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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Equine Obesity Update: Do Horse Owners Comprehend the Dangers?

14 November 2009 Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog at

There's no doubt that the horseowning public in the United States and abroad is becoming more aware of the problem of obesity in horses. Just look at the variety of new feed products and supplements designed to help horses lose weight, and you will see just the first wave of a marketing tsunami aimed at assisting horse owners in reducing the weight of the horses.

The problem may not lie in just recognizing obesity, however. For many horse owners, telling them their horses are fat is akin to telling them that they have spoiled a child with candy. In their eyes, fat horse is a sign of a well-fed and much loved horse, but they may not connect the dots to the real health risks associated with obesity, such as insulin resistance and a high risk for laminitis.

In this video, the British international charity World Horse Welfare updates us on their progress in educating horse owners and also in surveying horse owners for their perceptions of obesity in horses. You'll also see a severely overweight pony that was confiscated by officials as a welfare case because of its obesity. This was the first prosecution of horse owners for welfare violations directly related to overfeeding a horse.

I love the last part, where the pony stands next to a pile of bags of feed equal to the weight he has lost.

Thanks in advance for sharing this video and keeping public awareness of the dangers of equine obesity at the forefront.

© Fran Jurga and Hoofcare Publishing. Please, no use without permission. You only need to ask.

Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog is a between-issues news service for subscribers to Hoofcare and Lameness Journal. This blog may be read online at the blog page, checked via RSS feed, or received via a digest-type email (requires signup in box at top right of blog page).

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Cheryl said...


Thanks so much Fran for posting this. I'm a hoof trimmer and have been trying to inform friends and other horse owners who have overweight horses why they need to get weight off of their horses. Two that I know of have already foundered. And then their friend's tell them how good their horses look! Back to square one :-(

I'll certainly pass this on and keep preaching.


coeurdefer said...

Great post (sorry, I'm on dial-up and can't do the video).

Nothing bothers me more than horses with weight problems, whether skinny OR fat....just like human weight issues.

I still ponder the death of Secretariat at 19 becuase of laminitas at a PREMIER stud farm in the US. No excuse, period. He needed some exercise on a daily basis and no, turn out ain't it. Boggles my mind that people take these premier athletes, put them on grass with no job except to make more babies and are stymied by fertility issues, production books and standings and at a loss for explanation of colic, founder/laminitas, etc death rates.

Just another nobody opinion of course.