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Nutrition

Weight Loss

For a horse to decrease body fat, lose weight and decrease its body condition score, it needs to be burning more calories than it is taking in.

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By: Dr. Shannon Proatt-Phillips, PhD |

Body condition scoring gauges the fat coverage (or lack thereof) along various parts of the horse's body (including the neck, shoulder, withers, ribs, tailhead, etc.) and assigns a score of 1 through 9, where 1 is a fully emaciated horse and 9 would be assigned for a grossly obese horse. Ideally, horses should be in the 4-6 range, depending on what they are used for and their overall health. For a horse to decrease body fat, lose weight and decrease its body condition score, it needs to be burning more calories than it is taking in, so the difference in energy balance will come from the breakdown in body fat. To decrease calories, the horse can be put on a calorie-restricted diet, and to increase the calories a horse expends during the day, it would need more exercise. Calories are also burned through basal metabolism, which is the energy that is…

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