This week de Boer & Taylor Vets have been discussing the increasing obesity problem in Britain’s horses. Being overweight has many negative consequences for your horse, ranging from laminitis to joint problems. Your horse’s weight is entirely within your control and we are encouraging all our clients to discuss Body Condition Scoring and weight management as we approach the Spring and Summer months.
By domesticating our horses we have allowed them to start living a life of luxury. In the wild, they would have been opportunistic grazers, feeding heavily throughout the Spring and Summer and then reducing their weight over the Winter months, enabling them to begin the cycle again in the Spring. A wild horse would have entered Winter with a condition score of 4 or above, only to drop down to a 2 or lower as Spring approached. As owners, we spend all our time and money over winter helping our horses maintain their weight and condition meaning they no longer fluctuate with the grazing.
The mild and wet winters we endure in Dorset and The New Forest often lead to excessive grass growth around March and April, if our horses have maintained – or sometimes gained – weight over the winter months there are few opportunities for them to reduce until the following winter.
Many of us struggle to objectively score our horse’s body condition, we have produced a video below to try and help our clients. We are mobile Vets based in Dorset and The New Forest, covering areas such as Dorchester, Blandford, Ringwood and Bournemouth so we are more than happy to send a Vet out to your yard to help you judge your horse’s weight.
All resources referred to in the video can be found in the Blue Cross Leaflet.