Emma Williams got in touch to arrange a diet clinic after her horse, Jake, was diagnosed with EMS. “I keep him on a cattle farm” explained Emma, “where the grazing is fantastic but not ideal for a 15hh Connemara who’s a good-doer! He gradually piled on the pounds and before I knew it he was very round!”
The pictures below show Jake being lunged in the summer of 2013 and at the start of his weight loss programme in February 2014 – as you can see he’s carrying plenty of condition!
Dengie Nutritionist, Claire Akers visited Emma and Jake in February 2014 where Jake weighed in at 517kg and was given a condition score of 5 (fat – on a scale to 5 CS Chart). “I recommended a diet of Healthy Hooves Molasses Free, which is low in calories, sugar and starch – ideal for horses and ponies who have been diagnosed with Equine Metabolic Syndrome or laminitis. It’s a complete fibre feed so it was easy to tell Emma exactly how much she needed to be feeding to Jake.”
Claire also advised Emma further on his dietary management, “Religiously weigh and soak his hay. You’ll be surprised at how much a section of hay weighs and the calories hidden within. Soaking his hay will also help to reduce the sugar and starch, essential for horses prone to laminitis, EMS and PPID. To help reduce his grass intake I also advised Emma that Jake wear a grazing muzzle whilst turned out.”
For horses and ponies diagnosed with EMS exercise is an important part of their management regime. “Before Jake was diagnosed with EMS I did regularly ride and lunge him,” explained Emma, “however, I did gradually increase his workload riding him for an hour or more each day either schooling, hacking or lunging. This also really helped his weight loss programme.”
During 2014 Claire regularly visited Emma and Jake to monitor their progress and the chart below plots their progress. Jake’s weight loss did level out during the summer months due to nutritious rich grass and warmer weather. However, progress was made as autumn kicked in with the arrival of colder weather, less nutrients in the grazing and restricted turnout due to wet weather.
“I can’t believe the difference in him” says Emma on Jake’s transformation. “He’s lost an incredible 99kg, it’s been hard work but I’ve been determined and it’s paid off – he looks and feels fantastic! I’m really looking forward to the start of the show season where I plan to enter us in some local showing and dressage classes, where he can show of his new figure!”