What to do if your horse
seemingly gets fat on air.
BY HOLLY CACCAMISE
You probably know by now why it’s bad for humans to be overweight: higher chance of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and premature death. But is it really so bad for your horse to be “pleasingly plump?” After all, he looks so cute! The short answer is: yes.
Why is Fat Bad?
Physically, added fat makes it harder for a horse to shed heat, which can lead
to heat stress, particularly in the summer or during exercise. It also puts more
strain on his joints, which can worsen the effects of mild arthritis and reduce
It may also lead to formation of lipomas, fatty balls on stalks within the
abdomen that can wrap around the intestines and cause a strangulation colic. This
requires surgery to correct. No thank you!
Obesity is also the main contributor to developing equine metabolic syndrome
(EMS). EMS generally entails insulin resistance (like type 2 diabetes in humans)
and chronic laminitis—painful inflammation of the hooves that is extremely
uncomfortable for the horse.
Keeper the Easy
How Do I Know if He’s Fat?
You probably know if you have an
easy keeper, because you’ve never
seen his ribs showing—in fact, you
probably can’t even feel them if you
go out right now and check.
Other signs include a thick, cresty
neck; a crease along the top of the
hindquarters; and an indentation
when the girth is tightened. Time to
lose some weight!