Are you a horse owner struggling with an overweight horse? Well, look no further because we have some useful tips for you! In this video by PurinaMillsTV, Dr. Katie Young, an equine nutritionist with Purina Animal Nutrition, discusses the best ways to help your horse shed those extra pounds. Like in humans, it all comes down to a balanced diet and regular exercise. One method is to decrease your horse’s caloric intake by reducing the total ration, including both hay and grain, by 25 to 30 percent. Additionally, increasing your horse’s exercise can help them start losing weight. Another option is using a feed like Purina Enriched Plus ration balancing horse feed, specifically formulated to be fed in small amounts along with hay or pasture, meeting your horse’s nutrient requirements without adding excessive calories.

For those with very easy keepers, you may need to limit their access to hay or pasture by using a grazing muzzle, a slow intake hay feeder, or turn out only in a dry lot with a measured amount of hay. To learn more about feeding overweight horses and get further information, visit Purina Animal Nutrition’s website at or reach out to their customer service department. Remember, with the right balance of diet and exercise, your horse can achieve a healthy weight and improved well-being!

Understanding the Problem of Overweight Horses

If you suspect that your horse may be overweight, it’s important to pay attention to some common signs. One of the most obvious signs is a noticeable layer of fat covering their ribs. Additionally, an overweight horse may have fat deposits around their tailhead, shoulder, and neck. You may also notice that your horse has a decreased level of energy and stamina during exercise. If you’re unsure whether your horse is facing a weight issue, it’s always best to consult with a veterinarian who can provide a professional assessment.

Being overweight can pose serious health risks for horses. Some of the common health problems associated with overweight horses include an increased risk of laminitis, a painful inflammation of the hoof, which can lead to lameness. Overweight horses are also more prone to developing metabolic disorders such as Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS) and Insulin Resistance (IR). These conditions can have long-term effects on a horse’s overall well-being and may require extensive veterinary care to manage. It is crucial to address weight issues promptly to prevent these health risks from arising.

There are several reasons why horses become overweight. One of the primary factors is overfeeding or providing a diet that is nutritionally imbalanced. Horses that have access to lush pastures or are fed excessively can consume more calories than they can burn off through exercise. Limited exercise due to injury, age, or lack of training can also contribute to weight gain. Some horses may have a genetic predisposition to obesity, making it easier for them to gain weight. Understanding the reasons behind weight gain can help you develop an effective strategy for managing your horse’s weight.

Fundamentals of Equine Nutrition

To maintain a horse’s weight, it’s important to provide them with the necessary nutrients. The basic nutrients required by horses include carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals, and water. carbohydrates serve as the primary source of energy for horses, while proteins are essential for muscle development and repair. Fats provide additional energy and help maintain a healthy coat and skin. Vitamins and minerals play crucial roles in various bodily functions, and water is essential for proper digestion and overall hydration.

Diet plays a significant role in maintaining a horse’s weight. The amount and type of feed provided should be based on their individual needs, activity level, and overall health. For overweight horses, it is necessary to carefully manage calorie intake by providing a balanced diet that is lower in calories. It’s important to avoid giving treats or supplementary feed unnecessarily, as these can contribute to excess weight gain. Consulting with a veterinarian or equine nutritionist can help ensure your horse’s dietary needs are met.

The specific dietary needs of horses can vary based on their age and activity level. Young horses, for example, have higher protein requirements to support their growth and development. Older horses may have unique dietary needs due to issues such as dental problems, which can affect their ability to chew and digest certain types of feed. It’s important to adjust the diet accordingly to meet the changing needs of your horse as they age.

Feeding overweight horses with Purina Animal Nutrition

Adopting a Suitable Diet Strategy

When it comes to managing the weight of an overweight horse, finding the right diet strategy is crucial. Balancing calorie intake and expenditure is key to achieving weight loss. By carefully calculating the calories your horse needs based on their ideal weight and activity level, you can adjust their diet to promote weight loss. It’s important to consult with a veterinarian or equine nutritionist to determine the appropriate calorie intake for your horse’s weight loss goals.

