Skinny horses are unhealthy. You need to ensure your horse eats well and has no health issues at all times. Knowing what to feed your skinny horse for an amazing before and after transformation, will help!
In this article, I show you how to tell if your horse is underweight, explain what could lead to this condition, and share how changing your horse’s diet can make a difference!
How To Tell If Your Horse Is Underweight
You can’t ask your horse to step on the bathroom scale for a weight checkup! Horse-sized scales are also expensive and typically not owned by private owners.
Luckily, there are other ways to tell if your horse is underweight. You need to regularly check your horse to ensure they’re in good health. Weight loss is subtle and slow for many horses. When most owners realize their horse is losing weight, trouble is already near.
The Body Condition Score
An underweight horse has angular lines. This means that everything that’s usually rounded isn’t anymore. According to the BCS, there are 6 areas you can evaluate to determine if your horse is losing weight.
On the BCS, a score of 1 means your horse is emaciated, and a score of 9 means they’re extremely overweight. A healthy horse falls on a 5 or 6, whereas race horses usually fall on a 4. The key areas you need to evaluate on your horse are the:
- Back of Shoulders
Neck: A horse’s neck that scores a 5 on the BCS will blend smoothly into their body. An underweight horse’s neck will be accentuated.
Withers: On a healthy horse, the withers will be rounded, while it will be more angular on an underweight one.
Ribs: A horse’s ribs should be felt but not seen if it’s healthy. On an underweight horse, the ribs will be easy to see.
Tailhead: The back of a healthy horse should be level, and their tailhead should feel somewhat spongy. An underweight horse’s tailhead will stick out, and you may even be able to see individual vertebrae sticking out on their back.
What To Do If Your Horse Is Underweight
If your horse shows signs of being underweight, you need to find the reason for their condition. Horses who lose weight due to poor nutrition can be helped with quality horse feed. If you can’t pinpoint the issue to food, you’ll need to call for a medical assessment.
Here are more reasons why your horse might be underweight:
An equine dentist should check your horse’s teeth about once a year. If your horse has an infection, chewing food will be extremely painful. Ulcerations and inflammation in their mouth can also cause problems. Check for food being dropped as if avoiding a painful area. Foul-smelling breath and facial swelling are also indicators of dental issues. A dental appointment should be scheduled as soon as possible to treat the problem and help your horse regain weight.
Stress can be caused by many factors. A nervous horse will also not eat very well. Boredom and fear can cause weight loss, and your horse might avoid eating if they feel lonely. Consider the causes of stress in your horse’s environment, and make a plan to improve it.
Parasites like intestinal worms and botflies can cause havoc on a horse’s health. Parasites steal a horse’s nourishment. Itching and a loss of appetite from this can contribute to weight loss.
The Best Diet For Weight Gain: Skinny Horse Before And After
Being underweight can cause its own set of problems for your horses. Serious nutritional deficiencies and health concerns can be caused by being underweight for too long. It’s essential to note that feeding too much to a starving horse will cause more problems than it will solve. Undertaking weight gain in a starving horse must be done under veterinary care. If your horse is simply a bit underweight, this process can be done on your own. There is no set way to help your horse gain weight. However, here are a few things you can do:
Forage: Considering that a horse’s diet consists mainly of forage, this is usually the best way to increase their weight. You should feed your horses better quality hay while also increasing the amount. Ensure the pasture your horse is in has better quality grass so they’ll receive the correct quantities of nutrients, calories, and fiber.
Weight Gain Feed: Look into bolstering the fat content of your horse’s feed to help them regain lost weight. Adding fats is the most efficient way to help your horse gain pounds. Adding fats is also safer than overfeeding. Look for products that contain a high concentration of fats and added amino acids, vitamins, and minerals.
Fat Supplements: Adding fat supplements to your horse’s diet is a great choice. These concentrates can offer valuable calories. Adding too much to a single meal can cause health issues. Don’t expect immediate improvement, but rather aim to see gradual results to ensure a healthy horse.
Adjusting their diet is the best way to help your horse regain weight. If their feed isn’t the issue, you’ll have to ask a vet for a health-related diagnosis.
I hope this article was helpful and that you have an easier time checking up on your horse’s weight with this information. If you have any other questions, ask them in the comments!
How long does it take for a skinny horse to gain weight?
Gaining weight is a gradual process for horses. If you overfeed your horse, they may develop other health issues, so be patient.
How do I fatten up my skinny horse?
The best way to fatten up your skinny horse is by changing their diet. If their diet isn't the problem, you'll have to have them checked for medical or dental issues.
Is it okay to ride an underweight horse?
Riding an underweight horse is dangerous and cruel. Your horse could buckle under your weight leading to injuries for you and them.
How can you tell if a horse is too skinny?
The best way to tell if your horse is too skinny is by measuring their Body Condition Score