You are here: Horses > Horse nutrition / feed > Overweight horse

Managing a Diet for an Overweight Horse

Properly balance the vitamin and mineral intake of an overweight horse on a limited grain diet is the essence of managing their diet. The “diet” horse feeds that are coming on the market are making this a slightly easier task. However, they should be understood and properly fed just as with any horse feed. There are many high-tech “lighter feeds” available on the market and it can be a bit difficult deciding which is the best for your horse.

These “diet” feeds are specially formulated to be lower in calories while giving your overweight horse all the necessary vitamins and minerals they need to maintain a good body condition. It is recommended that you give your horse these feeds at a rate of two to five pounds per day depending on the horse.

With a typical feeding program a horse is getting adequate levels of protein and energy in their diet in addition to the major required minerals such as calcium and phosphorus. The horse can easily maintain their weight with this type of

nutrient intake, but you must remember that your horse is too fat. The horse may exhibit a lack of energy, very little stamina and may be hypersensitive and display a resistance to work although they will remain sound. The reason for these symptoms is because of the trace vitamins and minerals including zinc, copper, selenium, Vitamin E and thiamin.

Now consider what happens when you give a horse “diet” feed at a rate of three to four pounds per day. All the horses’ nutrient requirements are not being satisfied with this intake. To prevent over consumption in hungry horses salt should not longer be fed free choice but rather mixed in with the feed at a rate of at least one ounce per day.

To effectively and safely change weight it will require more than adjusted feed. A owner can be successful at getting a horse to drop a few pounds If they feed only a pound of a highly fortified feed each day while reducing grazing time and cutting back on the horses hay intake.

However, when the owner switches from a highly fortified feed to a “diet” feed the horse will be getting a lower caloric grain concentrate while at the same time being able to meet all the horses’ vitamin and mineral requirements. It is actually more important to meet a horse’s vitamin and mineral requirements than it is to try and reduce a horses overall weight.

The “diet” feeds are designed to meet the horses desire to eat grain while not giving them the excess calories and making sure the proper intake of vitamin and minerals is met. Moderation is the operative word when it comes to putting a horse on a diet. Always take your time when trying to get a horse to lose weight. A horse will be hard to live with if you force them to lose weight and this can even lead to metabolic problems. Simply stick with a program if you notice your horse is losing weight after about a month since this means the program is working.

Although what should you do if you horse is still too overweight. For example, say your horse still has a body condition of eight. It may be a good idea to remove the horses access to pasture and turn them out in a dry lot with nothing but access to free choice water. You will successfully remove enough calories with this diet, but you should always make sure you maintain a proper balance of the necessary vitamins and minerals.

Read the next horse nutrition article on Weighing Your Horse Regularly
Register below to get
free horse tips from:

Horse eZine Cover

Horse Tack & Riding Equipment Maintenance

Tack needs to be maintained religiously. Synthetic tack can be hosed down or washed in the washing machine. It's lighter in weight, easy to care for, and less expensive than leather. Leather, needs much more care. Inspect it every time you clean it. Wash it every time you use it, and then oil the leather parts a few times a year.

Browse some different types and styles of synthetic and leather horse tack available online.

 Horse Education
Horse Training Teleseminar
 Horse Information Topics
Horse health
Horse nutrition / feed
Horse pasture / forage
Horse care
Horse tack / equipment
Horse diseases
Horse shoes / Hoof care
Horse rescue / adoption
Horse transportation
Horse training
Horse trainers
Horse breeds
Horse breeding
Horse names (5,000)
Horse farms / ranches
Horse barns / fencing
Horse riding
Equestrian Sports & Activities
Horse shows
Horse words dictionary
Share a Horse Story
 Horse Business Owners
  Advertise with Us
Have your horse products or services exposed to over 27,000 of our monthly visitors.
  Home | | Privacy | Security | Legal notices | Advertise with Us
 Copyright (c) 2011. American Horse Rider & Horses and Horse Information. All rights reserved.