Horses, the most famous land animals and one of the oldest of their kind, have a body fat content of 35 to 35% (1). This means they require around 60-250 pounds (2) of water over their long lives. That is roughly the amount of energy that we get from one gallon of gasoline (2).
How is weight loss achieved? The most efficient way is with a low-calorie diet and weight losing supplements and liquids. An increase in calories that are needed to compensate for a loss in weight is called a deficit. As an example, a 100 lb. person using a 200-calorie diet can expect to lose about 4 lbs. (1).
In addition to a low-calorie diet, regular exercise (3) can help in the process of maintaining a steady weight when dieting.
Are there health reasons that horse weight is unhealthy? No, there are no real health risks when trying to lose horse weight, and there are certainly no reasons to get rid of horse weight altogether. This information is mainly being used as a guideline for someone with a horse weighing 8-10 horses (2).
Why is this information about horse weight important? When the weight of a horse drops down to about 10% of its original size, it has to lose fat tissue to maintain this weight. The same process will happen with people when they try to get a body weight down to 10% of their former standard. As the weight of the animal falls to less than 10% of its original size, the energy needs to retain the weight will increase.
1) H.W. McPheeters and T.L. Miller. “H.E.H.S. and the horse.” National Geographic, Feb. 1974. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/archive/1974-02/article/Horse_Weight_Health_and_Nutrition_Diseases/p_847.
2) J.A. Rydstrom and J.D. Heintz. “The Horse.” American Journal of Sports Medicine, 18, 727-72 (1974)
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