For this special edition of Hay There we caught up with Dr Gemma Pearson, Director…
Horses are no different to people, we all benefit from a healthy diet and an appropriate amount of exercise. Horses can also be prone to putting on a few extra pounds if they don’t do either, or both, of these things. The Horse Trust has funded an important project with the University of Liverpool and some very helpful and practical suggestions have been made in order to help all owners look after the wellbeing of their horses with some simple activities for keeping horses at the right weight.
Did you know that:
- No matter what your circumstances, there will be weight management strategies you can use to help your horse lose weight. You can download the decision tool created by University of Liverpool to help you work out a strategy, from here
- Research has shown that people who buddy up with others are 45% more successful at achieving weight loss. Buddy-up with a friend whose horse needs to lose weight; you can discuss weight management strategies together, it will be much more fun as well as more likely to lead to effective change
- Keep a record of the times you ride and duration, so you can track your progress and aim to improve on your own record a little bit each week!
- It’s natural for horses to lose weight over winter; we should aim for our horses to be slimmer than usual in spring. It is good for their metabolism, and means that you will have a bit of leeway for when the grass comes through.
- In the wild, horses would walk to seek out forage. Be creative to encourage more movement and foraging behaviour at home. Dieting horses can become bored, how about splitting their hay into six haynets and hanging them in different areas – some hay, some straw, soaked, some not, some with peppermint tea poured on!