~ Overweight or Underweight??? - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 20 Old 07-08-2010, 05:16 AM Thread Starter
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Question ~ Overweight or Underweight???

I have seen lots of debate here about a horse being either overweight or underweight, mostly underweight though.

I would like to hear your opinions on which you personally would go with (if the happy medium were not an option).

Many people I have noticed criticize others when their horse is abit underweight. But have people actually thought about the effects of a horse being overweight? I think that it is just as (if not more) bad as a horse being underweight, because of the heart strain and the possibility of laminitis.

So, personally, I would rather go with a horse that is abit underweight than a horse that is abit overweight. Maybe I'm biased, because Night Heat is abit on the underweight side, but she is perfectly happy and works well with no hassles in the health department.

I wish I was able to pump her up with lots of expensive high protein food, but sometimes people can't afford to do that, and anyway, she isn't exactly mine (she belongs to my riding instructer, he leases her to me and no one else rides her) so she gets what the other horses get. My riding instructers can't exactly afford to buy very expensive feed for their 14 horses, but they do get a good feed with hay in the winter and they live out all year.

But yeah, that's my opinion on this. Care to share yours?

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post #2 of 20 Old 07-08-2010, 06:02 AM
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I would prefer underweight. As you said, overweight has many more health implications. People yell and scream when they see a rib or two. Well here's some news, seeing a rib is actually a HEALTHY weight for a horse. Our top athletes don't have layers of fat covering their ribs do they? So why do we expect our horses to work like athletes but be fat?
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post #3 of 20 Old 07-08-2010, 06:20 AM
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I prefer my horses on the plump side. They are definitely not obese though. When we go on longer camping trips they tend to drop a little bit of weight, so I'd rather them a bit fatter than ribby.
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post #4 of 20 Old 07-08-2010, 07:22 AM
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I'm another one for preferring a teensy bit underweight than overweight. I'm not talking ribs popping out all over the place and hips you could cut bread on. But I don't see a problem when a horse has a nice covering of fat and muscle, but you can see a rib or two.

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post #5 of 20 Old 07-08-2010, 07:25 AM
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Definitely underweight there is no serious health issues for a horse that is a tiny bit below the ideal but when horses put on weight it instantly starts making everything harder and more strain on joints hearts etc!
Also I find it harder for my horses to loose weight then pump it back on

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post #6 of 20 Old 07-08-2010, 08:30 AM
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an obease horse takes more time and work to get to the correct weight than an emaciated horse.
You're right that the side effects for obeasity in horses being worse than if the horse was underweight. An over weight horse is also at risk of developing diabetes as well as laminitis and joint problems.
Its a sad fact that many of our horses are becoming obease these days and what is seen as the norm weight for a horse has gradually increased over the years. Also the showing world is sort of encouraging overweight horses as the majority of show horses are grosly overweight.
In my opinion it is better for the horse if its slightly underweight than slightly overweight (of course an ideal weight would be even better! :) )
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post #7 of 20 Old 07-08-2010, 12:11 PM
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I'd rather start with a horse a little too fat than a little too thin. All the horses I've worked with were too fat. Not impossibly obese, mind you, but rather plump. I think it's rather easy to help a horse lose weight and gain muscle than to gain weight and gain muscle. And cheaper. =]

That being said, my mare is in fit shape. You can see her ribs. If she didn't have the muscling she does, she'd probably be considered a bit too thin.

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post #8 of 20 Old 07-08-2010, 12:30 PM
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Im glad we found this thread. When bout our paint last year and showed him 2 months later, the trainer and old owner complained about his weight. He has been seen by two vets who have informed us he is PERFECT. He had about 6 months off the grueling show schedule and being a leson pony, so now after 6 months his muscles are built up.

In August we will increase to maybe get a few pounds for winter, but with great consideration. Florida is hot until Decemeber and he does get a healthy coat.
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post #9 of 20 Old 07-08-2010, 12:41 PM
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I prefer a bit on the fat side. Not obese, but maybe a little tubby. I hate to see horses ribs, it just makes me flinch (just a personal thing)

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post #10 of 20 Old 07-08-2010, 01:35 PM
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There have been some studies in the news in the last year or so, saying leaner animals tend to live longer, based on studies done with mice, I believe.
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