Running Cool Blog

Horse Nutrition: 4 Common Reasons for Weight Loss

Cameron Jensen - Monday, November 07, 2016

Unless your horse is an easy keeper, you’ll need to take an active role in maintaining their body weight and condition with correct feeding and careful management. However, in order to do this, you must first understand what causes weight loss in horses. In this article, we share the four most common reasons why horses lose weight that aren’t directly related to diet.

1. Poor dentition 

If your horse is losing weight unexpectedly, the first thing you should check is their teeth. Poor dentition leads to oral disease and sharp enamel points; both of which make chewing difficult, if not painful, for your horse.

The horse has evolved to eat course roughage that requires grinding by the upper and lower cheek teeth. If your horse has difficulty chewing, proper digestion is impeded, which limits the energy and nutrients they receive.

2. Ineffective parasite control

Horses and worms can live in relative harmony. However, if your horse has a high worm burden, this can lead to ill-health and weight loss as they damage your horse’s intestinal lining and even compete for nutrients.

It’s critical you ensure your horse is being treated for the parasites present on your property, otherwise worming is simply ineffective. The best way to do this is to conduct a faecal egg count upon worming, followed by a faecal egg count reduction test.

3. Stress

Just like us, our horses experience stress. This can stem from a number of reasons, including social if they are housed separate from other horses and workload if they are kept in moderate to high intensity work.

To alleviate stress, you should consider changing some of the ways you manage your horse. It’s crucial your horse has access to the three F’s - friends, forage and freedom. Paddock mates, unlimited access to forage and regular turnout lead to happier, healthier horses.

4. Disease or illness

Finally, disease and illness can drastically reduce your horse’s appetite or affect nutrient absorption. You should check your horse’s vital signs regularly and watch their behaviour, so you can easily identify when something isn’t quite right.

At Running Cool, we genuinely care about your horse’s health and wellbeing. Our superior horse feed range supports your horse at every stage of life with well-balanced vitamins, minerals and protein for pleasure and performance. Click here to learn more.