Romeo & Chou-Chou: A Balanced Bay Case Study
This week’s blog post will focus on a case study. As many of you who follow Balanced Bay are aware, I work with a lot of easy keepers. This case study follows two ponies: Romeo and Chou-Chou.
Equine obesity is a prevalent issue that can be very difficult to manage. I have chosen to share this case study as an example of what precisely calculated nutrition and management changes can do!
These images were taken on March 25th, 2023. The pinto is Chou-Chou and the palomino is Romeo. They are both mature miniature horses.
Below is a chart showing the history of Chou-Chou and Romeo’s weight. It has been a pattern that they lose weight in the summer months but gain substantially over the winter months. So far, this summer has been the most effective weight loss. The goal with these ponies being subscribed to the Personal Nutritionist Package is to ensure that their nutrition program is remaining optimal over the winter months to avoid the excess weight gain that they have previously experienced.
Both Romeo and Chou-Chou were obese in March, their owner was concerned about their weight and their risk of developing hyperinsulinemia-associated laminitis. The farm where the ponies live had both 2021 and 2022 hay that I took samples from. This way we could determine which forage was better suited to their needs.
Based on the laboratory results, it was evident that the ponies should stay on the 2022 hay as it was lower in non-structural carbohydrate content. When their diets were evaluated, they both had minor nutrient deficiencies. Romeo required an increase in chloride and folic acid and Chou Chou required an increase in folic acid. This was primarily addressed with an increase in the ration balancer.
The ration balancer used in this case was a pelleted product, this allowed the owner to remove the additional hay cubes that were being fed as the pellet was palatable enough on its own.
Other recommendations that were made include:
- Increasing exercise
- Decreasing the hole size of the slow feed net
- Regular use of grazing muzzles
- Altering paddock layout to encourage more movement
July 2023 Update
These updated photos of Romeo and Chou-Chou were taken July 1st, 2023.
The owner of these ponies tracks their weight regularly. So based on that information we know that they have a pattern of losing weight over the summer months and gaining in the winter months. Therefore, their owner signed them up for the Personal Nutritionist package offered by Balanced Bay to ensure their plan remains optimal. This will include quarterly meetings to track their progress and changes to their plan as their needs and environment change.
Thank you for reading this week’s blog post! As always, if you have any questions or would like to get your horse started on a balanced nutrition program you can contact me at email@example.com
Written by: Madeline Boast, MSc. Equine Nutrition
About the author: Madeline Boast completed her master’s in Equine Nutrition at the University of Guelph and started an independent nutrition company known as Balanced Bay. She has worked with a variety of equids – from miniature ponies to competing thoroughbreds. Through Balanced Bay she designs customized balanced nutrition plans that prioritize equine well-being. This includes diets for optimal performance as well as solving complex nutritional issues and everything in between. For additional information see www.balancedbay.ca