Tuesday, January 30, 2018
Offending The Natural Order
As the warm season grasses begin to go dormant their carbohydrate content drops and horses lose weight. In short order cool season grasses take off and often have a great deal of simple carbohydrates that can be dangerous, particularly after a mild frost.
Such grasses are more dangerous to an obese horse. It is never good for a horse to be obese but fall and spring are the worse times for a fat horse to be taking in high calorie forage.
Laminitis flourishes in these conditions.
In the dead of winter horses kept under natural conditions loose weight. That puts them in a better position to enjoy the spring grasses without taking on a crippling bout of painful founder.
We do not do our horses a favor by trying to buck ages of environmental adaptation by keeping them fat in the winter. I have never seen research on the matter, but one day I expect to see studies that show that horses who are never allowed to loose weight, as they naturally should, as the summer ends and in the peak of winter are most susceptible to developing insulin intolerance.
It is sad to know that even if this link is proven many horse owners will simply smile and say that they like for their horses to look "healthy" so they keep them fat.
Posted by Steve Edwards