In last week’s online poll, asked if you’ve ever put a horse on a diet (restricted calories and increased exercise) to aid in his weight loss. More than 680 readers responded and we’ve tallied the results.

Of the 688 voters, 529 (77%) indicated they had, at one time or another, used a diet to help reduce a horse’s weight. The other 159 (23%) indicated they had not. Additionally, 62 respondents provided comments about their individual situations.

Some readers had medical reasons behind their decision to implement a diet for their horses:

  • "I routinely rehabilitate chronically foundered horses and diet management is critical to that."
  • "Not for weight loss but metabolic concerns/issues."
  • "He was diagnosed with Metabolic Syndrome and I needed to carefully watch his weight."
  • "Had an IR mare that developed laminitis–weight loss a matter of life or death!"

Others noted breed predilections for holding weight in their answers:

  • "With Andalusians and ponies on a farm with good grass it’s impossible for them NOT to be on a diet."
  • "My Paint is such an easy keeper she’s on a diet every year before competition season begins."
  • "My Warmblood is prone to being fat so I have to watch his calorie intake closely."
  • "Easy keeper Arab gelding gets fat easily."
  • "Minis are air ferns….mine are no exception!"
  • "POA mare years ago was hard to keep weight off even when restricted and lots or exercise."

Some said they’d either implemented restricted feed or exercise, but not both:

  • "Not so much increased exercise as less calories."
  • "Increased exercise, but never have restricted calories."
  • "Increase in exercise does the trick…lots of rolling hill walking, some trotting."
  • "Sore feet or possible lameness can sure put a damper on the exercise portion of the program!"

Others indicated they’d never had to deal with keeping horses’ weight down:

  • "Both of mine are hard keepers, so I have to work to keep weight on them."
  • "Never had (that) problem. My ponies work and get fed enough for that work."
  • "Hard keeper OTTB? Just the opposite!"

And finally, some were just happy with the results they saw:

  • "It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done but it worked!"
  • "Just like all creatures—healthy weight horses are happier!"
  • "And it has helped so much—my guy is beautiful compared to the obese condition he came to me in!"

The results of our weekly polls are published in The Horse Health E-Newsletter, which offers news on diseases, veterinary research, health events, and in-depth articles on common equine health conditions and what you can do to recognize, avoid, or treat them. Sign up for our e-newsletters on our homepage and look for a new poll on every week!