Very thin animals showing ribs are easy to spot as undernourished, but overweight animals can be just as much of a health and welfare problem – but are far less likely to be recognized.

Sam Chubbock, Head of UK Support at World Horse Welfare, said, “It is natural for horses and ponies to lose a little weight over winter, before putting it back on again with the flush of spring grass. This winter has been very mild – and wet – and in many places grass is still growing and providing calories. Maintaining a horse at a healthy weight can be very difficult and one of the most common health issues owners struggle with is their horses being overweight. With this winter’s weather it is looking like the spring could prove an extra challenge for anyone trying to maintain their horse at a healthy weight.”

Although many owners know that their horse shouldn’t carry excess weight, the difficulty is often in recognizing what a healthy condition looks like as, unfortunately, it has become commonplace for horses to carry more weight than they should. Thick winter coats, blankets and mud can make it harder to see a horse’s body condition, but there is plenty of helpful information available on condition scoring and how to manage weight on World Horse Welfare’s website, including webinars, videos and a downloadable leaflet HERE.

~ with files from World Horse Welfare