Months of hard work pays off for rescued morbidly obese ponies

  • Months have hard work have paid off for four morbidly obese ponies, including one who needed to lose the equivalent of two adult humans in weight to become healthy.

    World Horse Welfare’s Belwade Farm rescue and rehoming centre took in the ponies, whose owner was struggling to look after them after the death of her partner, their main carer.

    “All four were coping with a number of welfare issues, including poor feet and parasite burdens, and all were morbidly obese,” a spokesman for the charity said.

    “Excess weight is often overlooked as a welfare concern but being overweight puts horses at risk of a number of conditions, such as the excruciatingly painful and potentially fatal illness laminitis, as well as putting huge extra strain on their joints. Any horse coming into one of the charity’s Rescue and Rehoming Centres will need a long, slow rehabilitation and, if overweight, this can take many months.”

    Five-year-old Bombay (pictured) weighed “an astonishing” 610kg on arrival. He and his companions Chancer, Max and Fontelroy were assessed and put on weight-loss programmes, with restricted diets and exercise gentle enough to avoid strain on their joints.

    “After months of gradual weight loss, rehabilitation and learning basic handling and manners, essential to enable these ponies to be rehomed successfully, Max and Fontelroy are now happily rehomed together,” the spokesman said. “Bombay has recently been rehomed as a companion and Chancer, having returned to Belwade following his rehomer’s change in circumstances, is recovering from a small operation. It is hoped that once he has made a full recovery he will be available for rehoming once again.”

    Belwade centre manager Eileen Gillen said that in many ways, it is harder to deal with overweight than underweight horses.

    “It is a real challenge to help them lose weight and increase their mobility,” she said. “Weight loss is crucial but must be done slowly and carefully and it is likely that these ponies will need their diet manged carefully for the rest of their lives.

    “Also, Bombay and Chancer, like so many of the ponies that come in, were not used to being handled, and hefty stallions will use their weight whenever they don’t want to cooperate. It’s a real testament to the teams here that these ponies came round so quickly and accepted handling and learned manners, making it easier for us to help them, but also ensuring that they have a future.”

    You might also be interested in:

    Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday, is packed with all the latest news and reports, as well as interviews, specials, nostalgia, vet and training advice. Find how you can enjoy the magazine delivered to your door every week, plus options to upgrade your subscription to access our online service that brings you breaking news and reports as well as other benefits.

    You may like...