Equine obesity - know how to condition score your horse
Equine obesity is on the rise, I see it more and more while I am out treating horses and get greeted with the same comments - ''oh hes is good show condition'' ''isn't he looking well''.
No they are not in good show condition, and no they do not look 'well'. You are killing your horse with kindness and it needs to stop!
Obesity is directly linked to laminitis and hyperlipaemia as well as a contributing factor to arthritis, heart disease and lung problems.
It is important to monitor your horses condition throughout the year - Nutrition in grazing changes, feed routines change, temperatures change and exercise routines change, this can all contribute to changes in your horses condition.
Your horse is scored on a six point scale as outlined above. Ideally we want our horses to be sitting at 3 on this scale. The areas you are concentrating on when coring are:
When looking at these areas you want to assess the amount of fat under the skin, the bone definition and general shape on the area. A healthy horse sitting at 3 on this scale would have:
A thin layer of fat under the skin.
The neck should have a little muscle definition and blend smoothly into the body along with the shoulders.
Back should have a slight ridge, almost flat.
Ribs not visible but easily felt
A slightly rounded rump
Just visible hip bones.
Horses that are obese, at at the top of the scale with a condition score of 5;
Theses horses will appear bloated
No visible muscle
Pronounced, hard crest
Pads of fat
No visible ribs and cannot be palpated
Apple shaped rump
Thighs pressing together
This is cruel, and unfortunately some owners cannot see it. Please stand back, take a look at your horse, asses its weight from a non bias prospective and seek dietary advice if and when needed.
Please keep an eye on the blog for our post about feed quantity guidelines!