horses becoming serious welfare issue warns The Blue Cross
animal welfare charity The Blue Cross is warning horse owners of
the fatal dangers of fat horses. Last year alone a phenomenal 45
per-cent of the charitys total intake of horses and ponies
were classified as seriously overweight and subsequently four of
this number had to be destroyed due to weight-related illnesses
Currently The Blue Cross has 52 horses and ponies undergoing rehabilitation
at its specialist equine centre at Burford, Oxfordshire. More than
half of these are on a regime of restricted management because of
a 15-year-old, 12hh, native pony was a perfect childs pony
with a long future ahead of her. She became very overweight after
a period of not being exercised and was eventually handed over to
The Blue Cross suffering from a severe case of laminitis
a painful hoof condition often associated with obesity. Although
everything possible was done to bring Bally back to full health
and fitness the severity of her condition and her lack of quality
of life dictated that euthanasia was the kindest option.
Richings, Equine Centre Manager at The Blue Cross explains: There
is a growing welfare issue, not so much with underweight horses
and ponies but with those not managed correctly in accordance with
their breed, age, size and workload. The result is an overweight
animal, which is incapable of any ridden work and ends up being
handed over to charities such as The Blue Cross for rehabilitation.
Many such horses and ponies prove very difficult to re-home as they
require very careful future management to ensure that weight-gain
and its associated problems dont recur.
Webb-Bowen, Director of Equine Welfare at The Blue Cross continues:
We are in full support of laminitis specialist Robert Eustaces
recent attack on the showing world and the growing fashion for overfed
horses. We believe that this is having a severely detrimental knock
on effect throughout the equestrian world. Many owners seem not
to understand the difference between fit and fat and incorrectly
believe that healthy horses should carry plenty of weight as these
are the types they see winning showing classes.
you would like any guidance on how to keep your horse or pony fit
and not fat please telephone The Blue Cross Equine Welfare Centre
on 01993 822454.
Blue Cross is Britain's pet charity, providing information, advice
and practical support for pet and horse owners. Through its network
of animal adoption centres it rehomes thousands of animals each
year. Its hospitals provide veterinary care for the pets of people
who cannot afford private vets' fees.