Sunday, July 21, 2013



There's one thing that drives me bonkers and that is seeing underfed and overfed horses. Horses rely on their owners for proper care and nourishment. So often I see obese horses and horses with hip bones and shoulder bones stick out and their owners seem to not notice or are uneducated in what a healthy weight is for a horse. 

Horses are supposed to be well muscled with smooth muscle tone without dips and valleys in it's conformation. A horse that is at a healthy body weight has rounded hindquarters and shoulders, a solid back and a nicely muscled neck. If you can see your horses bones either on his back, ribs, hips, chest or shoulders, your horse is too thin! And if your horse is without definition at all and looks like it's pregnant your horse is too fat! 

Below are images of horses that better show what an underweight horse, an overweight horse and a healthy weight horse looks like.

A underweight horse is bony and lacks muscle bulk and definition.

An overweight horse has fat pockets and looks like it's pregnant with a big belly, fatty hindquarters and fatty crest.

A healthy weight horse is well muscled with smooth lines. It is in fit condition and isn't bony looking. 

I found an excellent article online, How do I tell if my horse is overweight/underweight (or gaining/losing weight)?  that has addition pictures of what a horse at a healthy weight looks like and how to measure your horse's weight. Horses are just like us, when we're overweight or underweight we don't feel our best and nor do horses.

To help maintain your horse's weight be diligent in de-worming your equine friend every three month, alternate wormers for the time of year given. If you're not sure which wormer to give call your veterinarian.

Also, be sure to get your horse's teeth checked yearly. Horse's typically need their teeth floated every 12 to  18 months. If you let your horse's teeth go too long he/she will have overgrown sharp teeth that can cause soars and inhibits eating properly.

Take time to read the article and take a mental picture of what an overweight and an underweight horse looks like. Then take a second look at your own horse(s) to see if you need to add feed or subtract feed from your horses diet or if he/she is just right. 

A healthy weight horse is happier and healthier. Feed your horse the basics. Be proactive in ensuring your horse is at it's best weight at all times by paying attention to his/her weight daily. Make any necessary adjustments to your horse diet that's need to have your horse at a healthy weight year round. 

I hope this helps you better understand the importance of having your horse at a healthy weight. 

Happy trails! :) 

Carol Whitaker

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