<h5>Introduction</h5> Obesity is increasingly recognised as an equine welfare issue, and excessive weight may compromise both health and performance. In most instances horses become overweight because they are given the opportunity to consume calories in excess of their energy requirements. Certain breeds/types (e.g. cobs and native ponies) appear to be more prone to weight gain and therefore require even more careful management to try to prevent this energy imbalance from occurring. Evaluating body condition (BC), together with bodyweight, helps to assess and monitor the calorie intake of an individual horse relative to its own energy needs.</P>A recent survey carried out in Scotland on pleasure riding horses reported that 45% were obese (i.e. 5 or 6 on authors' own 6 point scale)  . It is therefore likely that owners are becoming increasingly accustomed to seeing overweight horses and may consider this to be the acceptable norm. This may be especially true with respect to animals within the pleasure section of the equine industry where many horses are not regularly exercised or competed. The objectives of this survey were to assess whether overweight animals also comprise a high proportion of the UK pleasure horses which are being regularly competed,
Journal of Equine Veterinary Science – Elsevier
Published: May 1, 2011
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