Ever been to a large horse show, trail ride or horse sale and heard, “I feed her plenty. Nothing is wrong with her. Some horses are just skinny,” before?
Have you read over an equine chat forum or social media sales page only to find a raging debate concerning the condition of a horse posted where many a well meaning peace maker, who really just doesn’t know better, seeks to tell someone defending his horse’s condition by saying, “It is Ok” or “That it can happen. Some horses are just hard keepers” before?
Metabolisms vary in all species. People. Horses. All beings.
I mean, we only need to have a conversation with 20 women and their diets compared to their weights to understand that different amounts of food and types of food are needed to let us carry a health weight.
Body types vary, too. It is true in horses, just like in humans.
But we all know that if we had a child that was wasting away, we wouldn’t just chalk it up to, “He is just hard to get weight on,” and we would talk to a medical expert, rule out medical conditions and work on a diet that got the needed calories into the child. Maybe he would always be trim, but there is a very obvious line between radiant health and leanness and not getting enough nutrition.
You cannot feed all horses the same. There are VARIOUS medical issues that may cause weight loss, too.
A horse with all medical conditions addressed and fed the diet RIGHT for him will not look malnourished. It will not happen. If a horse is thin and you’ve exhausted all medical advice, dental work and all diet adjustments possible, you have an animal with an un-diagnosed, serious medical condition. This is something we have NEVER encountered despite hundreds and hundreds of cases, many being senior, so we can only imagine it must be exceptionally rare. If that is the case, the horse’s well being is in question and allowing them to waste away wouldn’t the answer, either.
We do ALL horses a disservice if we perpetuate the idea that “malnourished” is acceptable in winter, in the aged horse, the nursing mare or breeding stallion.
If we are to own horses, we need to first seek knowledge that empowers us to be educated owners able to help others know how to really be good stewards of these amazing animals.
If you ever have nutritional questions, feel free to email us!
(The horse in the image is a Quarter Horse mare who came to us with the line, “We just can’t put weight on her.” This last image shows her today)