Obesity Widespread in English HorsesBy Kentucky Equine Research Staff · August 23, 2011
More than half of England’s pleasure horses are obese, according to a study conducted at the University of Nottingham.
In the study, 500 horse owners received a body condition score chart and were asked to rate the condition of their horses. Owners of 160 horses responded, and only 20% reported that their horses were either fat or obese. One of the researchers then selected 15 of the study horses at random and visited them, assigning body condition scores based on her observation. She determined that 8 of the 15 were overweight, although owners routinely felt their horses were at least one score lower as to condition.
Owners were questioned about feed management and exercise, and results showed most horses were being fed concentrates but got little exercise. One conclusion was that, though owners had reasonable knowledge of how to prevent or correct equine obesity, they were hampered by an apparent inability to recognize that their own horses were overweight and needed management changes to correct the situation.