The job of owning and caring for horses comes with a great deal of responsibilities. You need to make sure it gets the correct amount of exercise, is fed well, and stays disease free. Another vital function you contribute to the horse’s well-being is by helping it to maintain the proper weight. Managing an equine’s health and weight is dependent on nutrition management, a regular exercise regiment and proper veterinary care. These are all keys towards keeping your horse fit and healthy while also preventing obesity from setting it.
While these three keys sound easy enough, it couldn’t be further from the truth. The fact is helping a horse maintain its ideal weight is not always easy. When beginning a veterinarian approved weight loss program for an obese horse, there are a few guidelines to follow. As always, make sure they are done gradually and under the supervision of an equine veterinarian. Here are a few:
First, you must be patient. Nothing happens overnight, especially weight loss. It is a slow and steady process just like it is in humans. Losing weight too rapidly can stress the horse and upsets its metabolic system. Begin by gradually implementing changes in both the type of feed and the amount it is fed every day. Many experts recommend reducing its feed by no more than 10% over a seven to ten day period. I like to use a weight tape and a spreadsheet to track the horse’s progress. It can help you by recognizing when the horse’s weight plateaus so you further cut back on its ration once more.
Make sure the horse is eating a good balance of feed. This is dependent on the horse’s age and activity level. Vets often recommend providing horse supplements to guarantee its vitamin, mineral and protein requirements are properly met.
There is nothing more important to a horse’s health than water. Make sure it has access to plenty of clean, fresh water. It allows the animal’s digestive system to function as efficiently as possible. Water also rids the body of metabolic and other wastes.
Buy feeds containing plenty of high quality fiber yet are low in total energy. Don’t make the mistake of buying feed based on volume instead of weight. This is a common cause of horse owners feeding their animals the incorrect amount of rations. Choose lower in fat feeds since they are an energy-dense nutrient source.
By continuing to follow these tips, your horse should easily reach its ideal body condition.