PRACTICAL WEIGHT LOSS TIPS

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We all know how hard it can be to get some horses to lose weight, so we’ve put together some ideas to help you; whether your horse is just starting their weight loss journey or you’re looking for something different to try with a “good doer”!

REDUCING GRAZING
Bare paddock
Strip grazing
Track system
Co-grazing with sheep
Non-grass paddock, e.g. wood chip, concrete yard, rubber; ideally avoid turn out on sand due to increased risk of colic.
Decreased grazing time, although beware of bingeing behaviour. A horse can eat enough grass for a full day in just 4 hours!
Grazing muzzle, should be worn all the time the horse is turned out to avoid bingeing when removed.
Remember to remove daily to check for rubbing.

ALTERING FEED
Limit hard feed to a good quality low calorie balancer to provide vitamins and minerals. This is particularly important to provide if soaking hay.
Weigh haynets
Consider having forage analysed
Change to hay from haylage
Mix in oat straw to provide bulk with less calories
Use a double haynet or a trickle net
Use toys or feeders such as a hay ball
Split forage into small amount and hang nets in different places

INCREASING EXERCISE
Riding more! Consistent exercise 4-5 times a week is better than long sessions 1-2 times a week.
Remember walk is very gentle exercise, trot and canter will burn many more calories.
Include hills when hacking, build up to trotting uphill for increasing periods.
For non-ridden exercise consider lungeing, long reining, leading (either in hand or from another horse) or a horse walker.
Track system in field

USING METABOLISM
Avoid rugging where possible to encourage the horse to use calories for warmth.
Consider clipping, a trace or hunter clip will work well for most.
Allow natural weight loss over winter, you should be able to just see the outline of your horses ribs at the end of winter.