(report provided by ILPH)
At the recent Scottish Equine Welfare Seminar of the International League for the Protection of Horses (ILPH) at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies in Edinburgh, Robert Eustace FRCVS of The Laminitis Trust rattled the cage of equine obesity in the show ring and in the home paddock.
"Obesity – a major cause of welfare problems" was the title of his presentation.
Robert was able to graphically show the difference in what horse owners nowadays think is acceptable weight compared to forty years ago and even twenty years ago, by using winner photos from old and recent horse shows. The attendees were captivated by this visual proof of the changing form of horses shown in-hand (what we call "halter" horses in the USA).
Robert expanded on the damage that is occurring to these obese animals and their progeny, if indeed they were able to reproduce.
He concluded with some very basic sound advice to all horse owners: Every time your horse is shod, use your weight tape and mark on the stable wall the weight it shows. This will prove that the horse owner is keeping an accurate record of the weight at a regular interval so any weight gain or loss is easily detected.