Obesity is at epidemic proportions for horses nowadays. It may start with overfeeding combined with too little movement. But is can also be due to genetics, environmental toxins, and stress.
Insulin resistance and overweight often go hand in hand. And the frightening this is, elevated insulin can lead to laminitis, which we want to avoid at all costs.
Body fat also causes another hormone, called leptin, to rise. Leptin is secreted by the adipose (fat) tissue; it tells the brain to stop eating. But when the brain becomes resistant to leptin, it doesn't get the message that the horse is no longer hungry.
Removing hay from the horse's diet will result in muscle loss, the likelihood of ulcer formation, and massive amounts of inflammation caused by stress and the oxidative reactions that occur within the body because of it.
Instead of making things worse, the materials below focus on how to reverse insulin and leptin resistance when dealing with overweight horses. The goal is not just to lose weight, but to lose it properly with a healthier horse as the outcome.
Dr. Getty provides insights on relevant nutrition research and how it impacts your horses' health.
Listen to Dr. Juliet Getty, special guest on Jim Swanner's, "All About Horses" radio program or Monty Roberts' Horsemanship radio as she discusses the following topic(s). Recordings are each 30 minutes in length.
To receive free bi-monthly articles and news to help meet your horse's nutritional needs, consider subscribing to Forage for Thought - Dr. Getty's email newsletter. You may opt-in here - and may unsubscribe at any time.