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First Posted July 25, 2008
Feb 14, 2010

Horse Weight Problems? Some Possible Causes

Have you noticed that your horse is losing weight or gaining weight? There can be many causes for both situations. Let's have a look at some of the possible causes for both conditions.

Know Your Horses
  • Is your horse off his feed? (Not eating as usual)
  • Monitor your horse's eating every day.
  • Feces should be checked every day to insure that it is normal. Well formed balls, not loose, no worms, correct color and texture.
  • Attitude change? Listless? Does not want to get up or move about?
  • Injuries?
  • Unthriftiness?
  • Changes in hoof condition?
  • Dull eyes or runny eyes?
  • Starring coat?
  • Use Body Condition Scoring
Causes of Obesity in Horses
  • Dominant horse is eating majority of food.
  • Owner is overfeeding horse.
  • Horse is not being exercised.
  • Weight is used to make a show or sale horse look healthier.
  • Some sort of endocrine condition like Cushing's Disease
  • Breed or horse is an easy keeper and being overfed.
Causes of Thinness in Horses
  • Inadequate quantity of forage
  • Poor quality of forage
  • Horse is being chased, run or bullied.
  • Fear
  • Horse is low in pecking order.
  • Teeth problems
  • Sores in mouth or gum problems.
  • Abnormalities in jaw such as a "parrot mouth."
  • Pain
  • Parasites
  • Disease
  • Horse is not metabolizing food properly.
  • Weather conditions such as extreme heat or cold.
  • Aged horse
  • Breed (hard keeper)

Once the cause of either problem can be determined then the nutritional or medical needs of your horse can be addressed. These two articles may be of help to you in the nutritional needs of your horse:

Feeding Stabled Horses and Horse's Diet Needs

How to calculate your horse's weight: Horse Weight Calculation


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