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Owners flag equines’ waistlines as a major lockdown concern

Horses’ expanding waistlines is a major concern for owners during the coronavirus lockdown, a survey conducted by a feed company has found.

Fizzy horses, obesity and weight-related complications were among the biggest worries reported by respondents.

Spillers ran the online survey in April, which garnered 372 responses from UK horse owners.

It found that more than half (54%) cited their biggest feed-related concern at the time was weight gain, with 41% worried about laminitis.

While 65% of respondents hadn’t changed their routine, 12% said their horses were now on 24/7 turn-out and 9% were using strip-grazing or a muzzle to limit calorie intake.

It also found that 25% of those who had been previously riding had stopped during lockdown. Among the questions about feed-related concerns, 21% of respondents were worried about fizzy or excitable behaviour, whether on the ground or when riding.

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“We organised the survey to see where and how people might need support and guidance for their horses during this very difficult time,” said Clare Barfoot RNutr, marketing and research and development director at Spillers.

“Obesity and laminitis are serious issues, especially now that the grass is growing in abundance and in particular 24/7 turnout coupled with reduced exercise can significantly increase the risks.

“Now that [British Equestrian] has revised its advice and more people are likely to start riding again, excitable horses and fizzy behaviour may also become a bigger concern.”

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