Fat horses’ weight loss could raise thousands of pounds for charity


    A leading feed manufacturer is urging owners of overweight horses to convert kilos to pounds in aid of Redwings Horse Sanctuary.

    Spillers is “on a mission” to help horses shed excess weight, so is promising to convert kilos lost to pounds donated to the charity.

    The aim is for horses owned by members of the Spillers Slimmers’ Club to lose 100,000kg, or 100 tons, between them. As the weight loss accumulates, it will be converted to a £5,000 boost for Redwings.

    “Our mission for this campaign is threefold,” said Spillers product manager Sarah Nelson.

    “We want to use our knowledge and expertise to help owners of overweight horses and ponies achieve safe, sustainable weight loss, to raise funds to support our favourite charity Redwings and to continue to raise awareness of the need to end equine obesity for good.”

    H&H has reported extensively on the equine obesity epidemic, which is thought by leading vets to be the major welfare issue facing the UK herd. The implications of excess weight include the potentially fatal condition laminitis, as well as increased joint strain, respiratory stress, heat intolerance, an increase in chronic low-grade inflammation in senior horses and reduced fertility.

    “The Spillers Slimmers’ Club was launched last summer to help address the problem of equine obesity in a positive way,” a Spillers spokesman said. “Now, with more than 2,500 members, the motivating and friendly club provides practical support and camaraderie for owners of overweight horses and ponies, to aid them on their weight loss journey. It provides information and advice including weight loss tips, details of how to body condition score and use a weigh tape, diet plans and weight loss records. Club members also receive access to a dedicated Facebook group where they can share their horse’s progress and tips with other owners, get inspired with success stories and post questions for Spillers nutritionists to answer.”

    Over the past 20 years, Spillers has been working with the Waltham Equine Studies Groups and others to investigate links between equine metabolic syndrome, insulin dysregulation, obesity and laminitis.

    Redwings’ head of veterinary services Nicola Jarvis said: “We’re delighted to be working with Spillers on this important initiative and grateful for their support with our work here at Redwings.

    “Fat has long been regarded as just an innocent way to store excess calories, but we now know fat produces chemicals that negatively affect our horse’s metabolism and health, as it does in humans.

    “By helping our horses safely reach an ideal body condition score, we decrease their risk of laminitis and the agony and suffering this condition brings. At Redwings we empathise with the challenges of managing weight, especially in our cobs, Welsh ponies and Shetlands, but getting an honest opinion as to whether your horse is overweight is essential. Don’t wait for laminitis to strike before seeking advice.”

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