HorseQuest Learning Lesson: Equine Metabolic Syndrome

Researchers believe that certain breeds or individual horses are predisposed to Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS). These horses are often referred to as “easy keepers” by their owners. These horses are very efficient at utilizing calories and often require a lower amount of energy to maintain body weight than other horses.

Equine Metabolic Syndrome is characterized by three main features:

  1. Obesity or regional adiposity (accumulation of fat in certain areas, particularly the neck);

  2. Insulin resistance (IR) a “pre-diabetic” like state;

  3. Laminitis in horses and ponies.


This learning lesson is a self-directed course designed for horse owners and industry professionals. Participants will learn basic information about Equine Metabolic Syndrome including risk factors, diagnosis, and management options.


This project is supported by Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) competitive grant no. 2009-55205-05254 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture Animal Genome Program.


This course is displayed using the online course tool known as Moodle. You will need to create an account and register with Moodle to view and participate in this and other equine courses offered by eXtension.

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