Too fat horses or ponies respectively the affluent disease adiposity are more and more common in western countries. This is not only stressful for the musculoskeletal system, but also problematic with regard to the development of insulin resistance with a tendency to laminitis.
The fatty tissue is hormonally active and produces inflammatory substances that play a role in laminitis. "Losing weight" is healthy and necessary. But not through a zero diet or too much feed restriction, as this can lead to life-threatening hyperlipidemia!
For weight reduction a diet is recommended:
- late cut hay (1,2 % of the target weight) in several partial amounts per day
- in addition an amino acid concentrate against the muscle dismantling
- plus vitaminized mineral feed and water.
Grazing, cereal-based concentrated feed and treats of all kinds should be avoided. The total energy content of the ration should be around 80 % of the energy requirement. The goal should be a weight loss of 0.5 to 1 % of body mass per week. Measured with a tape measure, this would be about 1 to 2 cm less for the horse's body circumference, neck circumference or chest circumference.
Weight loss is accelerated by a light exercise program: 20 min. walk and 15 min. trot per day (5x per week) not only improves weight loss but also insulin sensitivity and reduces inflammatory substances in the body.