Reducing the overall ration is also a necessary step in managing weight. This can be achieved by gradually decreasing the amount of feed given during each meal. It’s important to monitor your horse’s response to the reduced ration and make adjustments as needed. Rapid weight loss can have negative effects on a horse’s health, so it’s important to proceed with caution and monitor their body condition closely.

Optimal diet composition for overweight horses includes a high-fiber diet with limited starch and sugar content. This can be achieved by providing a well-balanced hay or pasture along with a suitable feed formulated for overweight horses. A balanced diet ensures that your horse receives all the necessary nutrients while avoiding excessive calories. It’s important to follow any dietary recommendations provided by your veterinarian or equine nutritionist to ensure your horse’s weight loss journey is safe and effective.

The Drawbacks of Feeding Excessive Hay

Hay is a staple in a horse’s diet and provides a significant portion of their nutritional needs. However, feeding excessive hay to overweight horses can present certain challenges. While hay is a good source of fiber, which aids in proper digestion and helps maintain a healthy gut, overfeeding hay can lead to an imbalance in nutrient intake. Hay tends to be high in calories, and excess consumption can contribute to weight gain.

Feeding excessive hay can also lead to nutrient deficiencies. When horses consume excessive hay, they may not have enough room in their digestive system to consume other essential nutrients that are needed for balanced nutrition. This can result in an imbalance of vitamins, minerals, and trace elements, which can have negative effects on their overall health and well-being.

Additionally, feeding excessive hay to overweight horses can lead to other health issues. Horses that consume large quantities of hay may be at a higher risk of developing dental problems, such as dental impaction or uneven wear. These dental issues can interfere with a horse’s ability to properly chew their food, impacting digestion and overall nutrient absorption.

Feeding overweight horses with Purina Animal Nutrition

Exercise: A Vital Component in Weight Loss

In addition to dietary changes, regular exercise plays a crucial role in helping overweight horses shed extra pounds. Exercise helps burn calories, promotes muscle development, and improves overall cardiovascular health. It’s important to note that starting an exercise program for an overweight horse should be done gradually and under veterinary supervision.

Suitable exercises for overweight horses include low-impact activities such as walking, trotting, and controlled lunging. These exercises help build muscle strength and endurance while minimizing stress on their joints. Incorporating hill work or walking on varied terrain can further enhance calorie burning and muscle development. It’s important to start with shorter sessions and gradually increase the duration and intensity of the workouts as your horse’s fitness level improves.

The frequency and intensity of workouts should be based on your horse’s fitness level and any pre-existing medical conditions. It’s essential to listen to your horse’s body and monitor their response to exercise. A veterinarian or equine fitness specialist can help design a suitable exercise plan tailored to your horse’s specific needs and weight loss goals.

Introducing Purina’s Enrich Plus Ration

When it comes to providing your overweight horse with a balanced diet, Purina’s Enrich Plus Ration is a valuable option to consider. This specially formulated feed is designed to provide the essential nutrients your horse needs while supporting weight loss efforts.

The Enrich Plus Ration features a concentrated formula that delivers optimal levels of vitamins, minerals, and proteins without adding extra calories. This allows your horse to meet their nutritional needs without consuming excessive amounts of feed. The feed’s unique blend of ingredients supports overall health, including weight management, hoof quality, coat condition, and digestive health.

To complement your horse’s diet, it is recommended to serve Enrich Plus Ration alongside a limited quantity of good quality hay or pasture. This combination ensures your horse receives the necessary fiber while managing their calorie intake effectively. Be sure to follow the serving recommendations provided by Purina to ensure your horse’s nutritional needs are met without promoting excess weight gain.

Feeding overweight horses with Purina Animal Nutrition

Underlying Spike in Nutrients and Reduced Caloric Intake

Purina’s Enrich Plus Ration boasts a concentrated blend of key nutrients to support your horse’s health. The feed contains optimal levels of proteins, vitamins, and minerals essential for muscle development, immune function, and overall well-being. These nutrients help maintain muscle mass while aiding in weight loss efforts.

