By Jennifer Whittle
Is your horse too fat, too thin, or just right? Many factors ranging from breed or activity level to disease status or age can impact a horse’s weight and body condition, which can turn keeping your horse at an ideal weight into a difficult task.
In last week’s online poll, we asked our readers if managing their horses’ weight was a challenge. More than 550 people responded, and we’ve tallied the results!
Of the 576 respondents, 277 (48%) said their horses are an easy keepers and gain weight easily, while 115 individuals (20%) indicated they have hard keepers that can easily become too thin. Some 153 respondents (27%) said their horses’ weights are just right, and the remaining 31 respondents (5%) have other equine weight challenges.
Additionally, more than 50 people shared experiences with managing their horses’ weights:
Several people said they manage a mixture of both easy and hard keepers:
- “I have three easy keepers and one hard keeper. Separate feeding is hard as they are out 24/7.”
- “I have one of each. They're both a challenge but well-within what I'm able to manage.”
- “My own three horses (two Arabians and a Mini) are at good weights, but my husband's Quarter Horse is a picky eater and a bit thin.”
- “I have five horses which cover all three categories. The hard keeper is 29 and the easy keeper the 'youngster' at 15.”
- Yes. I have a slim ancient Arabian, a fat Warlander, and a just-right Quarter Horse.”
- “I have a combination of each type in my herd.”
- “I'm currently feeding 15+ horses. I have two that are too thin and two that have to wear grazing muzzles.”
- “I have all of the above, so some have to eat separately to make sure they all keep well.”
- “I have one very easy and one very hard keeper. They're total opposites.”
- “Actually I have an easy keeper and a hard keeper. I must separate them at feeding time, three times a day.”
- “I have one easy keeper, one hard keeper, and one in the middle.”
- “I have one of each. It's a challenge when they are out together for grazing or hay.”
- I have one that is metabolic and lives on air and another that eats everything and stays thin.”
A few respondents said their horses are easy keepers:
- “My mare eats anything and everything, and it doesn't take much for her to gain weight.”
- “With two easy keepers, it is a challenge.”
- “My sports horse only has to look at a blade of grass and she blows up.”
Some mentioned other equine weight challenges they deal with:
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- “I had a horse that was insulin resistant. His diet was a challenge. Poor old guy is now grazing in heaven. I miss him so much.”
- “He's a good-doer in the summer, but a poor-doer in the winter”
- “My horse gets a little overweight during the summer but with enough exercise it isn't a problem.”
- We have several older horses with teeth issues, some became picky eaters, others are metabolic, etc.”
- “Yes, my senior horses (ages 24-46) were easy keepers ... until their teeth fell out.”
- “He loves to eat, but is picky about what he eats.”
- Controlling my two donkeys' weights is a big challenge.”
- “My hard-keeper's weight is good now, but finding the right diet has been challenging.”