Seeing as the lovely tilly has done insanely well on her diet that we drew up for her, and Megan kindly gave me permission to use her photos,
I thought I would try to tackle my current bug bear with horses!!! Weight loss!!
I have attached the before and after pics of tilly....think its obvious which is which....the one where she is stuffing her face with grass is before! :-P Cheers x
Our animals are facing a problem of massive proportions. The general population of horses are getting fatter and fatter! It can be exceptionally difficult to notice whether your horse is overweight as we have been conditioned to see the overweight horse as "show condition", and "normal". It can be even more difficult to accept that they are overweight when someone tells you.
Having previously been the owner of an exceptionally overweight Thoroughbred x hackney pony, I know all too well the pitfalls that we all fall into; "he needs that hard feed all through the summer, he looks hungry without it", "if I give him any less hay then he goes hungry", "he loves his carrots...how bad can they be?".....I'm sure that some, if not all of these ring true with most of the horse owning public.
We are all aware of the potential for serious and life threatening diseases associated with obesity in man, but seem to ignore the risks when it comes to our beloved horses. Next time your vet sees your horse, ask them for an honest opinion on your horses weight! We don't tell people their horses are overweight to upset or offend, but purely because we, as a profession, will always have the health and wellbeing of our patients at the centre of every piece of advice we give.
Tilly, a 12 year old 14hand dales cross pony, owned by our very own Megan and her mum Marion who work at our Hawkhurst and Ashford branches respectively. Tilly is an eventer, who at the end of the season came down with a virus. As a result, she was pampered, and had time off of work. Megan became concerned about her weight and asked for our help. We estimated that tilly currently weighed 500kg, and would potentially have up to 100kg to loose. A daunting prospect for any owner. After bloods revealed that there were no concerns for her health, a very strict diet and exercise regime was carefully drawn up for her, including box confinement, daily exercise (sometimes even twice daily), carefully weighed quantities of hay and various techniques to slow down her eating time. After approximately 2 weeks, the results are already showing! Tilly has lost a very healthy 30-40kg and Megan is delighted with how much life and energy she has again! She still has some way to go, but we are delighted with her results so far!
If you are concerned about your horses weight, then please contact your local branch of Milbourn where we will be more than happy to advise. It may be necessary to come and visit your horse or pony (or donkey) to enable us to be sure that there are no underlying medical issues that could prevent us recommending certain products, this will also help us tailor make your diet plan to suit your situation.
I hope Tilly's story serves as inspiration to those of us who see helping our horse losing weight as an impossible task