How fast should weight be lost?

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How fast should weight be lost?

This is a discussion on How fast should weight be lost? within the Horse Nutrition forums, part of the Horse Health category
  • Horse forum weight loss
  • How quickly will my horse lose weight

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    11-26-2011, 08:45 PM
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How fast should weight be lost?

What's the "ok" amount of weight for a horse to lose, safely, over a week or so?

I'm caused to ask because as of this last week, I've started riding Lacey a whole bunch more and I cut out quite a bit of food from her diet because she was really horrifically overweight.

However, I'm a little worried that she might be losing weight too fast since I can already see the difference... For instance, last week I couldn't feel her ribs at all when I looked for them but now I can see them at different points while she moves... She is a VERY wide barreled mare so the ribs aren't even close to a sign that she's too thin, don't worry. Just, I wasn't expecting so be able to see a hint of rib again after just a week...

I'm going to measure her and calculate her weight tomorrow to get an idea of what she's lost but I'm going to bet that it was probably 10-20 pounds... That seems like quite a bit for such a short amount of time?
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    11-26-2011, 09:01 PM
The general guideline for MAXIMUM safe weight loss is 3% of an animal's weight per week, though 1-2% is probably safer to shoot for unless there is an emergency condition where the animal must loose weight quickly. For a 1200lb horse, the max, at 3% would be 36 lbs a week, though 12-24 is a better goal. There's nothing wrong with losing weight more slowly though, so long as you know the animal is heading in the correct direction. Rapid weight loss can include loss of more muscle mass, so making sure the animal is getting exercise and enough food to maintain muscle while losing fat is the ideal balance.
    11-26-2011, 09:17 PM
Super Moderator
So since she's (was) at 1100lbs, her 10-20 pound weight loss is reasonable since 3% of 1100 is 33?
That's really good information, thanks!

I don't know if it makes a difference but she should weight about 950...

I am trying to ride her a whole lot more which I think really contributed to the weight loss. This last week, since it was Thanksgiving break, I was able to ride her every other day all week for at last an hour every time (mostly walk/trot so her system wasn't too stressed).
    11-26-2011, 09:36 PM
I think that is a reasonable weight loss, but I wouldn't push too hard to keep her losing weight that fast, especially with an older horse who might have trouble putting it back on if you overshoot or they get sick for some other reason. Going to daily work makes a huge difference. Remember as her weight goes down, the speed at which she's losing weight should (and probably will) also go down, and that is normal and okay. Those first pounds are the easiest to get off, after that it's harder.

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