Return to Website

Ask the Nutritionist: Dr. Getty's Forum for Equine Nutrition

   Welcome to my forum. 

Here you will find more than 6 years of questions and my answers. It is searchable and offers a great deal of information. 

Currently, I am discontinuing new questions. This may change in the future, but in the meantime, please know that It has been a true pleasure serving you. 

Take a look at my Nutrition Library and Tips of the Month for a variety of answers on selected topics. Be sure to sign up for my monthly e-newsletter, Forage for Thought

I also have a growing number of recordings on "Teleseminars on Nutrition Topics that Concern You" as well as the new, Spotlight on Equine Nutrition Series -- printed versions of favorite teleseminars.

And finally, look for my articles in a variety of local publications and online newsletters, as well as the Horse Journal, where I am the Contributing Nutrition Editor.  


All the best,

 Dr. Getty 


Ask the Nutritionist: Dr. Getty's Forum for Equine Nutrition
This Forum is Locked
Weight loss for an older mare

What can i feed my mare to make her lose weight? I mean - common sense would say feed nothing right? I worry that she will explode one day - she really is quite a heavyweight cob so is very stocky and weight carrying anyway - i think she has had babies as she has that odd shaped belly. Last time we got a weight tape out - it barely went round her - so she is right at the top end of the scale. She is 14.2h with big chunky legs.

My horses are living out together and one needs feeding up and the other needs slimming down. The slim one is on lucerne nuts (soaked), unmollassed beet, linseed and a feed balancer with seaweed in it. The heavy one gets a little bit of the same in a bucket but only a small amount so she doesnt feel put out. They both have carrots and or apples as well in their feed.

The heavy mare is 23 years old and also has arthritis.


Re: Weight loss for an older mare

Hi Sam,

OK, let's think this through.....

Here's her description:
1. Overweight
2. Arthritis
3. Senior -- 23 years old

She is very likely insulin resistant -- maybe even pre-cushings. So, the first step would be to cut out anything that has sugar or starch, such as those delightful apples and carrots -- sorry . Oh, she can have a small piece now and then, but not every day.

Next, if she's getting any linseed oil, you'll want to stop that. She doesn't need the concentrated calories found in oil.

I would give her the lucerne and a small amount of beet pulp. And, the balancer is a good idea, as well. She does need to eat -- just because she's overweight, doesn't necessarily mean that she has all the nutrients she needs. So, quality is the key. Lucerne is the best ingredient. The beet pulp will add some bulk to her diet and also calories. You know, instead of beet pulp, you could consider a lucerne chaff. It adds bulk and "chewing time" without much in the way of calories.

Her arthritis is due to being overweight, having old joints, and not enough exercise. It's a vicious cycle. So, a joint supplement would be very helpful for her -- preferably one that contains HYA -- hyaluronic acid. Just be careful that you are not overdosing other nutrients from the joint supplement with the balancer. And, then see if you can get her to move a little more than usual.

Weight loss takes a long time in a horse -- especially the easy keepers. So, be patient.

Hope this helps!!!

Dr. Getty