Is your horse too fat? Would you like him to shed some pounds?

Nutraceutical company FreeStep Superfix is appealing for 60 overweight horses to take part in a clinical trial to test its new weight-loss plant compound.

“We know it works,” said FreeStep Superfix director Andrea Gentles. “It has been designed to break down adipose tissue — hormonal cells that join together when sugar rises in the blood, causing fat pads and cresty necks.”

Trial horses are required to be overweight or good-doers, with a cresty neck, and on no medication.

They will be measured and weighed by 4 researchers before and after the trials. Owners will be given the compound to feed as well as advice on nutrition, turnout and exercise, to ensure all trialists are on a similar diet. The gut will also be tested, so owners will have to collect and freeze fresh droppings at the start and end of the trial.

Ideally, horses should be based in the Midlands — particularly Staffordshire, Shropshire, Warwickshire and Cheshire — to facilitate data collection, but owners from further afield are encouraged to apply to ensure adequate numbers.

The trial will be run by the Ibers team at Aberystwyth University’s department of animal and microbial scientific research over 4 weeks in April and May. It follows a recent trial of the compound on dogs, 100% of which lost at least 16% of their bodyweight. It will assess the metabolites associated with obesity, equine metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance, and the effect of the plant compound.

This clinical trial will form part of a presentation at the European Society of Veterinary and Comparative Nutrition Congress in Utrecht, 11-13 September.

Contact: Dr Carol Michael, tel: 01286872506