As in the case of human, obesity in horses is an overwhelming problem for many of the horse owners. A horse which gains overweight has a risk of many major health issues ranging from breathing to joint problems, which could even be life-threatening to these animals on a long run.
For each 10 kg additional weight a horse is gaining, it is estimated that he may have to work 3.3% harder which will put significant additional pressure on to its neck, lungs, heart, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. So, it is essential to monitor the weight and food habits of your horse health to keep it happy and healthy.
In this article, we will discuss four expert weight management tips for horse health.
- Keep an eye on grass growth
Weather changes affect the grass growth. During warm weather, if the there is a couple of drizzles also in between, then even the shorter grass may be rich in calorie-content. Horses realize it first and get right to it, which you may not even be able to realize. So, you can smartly fence off a smaller area in the paddock of the horse to keep track of the grass growth.
- Restrict grazing
There are many ways to restrict your horse’s access to grazing, but many a time, it cannot be that effectively implemented. It is possible to turn your horse away for a limited period; however, over time, they may become wise to this routine. If you implement time-restrict grazing, then the horse may ultimately tend to eat as much as possible in the time frame which they could have been otherwise eaten in 24 hours.
Strip grazing may be an ideal method to try out as per the experts, but it may also result in a situation as the horse gets fenced onto the paddock and there is no grass to eat. In strip grazing, it is vital to move the fencing each day or supplement additional hay to the horse. Grazing muzzles and track systems may also be of help.
- Analyze the grass and hay
There are options to check the fat and protein content in grass and hay offered by some providers like Dodson & Horrell. It is a better way to decide over the hard-feed portion of your horse’s diet. An analysis of the grass and hay will give you a better understanding of the dry matter, sugar, water content, minerals, and calorie level along with the hygiene of the forage.
- Don’t skip exercise
Alongside controlling the diet, it is also necessary to ensure a proper exercise regime to maintain the good health and well-being of your course. Try to assess the overall health of the animal and devise an exercise plan. Build up slowly and ensure that appropriate exercising to burn out the extra calories. For more information, visit TVG.
Along with all these, it is also advisable to use a weight tape to keep track of the horse growth. Some horses may add on a few extra pounds, which may not be visible to naked eye. So, it is ideal to use a weight tape to identify even the minute change in weight. Condition score is another accurate way to assess the horse weight.