We got her in 2010, and up until now she has been pretty good. But looking at her lately she is one heck of a pork chop! Our grazing muzzle was destroyed by another chubby horse of ours who defied dieting, so we need to invest in a new one. Is it a good idea to have a grazing muzzle on her over winter? This mare is really fat, and last time I rode her (last week) just a few laps trotting around are small indoor arena and she was kaput. When we got her she was fat, yes, but lunging her did not leave her huffing and puffing for too long. Now, I'm not sure of lots of lunging is going to be easy on her. Should I still lunge her and slowly build up the amount of work? She was ridden lots over summer and was in decent shape, but she has sat around quite a bit with hunting season and it being cold. I took her on a few mile ride on the road and she was pretty decent, but still was huffing.
Any suggestions on how I should approach this? She is fifteen, and fat to the point where she looks pregnant. (Definitely is not, she hasn't been near a stallion in the 3 years I had her.) I have time and space where I could lunge her a couple times a week, but should I worry about getting weight off before starting her fitness level back up? Also, she is out with a herd of horses with free choice hay, so grazing muzzle is really our only option with intake control.
Any help is well appreciated!