A horse’s weight naturally fluctuates with the seasons. At the end of the summer they are a bit thicker and at the end of winter, when the reserves to keep the body warm have been used up, a bit thinner. Our kept horses usually get enough to eat all year round and should not fluctuate too much. And certainly not too skinny or too fat. How do you regulate the weight of your horse?
In principle, a horse that receives sufficient roughage of good quality and that its daily vitamin and mineral requirements are met should not lose weight. When it is very cold, horses consume a lot of fiber from roughage to keep themselves warm. Make sure there is plenty of hay available during the winter months. Horses that are highly trained or pregnant may also have an additional need for building materials such as amino acids and proteins.
Salmon oil: essential fats
Salmon oil can contribute well to weight regulation. It supports digestion, provides your horse with all essential fatty acids and gives extra energy. Thanks to salmon oil, horses often have an increased appetite and regain weight more quickly if they are too lean. The oil also aids in blood sugar regulation.
Horse is a bit thin
Is your horse getting leaner, despite sufficient roughage, building materials and fatty acids? Older horses in particular have to deal with weight loss, especially in winter. Their digestion becomes less efficient and the chewing muscles also have less strength, so that they take longer to chew fiber and therefore consume less roughage. Sometimes it can be wise to give – in addition to salmon oil and possibly proteins – more liquid roughage, such as soaked grass pellets. Is your horse not yet a senior? Dental problems, worms, sand in the intestines and stomach or digestive problems can also be causes for weight loss. So check if this can be the case. If your horse remains thin despite all measures, consult your vet. Weight loss can also be related to chronic pain and other underlying diseases, such as liver disorders.
Horse is too fat
When a horse has a little extra fat on the ribs at the end of the summer, it doesn’t have to be a disaster. As long as it’s temporary. A possible solution is not to wrap your horse in thick blankets too early in the fall, but to let him stoke up his reserves when it gets colder. After all, that’s what those fats are for! In any case, do not give a thicker horse carbohydrate or starch-rich concentrates or roughage with a lot of sugars. Choose fiber-rich, low-fat hay that is chewed for a long time and that gives a feeling of fullness. In addition, ensure sufficient free movement and training. Then your horse will slowly but surely lose weight. Make sure that he gets enough vitamins and minerals, with a balancer kibble and any additional supplements. Think of magnesium, which is little in hay, and in winter also of vitamin E. In addition, the minerals from concentrated Bering Sea water can ensure the right balance in your horse.
Nettle for horses
Horses that need to lose some weight also benefit from a course of nettle extract to cleanse the blood and remove waste products. Nettle also supports the immune system and promotes good intestinal flora. This also leads to healthy digestion. It is advisable to give your horse a cure with nettle twice a year, in spring and autumn. Or you can offer it in a mineral buffet.
Triphala supports sugar metabolism and weight loss
Another herb that can be used for obesity is Triphala. This is a mixture of 3 fruits that support the metabolism and balance the body. It can also be used well in horses with insulin resistance as it also balances the sugar metabolism. Triphala helps with weight loss and can be easily administered through the feed.
The role of the herd
Finally, with horses that are overweight or underweight, it is also good to take a look at their role in the herd. Dominant horses have the most access to food. Horses that are low in rank are not always allowed to reach the feed trough. Therefore, make sure there are enough feeding places or put a lean and low-ranking horse in another group where he can eat more.