I was having a chat to a friend and her horse who she has had since a weanling, has never done excessive work, i.e. racing, jumping ect. Just normal hack showing and dressage.Anyway, she has been having intermittent lameness problems which the vet cannot put a finger on and its been broadly stroked with the 'laminitis' label.This horse is not obese, but hack fat. I have another friend who has a horse who again is not 'fat' in the eyes of most beholders, but has come down with laminitis and the owner is completely shocked and feeling guilty even though this is not an obese horse. I have another friend with a couple of horses that have had persistent lameness issues as well and no one is able to put a definative finger on the problem, again these are hack horses and not obese, but hack fat. Now we all know that a healthy weight is racehorse weight, which some consider skinny, but for bones, joints ect, carrying extra weight is harmful. I follow the guidelines of you should just have a thin layer of fat over the ribs, but should be able to see a hint of the ribs with my dog, who at 14 is very healthy even for a pedigree and the vet thinks he is in perfect condition. However for my horse, I go the hack fat, so you cannot see even a hint of ribs, as this is what showing demands. I have even seen a horse who regularly gets champion with the biggest crest I have ever seen that flops from side to side. Its clearly not muscle, but fat and yet its rewarded quite often under many different judges. This horse doesnt show any signs of laminitis, but is that more luck than good breeding? I suppose the question I have is, do judges need to reset the criteria in regards to healthy weight on a horse when judging? Or do we need to breed horses with robust feet, joints, lungs and hearts that can withstand our need to have fat horses? I thought this would be an interesting discussion and would love to hear judges opinions.