overwieght=neglect?????

natcardwell

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Oct 5, 2004
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A friend of mine owns a lovely cob, but he`s prone to a little excess weight! The woman who owns him doesn`t ride him hardly she blames it on a confidence issue, which is fine but she rarely bothers at all with him, to exersise i mean, he`s got so fat this summer he`s developed a cough and the indications of laminitis. She`s already got him on 2 full hayledge nets a day and 2 feeds a day. She has got a bit uppity because she thinks we all laugh at her `fat cob` on the contrary I am really worried that she`s doing him some long term damage, I`ve tried to suggest cutting his food down and restricted summer grazing even if she doesn`t want to ride but al she says is that horses loose condition in winter and that`s what she`s trying to stop. Does anyone have any ideas how I can get her to listen?or know of any conditions caused by the horse being obese?he really is huge!Any suggestions greatly appreciated!
 

carrimclaren

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We've got a lady down our yard similar. Her cob is hugely overweight but she has refused all advice on it's weight from the yard managers. She does however ride more than your lady, it's more of a spoiling issue i think. No matter how unhealthy the horse looks she still sees it as her baby and that it looks fine to her. The amount of exercise it gets should mean it's reasonably fit, unfortunately the poor thing struggles terribly with any sort of incline and it very unfit due to the excess weight it carries. It gets two huge feeds a day and haylage and is turned out all the time so it gets the grass as well.
At the end of the day all you can do is offer advice. Unfortunately she will most likely learn her lesson when the illness strikes :(
 

diplomaticandtactful

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Apr 25, 2003
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Laminitis doesn't just strike when they are fat.

Our cob, Rosie, was very heavy when we got her, very big, as she hadn't worked for a while and had huge crest. She lived out all last summer, was worked a lot, lost about 1/3 of her weight, then got laminitis this year in April and is still off - another 3-6 months probably.

She is so much thinner than she was but she got it this year not last year when she had candidate stamped all over her. Not fair.
 

gypsydust

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May 11, 2003
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I am tempted to say allowing a horse to get over-weight is a worse case of neglect than allowing it to get underweight. I think I feel that way because people obviously KNOW that when their horse looks like a toast-rack they are doing something wrong, but there are so many overweight people these days, and the dangers of being obese seem to be more 'hidden' - either that or (very sadly) people just think their animals are 'glowing with health' and 'well prepared for winter' etc etc.
Horses (or any animal, including humans) just aren't designed to cope with so much extra weight. horses evolved to graze vast quantities of poor quality food - all these rich modern feeds like mix and haylege can be so bad for them, especially when they really don't need it.
Dangers, well, it puts more strain on the heart and lungs - could lead to a 'broken wind' so the horse would not be passed as sound in wind by a vet, and would have difficulty breathing if put under stress. It puts more strain on the limbs and joints than they are able to bear, leading to degenerative joint problems - arthritis, DJD, lameness, early retirement... It puts more strain on the muscles as well.
Being overweight can also not only predispose the animal to life-threatening conditions such as laminitis, but it also makes them more likely to suffer skin allergies - sweet itch for example. They sweat more, so attract more flies. they are generally unfit, so are unable to keep up with their field-mates when they decide to have a mad five minutes. Likewise, they are unable to cope with ridden work so well too.
I really do hate seeing over-weight horses - it is so cruel. In today's day and age we should know better.
 

Jinxed

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My mare, especially at the time she was stolen, was chronically obese. She was always a big girl, but inspite of requests, the loaners continued to over feed her extra feeds, and did not restrict her grazing. She has never had laminatis, but her other conditions, such as COPD and Arthritis were affected by the weight gain. Lord only knows in what state she is in now.

