Fat horse - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 08-06-2011, 07:05 PM Thread Starter
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Location: Washington State
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Fat horse

I "inherited" a horse in the past 3 weeks. He is sweet with me, but can be very stubborn and seems a little spooky. I had a vet come out and give him a checkup as I do not know much about horses. The vet said he is pretty fat and could lose about 100-150 pounds. He is in the pasture 24/7. (that has been his hx). He hasn't gotten a lot of exercise due to his owner getting deployed, and then here I am to take over. The vet suggested we put him in the stable at night and let him out during the day.
Well, He is afraid of the stable. I think it is the birds that swoop down on him. We chased the birds out, got rid of the nest, but he is very hesitant to go in. Takes a lot of coaxing, and he isn't happy about it.
My question, do I put him in the stable even though he is afraid?, or would that make him even more jittery/anxious?

Thank you for any suggestions
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post #2 of 12 Old 08-06-2011, 07:16 PM
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Would he have a stable mate? As long as he is near another horse, i'd say bring him in and he will soon see it isnt something to be afraid of. If he will be the only horse in the barn, i'd rethink it.
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post #3 of 12 Old 08-06-2011, 07:41 PM
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Boy these "inheriting" deals where the poor person is the inheritor can turn out to be a lot of work. Thank you for taking him in

If the vet says the horse is 100 - 150 lbs overweight, I would order a grazing muzzle and get it on the horse five minutes ago. The last thing you need is to have to deal with a horse with founder.

He could wear the grazing muzzle during the day when the sugars are highest in the grass and will spike his insulin levels. These obese horses are Type II Diabetes waiting to happen - it's called insulin resistance in horses.

I use this grazing muzzle on my two metabolic horses and I love it because the nostril holes are so big and my horses don't feel like they are suffocating. Saddles Tack Horse Supplies - ChickSaddlery.com Tough-1 Easy Breathe Grazing Muzzle

As far as a definition for founder - think MAJOR MAJOR gout that can kill a horse or require many many hours of human intervention at the very least.

Don't feed the horse any grain - zero. He could have a ration balancer if you are able to get him in the barn at night.

As far as hay, these types of horses need to eat grass hay NOT legumes like alfalfa or even Trefoil. It depends what area of the country you are in as to what a good, low-starch grass hay would be.

The spookiness is another thing -- it could be he is afraid to be in the barn alone because he's never stayed in a barn; or it could be that coupled with the fact he is in a new place and is afraid; or, if his insulin is spiking on him, that alone can cause anxiety in some horses.

If he can't have a barn companion, I also vote for leaving him out and giving him the option to run in/out of the barn if that is possible.

But he needs to wear a grazing muzzle during the day and they should not be left on 24/7, even though some people do that; his face needs a break

Big high five to you for taking him in and not having any horse knowledge .

Here are a couple links that speak to feeding obese horses, which this horse is if the vet says it could lose 150 lbs

Reducing weight in obese horses - Horsetalk - Horse nutrition and feeding articles and information

Easy Keepers: Managing Horses Prone to Obesity - Home - Virginia Cooperative Extension

You can Google "feeding obese horses" and get a ton of credible hits.

www.thehorse.com is a health magazine with a lot of on-line information. It is free to join.

Finally, you don't need to keep shoes on the horse, but it does need a steady trimming schedule as keeping the toes short and the heels low helps keep the hooves sound and from possibly foundering. The schedule can vary throughout the year as hooves grow faster during certain times of the year than others.

You might ask the vet for a trimmer recommendation or ask at a boarding barn or training barn. You can always find business cards thumbtacked at the feed store or Tractor Supply but it's best to get a recommendation or two first

Hope this helps and good luck to you with your new Charge
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post #4 of 12 Old 08-06-2011, 09:16 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Washington State
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Thank you so much for the help. I'm concerned about him and will do anything I can. I will be looking into the grazing muzzle and get that asap.
I really appreciate the advice. Hard when you don't know anything, but learning fast from this site and all the books.
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post #5 of 12 Old 08-08-2011, 03:15 AM
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Hi DRC, as usual, good advice from Walkin. Check out Katy Watts | Safergrass.org for one good source of info on overfeeding, obesity & it's effects.
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post #6 of 12 Old 08-08-2011, 10:07 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you all for your advice. I'm very happy to report that I found a perfect home for him that will give them exercise he needs and his own stable with other horses close by. I knew that he was too much of a horse for me as a beginner and he deserved someone that could start his training immediately.
I was very lucky to find someone that has been a horse person her whole life, works with rescue horses and has the ability and knowledge to care for him properly.
Now he is using a grain muzzle by day, on a strict diet and getting the exercise he so badly needed.
All in all - worked out better than I imagined. Here's hoping it continues to have a happy ending
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post #7 of 12 Old 08-09-2011, 01:02 AM
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My horse is very tubby and hes in pasture 24/7. We dont.hve the stalls built in the main barn yet its just open so they can come in and out. I have my horse in a grazing muzzle and hes lost almost 100 pounds
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post #8 of 12 Old 08-09-2011, 01:14 AM
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These grazing muzzles...I assume they can graze somewhat, but can't hog down the whole pasture in record time?
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post #9 of 12 Old 08-09-2011, 01:30 AM
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Yep it really limts how much and how fast a horse can eat.
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post #10 of 12 Old 08-09-2011, 06:54 AM
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Glad you found him a set up that will work for him.
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