Lifesaving diet changes for a cresty & overweight Gypsy Cob

Lifesaving diet changes for a cresty & overweight Gypsy Cob

Lifesaving diet changes for a cresty & overweight Gypsy Cob

When a special review for MetaboLize® caught our eye, we had to know more. We got in touch with Kathryn to ask her about her horse Finn and his weight loss journey to better health. Here is there story, which Kathryn generously shared in the hope that spreading the word will help other horse owners looking for solutions.


A love for heavy horses

Kathryn’s lifelong love of horses began as a girl, volunteering for Napier RDA, and continued as a young woman, when she bought Jo, a dearly loved 6 year old Kaimanawa (NZ wild horse breed) who was ‘a cobby type’ and tended toward being overweight. After suffering from heaves, she was eventually euthanised at 22 due to these health issues. Kathryn says Jo was a simply lovely horse, and looking back now, she lives with a lot of regret that the new knowledge on weight management and metabolic disease in horses that is available now just wasn't as widely available then.

About seven years ago, Kathryn bought two beautiful Gypsy Cob brothers, Raffy and Finn. Initially Kathryn feels she fell for the commonly expressed idea that ‘they’re just a chunky breed’, but when she moved to the Waikato onto an ex-dairy property with rich ryegrass pasture high in sugar and starch, which had been over stocked and stressed as well as being highly fertilized, she knew it was crucial to manage her horses correctly to keep them well.

Looking for equine nutrition help and information

Because of the grief over her Kaimanawa, Kathryn became obsessed with learning how to get her horses healthier.

For the next five years she worked to restrict grazing, building a 450m track system without grass, a large limestone yard, and feeding ad lib hay as is widely advised. She also read everything she could get her hands on including learning more about how starches and sugars (fructans) in grass affect horses, and the ‘wild horse diet’.

A second tragic loss

Raffy, the older brother and the fatter of the two had been doing well, but at rising seven years old he quickly went downhill, and to Kathryn’s horror, he suffered painful metabolic laminitis three times. In the end, the extremely hard decision to euthanise her adored heart horse was unavoidable when he was just 7 years old. Again, despite doing everything by the book, Kathryn felt terribly to blame. She could see that the younger brother, Finn, was also bereft without his lifetime companion, so another young Gypsy Cob named Frankie joined the family.

Cresty neck and fatty lumps appearing

Kathryn now says her obsession increased even more. As Finn approached 8 years old and his growth rate slowed, his weight increased and she could see a cresty neck appearing and fatty lumps on his shoulder and near his tail.

She called Finn’s breeder for advice. The breeder told her that lately Equine Nutritionist Dale Logan of DL Equine’s name kept coming up for her, and now she knew why! She passed on Dale’s name and number and Kathryn got in touch to request a personalised diet.

“I was so impressed” Kathryn said, “right away I had a comprehensive 6 page form to fill in, and just two days later Dale called to consult, and I had the personalised diet very quickly. It included Digestive EQ, lucerne smart chaff, timothy chaff, and measuring and soaking Fynn’s hay morning and night. I found out that I had been making far too much hay available given that there had also been some grass accessible along the track system before I worked to remove it. Ad lib was too much for his situation.”

Life saving changes with expert equine nutrition advice

Kathryn is delighted with the effect of a personalised diet combined with Poseidon’s gut support and metabolic supplements. She says:

“Dale Logan saved my horse’s life. Within 4 weeks he lost 62kg and went from a body condition score of 8 (obese) to 6.5 (just moderately overweight). Frankie lost 50kg in the same time,  and went from a body condition score of 6 to a healthy 5.

Finn continued to steadily lose weight over the next few months and looked so healthy and trim going into spring, meaning he was much safer from the chance of laminitis caused by the NSCs in spring grass.”

“I love how he looks, he is supple and so much healthier! His coat is shiny and softer to touch, and his brittle hooves have improved greatly. After just 4 weeks on his personalised diet, my farrier asked what had changed as his hooves looked so much better! The relief of having both boys on personalised diets and maintaining excellent health and condition is huge.”

Interestingly, before Digestive EQ, Finn was leaving food in his bucket, and now scrapes it clean, which suggests that although he was overweight he was not digesting his food well or comfortable in his gut. This is likely because having a healthier, balanced gut microbiome can boost overall health, including the state of a horse’s coat and hooves through biotin production.

The final addition - MetaboLize®

After five months, Kathryn added MetaboLize® to Finn’s feed and saw a further improvement.

“My Gypsy Cob Finn has lost a huge amount of weight over the last 6 months on his new diet, but although his body condition score had improved so much, he still had some stubborn fatty lumps, especially behind his shoulder and on his crest.

He’s been on MetaboLize® for just under a month, and I’m so happy that his fatty lumps are gradually melting away. His shoulder almost blends seamlessly into his body now!”

One month earlier, before beginning MetaboLize®:


4 weeks later:

A couple of months on:

And Frankie is looking great too!

Happier, healthier horses - and at less cost!

Kathryn said her jaw dropped when she worked out how much she was saving on feed and supplements for her two horses - $85 a fortnight!

The cost of enlisting a great equine nutritionist (DL Equine offer options from NZD$169) and using just the quality supplements that your horse really needs, are well outweighed by the savings you’ll make through not wasting food or over-supplementing, plus you’ll get the biggest bonus of all… a healthy horse who will be able to enjoy their full allocated lifespan in comfort.