Horsefinder.co.uk, the website where users can buy and sell horses and equestrian equipment, has produced a horse owners’ guide to managing equine obesity.
Taunton, Somerset (PRWEB UK) 1 May 2013
With milder weather and typical British rain showers, the month of April has seen a fast growth of grass. The abundance of fresh grass, which is high in fructans and sugars, is irresistible to horses and ponies but can pose a risk to those prone to laminitis and obesity.
Horsefinder, the website where horse owners can buy and sell horses, has teamed up with expert horse nutritionist, Brinicombe Equine, to produce a how-to of top tips to guide horse owners throughout the summer months. Brinicombe's equine development manager says: “Equine obesity has fatal consequences and causes severe, debilitating and painful symptoms including the onset of laminitis. It is one of the most common causes of fatalities out of any equine disease in the UK – yet it is 100 per cent preventable.”
To help a horse reach, and stay, a healthy weight, Horsefinder and Brinicombe Equine advise the following prevention methods:
- Exercise a horse regularly - this will help weight come off and stay off.
- Monitor grass intake and gradually reduce grazing.
- Double bag hay with two hay nets – this will reduce the speed and amount of food a horse consumes.
- Soak hay – this reduces the calorie content through a reduction of water-soluble carbohydrates.
- Spilt any meals into smaller meals throughout the day.
- Tie hay nets in various locations around the yard – this will encourage a horse to move around and burn calories.
- Place some large, smooth pebbles into a horse’s feed – this will slow down the eating time as they navigate the pebbles.
- Keep a horse occupied by hanging up vegetables in the stable; putting chopped vegetables into a foraging ball; or placing apples in a bucket of water for apple bobbing.
- Be patient. Weight reduction should be a steady process to avoid metabolic problems.
- Take regular photos. This enables a comparison of a horse’s weight from one week to the next.
- Always seek the expert opinion of your vet.
Many practices of equine weight management can reduce the intake of valuable nutrients. The soaking of hay can cause nutrients to be leached out of the hay and a reduction in grazing reduces the nutrients consumed via grass intake. Horsefinder urges horse owners to be mindful of the nutritional content of a horse’s diet.
Brinicombe Equine suggests that horse owners ensure the nutritional requirements of a horse are met in the most cost effective way, by using a vitamin and mineral lick. “Our range of free access, low sugar, healthy herbal vitamin and mineral licks provide horse owners who are turning their horses out to pasture, with the perfect nutritional solution. The range provides a balance of nutrients and each product provides an additional benefit such as, HerbiLIX with added yeast included for condition and a healthy digestive system and Think Fly Lick containing the unique herbal fly dispersant, Repel-Ex.”