All the fat horses: Experts to weigh in on equine obesity for ‘The Great Weight Debate’

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Shetland pony Dale was significantly overweight when he was taken into World Horse Welfare’s care, but through diet and exercise he was brought back to a healthy weight and this was maintained throughout his long life.
Shetland pony stallion Dale was significantly overweight when he was taken into World Horse Welfare’s care, but through diet and exercise he was brought back to a healthy weight and this was maintained throughout his long life. © World Horse Welfare

If you have a burning question about your horse’s weight, now is the time to ask. Owner questions will be put to a panel of experts early next year in a special interest webinar The Great Weight Debate, being run ahead of Britain’s annual National Equine Forum.

Anyone with an interest in horses, ponies or donkeys is being invited to submit the most pressing question they have on the topic of equine obesity and weight management, directed at any member of the panel or for panel discussion. The panel includes equine vet Dr Lucy Grieve, showing judge David Ingle, equine nutritionist Liz Bulbrook, livery yard owner and coach Beth Maloney, equine welfare officer Penny Baker, and horse owner Helen Gale. The session will be chaired by renowned equine nutritionist Professor Pat Harris with the support of Dr Tamzin Furtado, a social scientist with a special interest in human behaviour change for animals.

Diet and exercise have helped Dale get back into shape.
Diet and exercise helped Dale get back into shape. © World Horse Welfare

The Great Weight Debate will take a practical look at different perspectives on the obese horse, pony and donkey from across the equestrian sector, including the views of a horse owner, livery yard owner and coach, an equine welfare officer, an equine vet, a nutritionist and a competition judge.

“If you are itching to ask one of our panellists a question about equine weight now is your chance,” said Pat Harris. “Our ultimate aim is to identify what may be preventing horse owners and carers from managing horse weight effectively, and how we can all work together to overcome any of the obstacles we may uncover.”

As many questions as time allows will be put to panel members during the debate. A Q&A section will also be added to the NEF website. Conclusions and possible pathways for change will be presented at #NEF21.

The deadline for submitting questions is January 15, but there will also be an opportunity to submit questions during the live panel discussion.

The NEF Great Weight Debate is being sponsored by The British Horse Society, The Horse Trust, Redwings Horse Sanctuary, Spillers and World Horse Welfare. Tickets are £5.

» Submit a question

» Register for the webinar, at 7pm on Wednesday, January 27 (GMT)
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