When is a horse too fat or too thin?
As for humans, also for horses being in shape is really connected to general well-being and health. The weight is not only a general health indicator, but its excesses can threaten horses’ health in long time period. So when is a horse too fat or too thin?
A good weight means the good balance between body fat and lean mass and this stand for a balanced diet, nutrients-rich and quality food, a good dose of exercise and psychological wellbeing. Anyway it doesn’t exist a perfect body weight and even a generally good diet, but this should be adapt to age; breed; health; exercise; life style if in paddock or in stable and the season weather the horse is exposed to.
Excesses of all kind are always dangerous. An undernourished horse visibly too skinny, has low energy and vigor to exercise, can develop digestive problem and its low nutrients intake can affect its learning abilities and undermine an accurate training. On the other side a too fat horse is fatigued during exercise and faced more trouble in each movements. The excessive weight can tire joints causing inflammation and wear and can effect also the apparatus and organs: mostly circulatory and respiratory systems result fatigued.
Sadly a widespread trend is to fatten horses because they are more morphologically appreciated and this is also useful to hide some physical flaws. The evaluation of the health status should instead focus on the horse well being and all its indicators.
There are many ways to check a horse weight condition: the first and easiest is observing. A too skinny horse is marked by too visible bones in the regions of withers and hips, slightly toned muscles and dull coat. On the opposite side a fat horse doesn’t let see even slightly bones and muscle, giving the impression of a “rounded” appearance, which can seem pleasant at first sight but in fact devoid of muscular tone. Other methods for the weight evaluation are the lean/fat mass test and specific blood tests, which should be done under the care of a vet.
To reach and maintain a good body weight and a healthy condition, it is important to use a balanced and quality-constant feed rich in nutrients. A good example in this way is Wafer Fioc, a complete horse feed created for the maintenance of the in-shape condition with long fiber hay, alfalfa and premium quality flaked cereals. This complete meal provide a constant source of nutrients necessary to structure horses muscle. The dust-free format avoid respiratory disorders and improves chewing and salivation and in last instance a better digestion, one of the basis of a good body weight.