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Research article2018Peer reviewedOpen access

Owner reported management, feeding and nutrition-related health problems in Arabian horses in Sweden

Larsson, Annie; Mueller, Cecilia Elisabeth


A survey of feeding and management routines and feed-related health problems of Arabian horses in Sweden was performed using a web-based tool. The purpose of the study was to collect data on feeding and management routines from owners of Arabian horses through a cross-sectional study, in order to be able to describe the current situation and if possible find associations among certain feeding and management routines and related health problems. Descriptive statistics and prevalence of health issues were reported for a five year period 2010-2014). The final data set included 454 Arabian horses corresponding to ca eight percent of the registered Arabian horses in Sweden. Most of the horses (64%) were used for hobby riding with light or moderate exercise intensity. Most respondents (60%) did not calculate any feed rations. The majority of the horses (58%) were fed haylage from big bales followed by small bale hay (32%), but feeding more than one forage type was common. Ad libitum access to forage was reported for 25% of the horses. Concentrates were given to three quarters of the horses, and of these 92% were fed less than 1 kg concentrate per day and horse. Loose-housing systems were used for one-fourth of the horses, while individual boxes in stables during night time and spending daytime in fields or paddocks was used for the remaining three quarters. The three most common feed-related health issues were colic (20%), oral cavity problems (10%) and airway problems (7%) during the five year period. The prevalence and cause of oral cavity problems may require further research. The most common reported stereotypy was box-walking which was reported for 4% (n=18) of the horses during the five year period. In conclusion, Arabian horses in Sweden were fed comparably low amounts of concentrates, and incidence of health issues such as colic and airway problems was comparable or lower compared to incidences in other horse populations as described in the literature.


Colic; Concentrates; Equine; Forage; Oesophageal obstruction; Nutrition

Published in

Livestock Science
2018, Volume: 215, pages: 30-40