08 Jan New Year’s Nutri-lutions: Maintain your horse at a healthy weight
Determining and monitoring your horse’s weight is a simple and essential part of your horse’s health maintenance plan. Not only does it help you to calculate the right amount of feed to give, but it also helps to determine any drug doses, such as anthelmintics, that need to be administered. More importantly, it is an objective way to alert you to any potential health problems (if he gains or loses weight).
Make a serious commitment to monitor your horse’s body weight on a monthly basis and be strict about keeping it under control. While a few modifications to your bathroom scales may be enough to avoid excess airline baggage fees, don’t try a similar method with your horse. If you do not have access to livestock weight scales, a simple weight tape designed for horses can be used (even a piece of string will help to gauge if he’s gained or lost). Or, if you’re looking for a more accurate indicator of weight, measure his heart, girth and body length in inches and use the following equation: Weight (lbs) = Girth2 (in) x length (in)/330. Or click here to get a nifty online calculator. Much like our weight, daily fluctuations are normal; up to about 50lbs per day in the average size horse (about 1,000lbs), but any more than this should be addressed.
Body Condition Scoring is another important factor in determining an appropriate and healthy weight for your horse. We’ll be covering that in more depth in a later blog post.