Owners are being urged to keep an eye on their horses’ weight this winter after results of this year’s National Equine Health Survey (NEHS) suggested that equines are getting heavier.

The survey, run by the Blue Cross, showed that 16.9% of horses and ponies were reported to be overweight, more than double last year’s figure of 7.8%.

The survey also showed that 59% of respondents assess their horse’s weight regularly, with 85% using a weight tape.

“While the increase may be a result of this year’s mild winter and good grass growth, it may also be attributable to the fact that owners are becoming more adept at recognising overweight horses,” said Clare Barfoot, of Mars Horsecare.

“But, whatever the reason, the associated health risks are alarming.”

This news story was first published in H&H magazine on 11 September 2014