Brett shared information on Equine Metabolic Syndrome and nutrition. He had recently attended an overseas veterinary conference and discussed the results of overseas research and how these can be applied to our New Zealand setting.
There was a great turn out, lots of questions and sharing of experiences.
Brett outlined three techniques, which we can use in combination, to access and monitor our horses' condition.
- Use the 9-point scale and body score your horse - aiming for a 4-6 score. (shown below)
- Use the Cresty Neck Score (shown below)
- Measure insulin (there are options for static and dynamic tests to give you a base line)
My other takeaways from this talk were.
- Horses need 1.5% of their weight in forage every day - weigh your hay!
- Keep a diary and use a weigh tape to assess your horses weight every two weeks. Even if it's not accurate it will still give you trend information.
- Work with your vet on a reduction plan, it takes time (think months), and be prepared to make changes based on results.
- Weigh your feed - it's not a coffee cup of this and a handful of that (I'm guilty of this...)
- For my prone to fat pony - a fat rich diet is better than carb rich, canola is a good oil, use low GI or grain free feed. Try to prevent insulin spikes by being consistent with feed and pasture access.
- We're all doing our best :-)
Note - Google will help you find the body score and cresty neck information. and descriptions
Note - these are my notes from the talk - if in doubt or for more information talk to your vet!