Shaming was a way for people in the past to look at those with excess body fat. Excess body fat on people is now considered normal and accepted as a part of normal health and life. The same is happening with our horses. Today, most people want extra fat on their horses and consider this a sign of health. But is excess body fat healthy? Do we see excess body fat on healthy, thriving older people or horses?
The excess body fat represents the body’s efficiency in storing excess calorie consumption for use later when calories are not available. The mechanism for doing this is complex, but the efficiency comes from generations of improvement through genetics. However, what complicates this is the abundance of readily available food sources every day of the year. The consequence of this is the storage of overabundant fuel as body fat. Everything is working perfectly for the future ice age several thousand years from now when the thin horse will die sooner than the fat horse.
As long as there isn’t an ice age, the thin horse will survive and thrive longer than the fat horse because the downside of excess body fat is the propensity for unsoundness and illness. Fat horses don’t thrive while the food remains available. In this podcast, I review why it is important to reduce body fat and increase protein intake to Help Horses Thrive In A Human World.