Horses lacking energy

Although laziness can be a personality trait of some horses, this doesn’t mean there is nothing that can be done. There are many reasons a horse could be lacking energy, such as lacking fitness or stamina, nutritional deficiencies, or being overweight.

Reasons and solutions to lack of energy

  • Boredom - Often a lack of energy can be because your horse is simply not interested in their work, to help this try varying your riding routine and ensure you hack at least once a week.
  • Lack of fitness - if a horse lacks fitness it often struggles to perform the work and appears to be lazy. To help this is important to build up your horse’s fitness over a suitable period of time.
  • Overweight - If a horse is overweight it’s not only going to affect the amount of energy they have but also their overall health. It’s important to encourage healthy weight loss. As the horse approaches a healthy weight they are likely to have more energy as they will feel better in themselves. It is especially important not to overfeed a lazy horse as this can add to the problem and does not provide them with any extra energy as is often believed.
  • Ensure they are not in any pain - Often laziness is misinterpreted, when in fact there is underlying pain. This can be caused by anything from ill-fitting tack to a health condition such as ulcers. It is important to rule these out, especially if your horse is not usually lazy.
  • They are not getting all their nutritional needs met - a deficiency in nutrients, vitamins, and minerals can cause laziness as their immune system and vital systems will not be getting all their needs to function properly. This can be especially prevalent in winter when the nutritional profile of grass is much less.

Top tips for “lazy” horses

  • If your horse normally has enough energy to keep up with work and has suddenly changed – get your vet to have a look at them as it can be a sign of underlying issues
  • Ensure your horse is worked appropriately, and with enough variety
  • Make sure your horse is fed a balanced diet with enough nutrients, vitamins and minerals in it – deficiencies may start with symptoms like laziness or lack of energy and may escalate to weight loss, or more severe conditions
  • Ensure your horse’s behavioural needs are met – do they get enough turnout? Do they have the opportunity to play with friends? A lack of energy may in some cases be caused by behavioural issues