Overweight will not necessarily be a factor of Laminatis, but as with weight gain there will undoubtedly be other problems...I know only too much as I'm rather extremely 'well padded' myself !!! :D
 

Zingy

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Sorry to say that in my experience, many owners of overweight horses prefer to bury their heads in the sand and think things like laminitis won't happen to them. Put an equally underweight horse in front of them and they'll have an opinion, but theirs is a cob and 'should be big'. Have known people to pretend to feed horses just plain chop (with half a bucket of conditioning mix hidden underneath) and to find it funny when the vet tells them their horse must be in foal because it's so fat. Sadly, eventually the horses suffer for it. It is, in my opinion, gross ill treatment, but find me a rescue organisation that would take you seriously if you phoned up about a fat horse :(
 

natcardwell

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I`m glad I`m not the only one who thinks this is cruel!I`m gonna try and have a chat with her again and point out some of the issues mentioned. I`ve even offered to take him on loan and look after him myself but she said she`d be lost without him!i realise there`s not alot i can do realistically but it`s really hard to watch a perfectly good horse not only go to waste but being made ill too!:mad:
 
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Yann

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Rio was in that situation when we got her, she'd done nothing for months, was on 40 odd acres with a small aged pony and got bucketfuls of feed, partly in order to catch her. She was absolutely enourmous, our new farrier was certain she was in foal and we couldn't complete a 5* vetting as she was so unfit.

Ironically she isn't actually a good doer, but it took a while for us to find that out. I could no more let her get like that again than starve her:(
 

Sue & Nigs

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Apr 18, 2007
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Laminitas

My little lady is now a youthful 19 and has only had laminitas recenetly. As an IDXTB she can pile on the pounds just looking at the grass (bit like me with chocolate!) so I am very careful with her weight. :eek:

She is currently chronically sore with this latest bout and she spends most of the day laying down in her shavings packed stable. She was out in the field playing with her new companion and came in holding her back foot up, after refusing to put any weight on it and started pawing the floor I called the out of hours vet who diganosed her as having an absess and took the back shoe off. Next morning she was in terrible discomfort and I called my own vet out, he told me she had laminitas and gave her strong painkillers, I told my farrier to be on stand by incase we needed to do anything to help her and we talked about concussive laminitas where they can over do it on hard ground, and at the moment our ground is like concrete! :confused:
Another factor, especially at her age is the start of cushings disease, this causes laminitic tendency and I would recommend anyone who's horse is becoming prone to laminitas to get their horse tested, there are tablets that can help with cushing disease if it is caught early enough.

I hope this helps.
 

Bay Horse

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Jan 9, 2007
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My cob is overweight... he is permanently on a diet, has restricted grazing, is ridden or lunged daily - yet he appears to live on air. I think it's far harder to get weight off, than to put it on.
 

NZdressage

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Mar 25, 2007
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I think its horrible to have a horse too overweight, but to be honest my best horse always carries more weight than he probally should but he actually performs better! When hes standing in his box he looks like hes having a foal but when I ride him and get him working he doesnt look fat, many dressage horses carry more weight than they should and they work better for it. Obviously there is a point though and I think if a horse is close to laminitus (sp?) then its worse than a slightly underweight horse. Thas just my opinion of course.
 

Joyscarer

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I'd encourage this lady to condition score her cob and hopefully this will demonstrate just how bad things are.

I myself have a weight problem and struggle to control my eating. I'm certainly not going to allow my child or any of the animals in my care to suffer as I do. It is cruelty through neglect fair and square.

Fair enough if the owners are tackling it but if they aren't then they don't deserve the horse.

There is a NF mare at my yard that is still fat and cresty on fresh air. The others have all dropped weight and we strip graze them but this laminitis prone mare is holding her weight somehow. I wonder if she is insulin resistent or something? Anyway the point is that she is being managed properly and the owner is aware.
 

Wally

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The vet and I were discussing this the other day. I have two collies on fat one and one perfect weight. You'd think the fat one was hoovering up the slim ones dinner, not a bit of it. The vet is of the opinion that, like humans there are animals who will always carry a bit more weight than others.

Sadly horses were desinged to live on very little rough grazing. Cobs seem to hold on to more of the conserv fat genes than TBs.

Weight is harder to get off than put on IME. But to feed an already fat horse is unforgivable.
 
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