Selen Dar

Muscle-Building Workout and Diet

SARAH: What’s the best exercise for an overweight
horse? She’d like to have something she can do that
doesn’t take too long, but she wants to be able to do it every day. She’s at the barn every day, which I think
is fantastic. And she very sweetly says that her horse is
a little chubster, and she’d like to have an efficient exercise that they can do so
that she can make sure he’s maintaining or achieving a healthy weight. DR LYDIA GRAY: Well, I looked– again, the
Horse Health Library – great articles, if I say so myself. SARAH: And they’re written by you. DR LYDIA GRAY: Yeah, they’re written by me. And then the Ask the Vet blog has good stuff. And so I– that’s where I go for information
because this is not the first time I’ve been asked this question. And so I have two blogs. One’s called “Exercising the Easy Keeper,”
and the other one’s “Turnout Time vs Exercise.” Let me start with that one because that one
actually shocked me a little bit. And I answer her, buy a lottery ticket! This is your day! So there was a study out of Virginia, and
what they found is that horses turned out– not in dry lots or paddocks– but in a pasture. So big, large, rolling, pastures. And I know not everyone has that, but it’s
a start. Horses turned out on pastures have the same
fitness as horses that were stalled and exercised. So they had three groups. They had the just pasture turnout over the
winter. SARAH: No riding. DR LYDIA GRAY: No. Group number two was stalled and then daily
exercise. And then group three was just stalled. So clearly, group three went down in their
fitness and other parameters they measured, but groups one and two were the same. I thought that was really interesting. SARAH: So your horse will sort of take care
of himself left to his own devices. DR LYDIA GRAY: When you make his environment
more like nature intended. What we do though is we stall them, and sometimes
we stall them with runs. And better, we stall them with runs and paddocks. But it’s still a small, flat, contained area. And they really do better when they can walk
at their own pace and walk up and down and around and run a little bit because somebody
was chasing them. SARAH: Or they thought they heard a treat
bag. DR LYDIA GRAY: Yes. And I’m guessing maybe her horse would do
that. SARAH: It seems like maybe. DR LYDIA GRAY: The other one, “Exercising
the Easy Keeper” – you should read this one because there’s too many studies for us to
go over today. But they did find– a key thing was you have
to keep exercising. So daily is good. You don’t have to go for hours and hours. A lot of these were 30 minutes of walking
and trotting. But when they quit exercising– I think it
was after nine days– the horses went back to their original level of fitness. So the important thing is daily, short, intense–
if your horse is ready for it– but keep up. Don’t stop. SARAH: OK. I think one of the things that I want to give
Jessica credit for is I think there are a lot of horses– you say you get these questions
a lot because there are a lot of horses out there that are overweight. And Jessica’s doing a great job being conscious
of knowing that it’s important for her to help her horse lose that weight. What are some of the impacts if people don’t
take that as seriously and think, oh, fat horses are cute horses, and they’re happier. Well, when you’re carrying too much weight,
it’s hard to dissipate heat. So they’re going to struggle more when it
gets hot in the summers or in Florida, California. They also are more prone to laminitis because
their hooves aren’t increasing in size, but yet they’re carrying more pounds in that square
inch. And you can set yourself up also for some
actual conditions– not diseases so much– but like Equine Metabolic Syndrome, which
includes Insulin Resistance. And that’s a key factor in exercising. Exercise has been shown to make your body
more sensitive to the effects of insulin. Your question’s a good one because by exercising
and by keeping the weight off, you’re scientifically helping your horse from the inside. And you’re seeing the effects on the outside. SARAH: Right. So it’s not just about vanity so your horse
has a nice beach body, but it’s for his long-term health and wellness and soundness. DR LYDIA GRAY: Yeah. Keeping your metabolism working right and
your musculoskeletal system and just everything. It’s good. Oh, can I say one more thing about this? SARAH: Yes. DR LYDIA GRAY: Small hole hay net. SARAH: Also the good friend of this guy, the
easy keeper, the chubster if you will. DR LYDIA GRAY: And he won’t hate you for it. They actually like having to go get their
hay from the bag because it simulates grazing. SARAH: Sure. Absolutely. OK. Well, there you go. Small hole hay nets for everyone. DR LYDIA GRAY: Not me. SARAH: We don’t need that. We can control ourselves. We can convince ourselves of that anyway.

3 thoughts on “Ask the Vet – Best exercises for an easy keeper

  1. That's surprising that keeping horses in big fields makes them fit mine is kept in a huge field 24/7 so glad I know it's helping him

  2. Oh wow! Thank you for the information! My horses used to be in small paddocks and gained A LOT of weight! But now they have been moved to a semi large pasture of 50 acres with 3 horses… and trust me my buds get lots of exercise because they chase each other a lot and especially recently because they have been fighting for dominance lately so I've been contemplating whether I should move the horse that's fighting to the upper pasture… but I'm concerned he won't get much exercise while alone…. he tends to lay down and paw when separated, I'm afraid he might crush himself one time while laying down too long 🙁

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