Overweight Mare help?! - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 10-04-2015, 07:23 PM Thread Starter
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Overweight Mare help?!

How do I know if my horse in overweight? If she is how do I put her on a diet. I've had people ask if she's pregnant. She's not pregnant. She's 14.2 hands and last I checked 900 pounds but has gained quite a bit of weight. Shes also on good grass hay, good grass, getting vitamins and is up to date on worming. Please help idk what to do.
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post #2 of 6 Old 10-04-2015, 08:02 PM
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She's a little chubby, but then so is mine. I've tried cutting back feed and it hasn't helped much. Guess I'll just have to ride more:cowboy.

So in lies the madness, the pursuit of the impossible in the face of the complete assurance that you will fail, and yet still you chase.
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post #3 of 6 Old 10-04-2015, 09:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Trusty Rusty View Post
How do I know if my horse in overweight? If she is how do I put her on a diet. I've had people ask if she's pregnant. She's not pregnant. She's 14.2 hands and last I checked 900 pounds but has gained quite a bit of weight. Shes also on good grass hay, good grass, getting vitamins and is up to date on worming. Please help idk what to do.
Please take it under advisement that I am brand new to the horse world. If anyone gives contrary advice to anything I say, I would disregard mine. That said, I've been in charge of adjusting diet to keep sixty-five horses at their correct weight.

My rule of thumb is this: If I can see the horses ribs as it is simply standing around...it's too thin. If I can run my hand lightly over his side and feel ribs, he's just fine. If I need to apply pressure to his side in order to feel his ribs, he needs to go on a diet.

There are exceptions, for instance one horse is about to begin training for an endurance race so I'm letting him pack on a bit.

It is my opinion that height and weight are irrelevant to a reader of this post without the breed of the horse being taken into consideration. I could be mistaken on this one.

You say grass hay and grass - so if that is correct, and assuming you have her in a place she can graze and simply supplement with hay...then if the grazing grass is sparse, I'd cut down on the hay you feed her. If the grazing is plentiful though, any cut back on the hay won't help - she'll simply graze more. In that case I think I'd have to limit her grazing time.

I hope there was something in there of value for you. Best wishes.
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Last edited by yagr; 10-04-2015 at 09:07 PM. Reason: can't see photo's
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post #4 of 6 Old 10-04-2015, 09:22 PM
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She looks well padded to me. Winter is coming and that little bit extra will probably serve her well when it gets cold. I wouldn't worry about it for now, especially since you can't be riding anyhow.

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post #5 of 6 Old 10-04-2015, 10:35 PM
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If there a pouch or two of fat at the tail head, she's too fat.



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post #6 of 6 Old 10-05-2015, 02:56 AM
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^If there are 'pouches' of fat, the horse is obese, likely with metabolic effects such as insulin resistance, not just fat. Unfortunately a lot of people don't recognise overweight horses until there are obvious signs of obesity(chronic & gross overweight). Did anyone above mention looking up the Henneke 'body condition scoring'? That will help you better assess how overweight she may be. Hard to say from those pics - could be a little 'cresty', certainly doesn't look light, but not obviously obese either.

As with people, less food, healthier, lower calorie food, and more exercise is what gets a horse trim & fit. But horses shouldn't go hungry for long periods of time, they're 'trickle feeders' built to have a near constant small amounts of roughage going through their digestive system. So you may be able to cut down without 'starving' her, by using a 'grazing muzzle', &/or putting the hay in a 'slow feeder', or ensuring it's low sugar/starch hay(some test, there are many factors which affect, but rule of thumb is 'improved' cattle fattening type pastures such as rye grass are high calorie, whereas native grasses & 'unimproved' pastures are generally lower & better for horses.

Oh & doesn't look it in the pic, but if she's looking 'pregnant' just in the belly, not fat all over, could be wormy, be getting too rich feed, or could be just that she's unfit, &/or has foaled previously.
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