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Thread: What are the effects of over feeding horses?

  1. #1
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    Default What are the effects of over feeding horses?

    Im just wondering what other people think the effects/impacts either long term or short term are of over feeding horses?Every one has different ways and some people see food as love.

    What are your opinions of over feeding? (eg, a huge bucket of a certain type, or just a huge bucket of any type) and what impacts do you feel it can have on a horse? (eg, not getting nutrients out of it as they force it through etc).

    Its not meant to be a argument starter, I just wondered what everyones opinions were??

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    i dont think that forcing it through would be an issue with the nutrients as horses bodys like ours are clever and will absorb what they need straight away - however the main issues have to be boltingthe food and getting colic and being overweighht ? i would think...
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    There was a horse on my old yard that was stuffed full of feed, three LARGE bowls or coarse mix a day He was like a whale and everyone tried (in various different ways!) to tell her that she would end up killing the horse, either through colic, impaction colic, laminitis, heart attack or any number of other things.

    Being overweight is awful for a horse in my opinion. Terrible for joints, heart etc. I would much rather see a slightly poor horse than an overweight one!
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    Too much hard feed in a bucket is a waste of money, as a lot of it gets pushed through the stomach too quickly and then not absorbed. It can also lead to colic as the grains then ferment in the hind gut where they aren't supposed to be, and cause problems. I was taught 1/2 a normal sized feed bucket max (or two scoops).

    If you're only feeding chaff/alfalfa then it doesn't matter how much as that's forage and isn't digested in the stomach anyway. Sugar beet is the same - forage. My ponies get chaff+beet and although it's usually 1/2 bucket, if it was a little more it wouldn't do them any harm.

    Too much food in total, incl hay etc, leads to obesity and risk of laminitis, strain on joints etc. I go by the 'can't see ribs but can easily feel them' theory, and it works for me! We check condition based on this each time rugs come off for riding (so 3-6x a week), and adjust feed & rugs accordingly.

  5. #5
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    Obesity...
    Insulin resistance...
    Joint damage...
    Colic...
    Teeth damage...
    Poisoning from too high levels of certain elements
    Laminitis,..
    "footyness"...
    Upset stomachs....
    Infertility...
    Epsm....

    Don't start me on it - as an owner of a metabolically challenged pony, it is so frustrating getting and keeping weight down that overfeeding drives me mad

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    I would say in the short term tying up, colic, in the long term, obesity, leading to strain on joints etc. laminitis, deficiencies from not being able to absorb nutrients. something like feed anymore than 2kg of feed at a time and it's useless for weight gain etc.

  7. #7
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    The comments so far seem to be focussing on overfeeding with additional feed to pasture. I don't have this issue with my 2 fatties as they get a token feed of good doer chaff to get their pink powder down them and that's it. The real problem comes in restricting the grazing enough. I see this as more of an issue than over-feeding with an additional bucket feed.

    Of course, then we can also consider the effects not on;y of a pony being overweight, but also of them not getting a balanced diet and having too much or too little of certain vits and mins etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joy View Post
    Of course, then we can also consider the effects not on;y of a pony being overweight, but also of them not getting a balanced diet and having too much or too little of certain vits and mins etc.
    A friend of mine has been feeding all sorts of additional supplements to help her horses feet. They are still having trouble and there appear to be 'lesions' in the hoof. Obviously it's something her farrier is dealing with, but she thinks that she may have been overfeeding iron by giving the horse seaweed every day. Horse doesn't get much of a feed, but it doesn't seem like its been the 'right' nutrients. Incidentally one of the girls at her yard has done a soil analysis and made up a supplement with the things that appear to be lacking.

    I'd say the biggest problems with overfeeding are wastage, risk of colic, and potentially obesity long term. It can also mask other problems such as a high worm burdon/horse struggling to keep warm through lack of rugging/forag- if the horse maintains weight by huge bucket feeds but wouldn't otherwise, a lot of people just stick with the huge feed and don't look at other possibilities (something which i have previously been guilty of).

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