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Why Is My Horse Fat But His Ribs Are Visible?

Having a fat horse is not uncommon but it can be concerning when their ribs are still visible. This is usually a sign that something is wrong with the animal’s diet or lifestyle. In this article, we will explore the possible causes of why a horse is fat but his ribs are still visible, and how to address the issue.

Signs of an Unhealthy Weight

The first sign that your horse may be overweight is that you can still see their ribs. This is a telltale sign that the horse is carrying more weight than is healthy for them. Other signs include a pot-bellied stomach, a thick neck, or a crease along their back. If your horse is exhibiting any of these signs, it’s time to take action.

Common Causes of Horse Weight Gain

There are several common causes for weight gain in horses. The most common is overfeeding. Many owners will give their horse too much feed, which can lead to weight gain. Other causes include lack of exercise, poor diet, or poor metabolism. Additionally, some horses may have an underlying medical condition, such as Cushing’s disease, which can contribute to weight gain.

Assessing the Problem

When your horse is fat but his ribs are visible, it’s important to assess the problem in order to find the right solution. Start by examining the horse’s diet and lifestyle. If your horse is not getting enough exercise, increase the amount of exercise they are getting each day. If your horse is eating too much, reduce their portion sizes and switch to a more nutritious diet. If the problem persists, consult with your vet to rule out any underlying medical issues.

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Creating a Weight Loss Plan

Once you’ve assessed the problem, it’s time to create a weight loss plan for your horse. Start by reducing the amount of feed your horse is getting each day. If your horse is not getting enough exercise, try to increase their daily activity level. Additionally, consider switching to a more nutritious diet, such as one that is high in fiber and low in sugar and starch.

Evaluating Progress

Once you’ve implemented a diet and exercise plan for your horse, it’s important to monitor their progress. Take regular measurements of their weight and body fat percentage. Additionally, assess their condition by looking for any signs of improvement in their energy level and muscle tone. With regular evaluations, you should be able to determine whether or not the plan is working.


Having a fat horse but seeing their ribs is a sign that something is wrong. The cause is usually related to the horse’s diet or lifestyle. To address the issue, assess the problem, create a weight-loss plan, and evaluate progress. With the right diet and exercise plan, you can help your horse reach a healthy weight and improve their overall wellbeing.