Saturday, February 13, 2010

How fat is too fat?

Those who follow my more personal blog will know that I have been helping out at a small little training yard. Now, just in case you are wondering, this training yard is not one of those who are only in it for the money. So far it is the only training yard I have come across where the horse's well fare comes first, even above winning and money!

Anyway, so there is this one Welsh Cob pony there who is owned by one of the top Welsh stud farms here in South Africa. This pony will be going to the Welsh Cob championships in a few months. At the moment he is in very good condition, not too fat and not too thin, absolutely perfect for his size. He is only four years old and is a little nervous, but once he settles down he is the cutest little thing!

Yesterday his owners came to see how he was doing. The first thing they remarked on was that he had lost too much weight! They told the trainers that his food has to be doubled, because they want him to look twice his size!!! They want the pony to get two full haynets of lucenre (Alfalfa), double the amount of bran and oats every day.

Our concern is that the extra weight will be unhealthy for the poor little thing. With such a rich diet he would be prone to laminitis, maybe even colic. Then there is the fact that his new diet will contain too much energy, making him too energetic and hard to control, especially considering his nervous nature.

What is it with shows and fat horses? It is known that overly fat horses are unhealthy, yet, we still insist on seeing round horses in the show ring. Wouldn't it be better to have a horse with sufficient muscle to carry his rider and perform? An over weight the horse's heart will be under great strain, especially if he has to carry a rider around. The horse will tire easily too.

Personally, I would rather have a happy, healthy horse than a fat, unhealthy one.


  1. Fat covers conformation flaws, I could see someone wanting that if he's going to be shown in halter (though I don't agree with that either). Otherwise, that's just ignorance. They'd be "killing him with kindness."

  2. Yikes, sounds like they need a lesson in laminitis! Dog show people are the same way but just like with horses it is better for a growing dog to be on the lean side rather than the pudgy side.