Proteins are a vital component in promoting muscle development and repair. Purina’s Enrich Plus Ration incorporates high-quality protein sources that are easily digestible and beneficial for horses on weight loss programs. The amino acids derived from proteins are crucial for supporting muscle health and recovery, especially during exercise.

In addition to proteins, the Enrich Plus Ration provides a comprehensive range of vitamins and minerals to meet your horse’s nutritional needs. These micronutrients play essential roles in various bodily functions, including energy metabolism, bone health, and immune system support. By ensuring your horse’s nutrient intake is adequate, you can support their overall health and help prevent deficiencies that can arise during weight loss.

Maintaining caloric balance is a key aspect of managing weight, and Purina’s Enrich Plus Ration helps achieve this. The feed is specially designed to deliver the necessary nutrients while keeping calories in check. By feeding Enrich Plus, you can rest assured that your horse is receiving optimal nutrition while still working towards their weight loss goals.

Modifying Hay or Pasture Intake

To further assist with weight loss efforts, it may be necessary to modify your horse’s hay or pasture intake. Adjusting the quantity of hay or pasture provided can help control calorie intake and promote weight loss. Be sure to consult with a veterinarian or equine nutritionist to determine the appropriate amount of forage for your horse’s individual needs.

Strategizing feeding time and portions can also play a crucial role in managing your horse’s weight. Instead of allowing your horse to freely graze throughout the day, consider implementing scheduled feeding times. This allows you to control the amount of hay or pasture your horse consumes and prevents excessive calorie intake. Splitting the daily ration into smaller meals can be beneficial as it helps mimic a more natural grazing pattern and aids in digestion.

It’s important to monitor your horse’s response to these dietary changes and make adjustments as needed. Regular assessments of their body condition and weight can provide valuable insights into the effectiveness of the modified feeding plan. If necessary, consult with a veterinarian or equine nutritionist to ensure the modifications are aligning with your horse’s weight loss goals and overall health requirements.

Feeding overweight horses with Purina Animal Nutrition

Assisting Weight Loss with Special Tools

In certain cases, additional tools can be utilized to assist with weight loss efforts for horses. Employing a grazing muzzle can be an effective method to limit your horse’s intake of pasture grass. The muzzle allows them to graze but restricts their ability to consume large quantities of grass, thus limiting calorie intake. It’s essential to introduce the muzzle gradually and monitor your horse’s response to ensure they are comfortable and able to drink and eat adequately.

Another tool to consider is a slow intake hay feeder. These feeders are designed to regulate the pace at which horses consume hay, preventing them from overeating and promoting proper digestion. Slow intake hay feeders can be particularly useful for horses that tend to eat hay quickly or are prone to excessive forage consumption. They allow for a more natural feeding experience while supporting weight loss efforts.

For horses on a strict weight loss program, turn out in a dry lot can be beneficial. A dry lot refers to an area without access to lush pasture grass, providing limited grazing options and reducing the calorie intake. Dry lots are especially useful for horses with metabolic conditions or those that have a high risk of weight-related health issues. It’s important to ensure your horse has access to fresh water and appropriate shelter when utilizing a dry lot.


Maintaining a healthy weight is crucial for the overall well-being and longevity of your horse. By understanding the signs of overweight horses, the associated health risks, and the reasons behind weight gain, you can take proactive steps to manage your horse’s weight effectively.

Adopting a suitable diet strategy that balances calorie intake and expenditure, considering the drawbacks of excessive hay feeding, and incorporating regular exercise are vital components of a successful weight loss program. Purina’s Enrich Plus Ration offers a valuable solution to support your horse’s nutritional needs while aiding in weight loss efforts.

By modifying hay or pasture intake, utilizing weight loss assistance tools like grazing muzzles and slow intake hay feeders, and considering turnout in a dry lot, you can further assist in your horse’s weight loss journey.

Remember, always consult with a veterinarian or equine nutritionist to develop a personalized plan for your horse. By prioritizing your horse’s health and well-being, you can ensure a happy and healthy life for your equine companion.

Feeding overweight horses with Purina Animal Nutrition