Mild winter makes The Archers storyline even more timely

Overweight horse from behind
  • The Archers shines a spotlight on the problem of maintaining a healthy weight for horses and ponies. 
  • Mild weather has meant that usual, natural winter weight loss is not happening for many horses. 

A current storyline on the popular Radio 4 soap opera, The Archers, focuses on an overweight pony and is highlighting why this is a problem for the pony and what his owners can do to solve it. The storyline is welcomed by equine welfare charity World Horse Welfare who say that excess equine weight is a significant problem that many owners struggle with. 

Champion the fluffy Shetland pony was introduced to The Archers listeners on Wednesday 3 January but when he was being groomed it was discovered that he wasn’t as fluffy as it first seemed. In fact, he was carrying too much weight, and his owners were advised to give him more exercise to help him lose some of the extra inches.  

Sam Chubbock, Head of UK Support at World Horse Welfare, said:

“It is natural for horses and ponies to lose a little weight over winter, before putting it back on again with the flush of spring grass. This winter has been very mild – and wet – and in many places grass is still growing and providing calories. 

Maintaining a horse at a healthy weight can be very difficult and one of the most common health issues owners struggle with is their horses being overweight. With this winter’s weather it is looking like the spring could prove an extra challenge for anyone trying to maintain their horse at a healthy weight.” 

Although many owners know that their horse shouldn’t carry excess weight, the difficulty is often in recognising what a healthy condition looks like as, unfortunately, it has become commonplace for horses to carry more weight than they should. 


Thick winter coats, rugs and mud can make it harder to see a horse’s body condition but there is plenty of helpful information available on condition scoring and how to manage weight on World Horse Welfare’s website, including webinars, videos and a downloadable leaflet HERE.


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