For those of us who have ended the summer with a really portly pony or a horse that has enjoyed just a little too much summer grass, all is not lost. The colder winter months are the ideal time to shift the surplus pounds.
One horse owner that took advantage of winter weight loss last season was Alexa Thomson with her rather round 15hh coloured cob Ralph.
Like many natives Ralph was prone to weight gain and every spring since Alexa had owned him his girth had to be let down another hole! Alexa also noticed that Ralph was often the last in the yard to get his summer coat. Determined not to let the same scenario happen again, last autumn Alexa set out to slim Ralph down.
Less rugs, less feed
Alexa didn’t give in to the temptation of piling on rugs when winter set in. Instead Ralph only wore a lightweight rain sheet, which helped him to burn more calories to keep himself warm.
Alexa spoke to an equine nutritionist for advice. She chose a mature hay, which she had analysed to make sure it was low in calories. She weighed it carefully every day to make sure Ralph received a minimum of 1.5% of his bodyweight. To balance the deficiencies in Ralph’s diet he was fed 500 grams of SPILLERS Lite + Lean Balancer mixed with a small amount of low calorie chopped fibre.
Alexa made sure Ralph was exercised every day, with plenty of trotting up hills during hacks and regular schooling sessions. Ralph’s weight loss was unremarkable at first, but slowly as the winter progressed, Alexa started to notice his body shape changing. He lost his crest and the gutter down his back and by February his ribs could be felt easily. By March he was condition scored at a perfect 5 (on the 1 to 9 scale) and as an added bonus not only did Ralph look trim, but his coat was gleaming too!
SPILLERS Lite + Lean Balancer is specially formulated with a broad spectrum of vitamins and minerals to balance a calorie restricted diet. It’s high in amino acids including extra lysine, methionine and threonine to help support lean muscle and topline. It also contains cinnamon, FOS and magnesium to support weight loss and a healthy metabolism and is suitable for those prone to laminitis.
For free, friendly advice on feeding your horse or pony ring the SPILLERS Care-Line on 01908 226626 or visit www.spillers-feeds.com