories by using energy in cold weather.”

In addition, horses owners risk overfeeding their animals (especially foals) when the equines are viewed simply as pets, which can lead to obesity-related conditions such as laminitis. To read the full article, see here. 

Further reading...

Talk