improving topline - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 03-21-2013, 03:00 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Hephzibah, GA
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• Horses: 6
improving topline

My husband and I rescued a 17 year old horse in October who was basically being starved to death. He was on an acre of land with a donkey, mule, steer, alpacha, pot belly pigs (at least 2) and 4 to 5 goats, as well as numerous chickens. He had absolutely no grass and the owner readily admitted she could afford to buy hay. Needless to say, I gave her $150 bucks to save his life. Since we have had him, we have been feeding him senior feed, beet pulp, and suppliments twice a day. His weight has improved and the vet say he is now a 5 borderline 6 on the weight scale where before he is about a 2. Now, we need to improve the loss of muscle on his topline. Several people have suggested riding him and working him on hills, but there are no hills close to me. I live in Georgia. We have been working him a few laps a day in the round pen at a slow trot both ways on the lunge line, but was wondering what else would help improve his top line. Would it hurt to get him going over some cavaletti poles? Any suggestions?
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post #2 of 6 Old 03-21-2013, 03:31 PM
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: BC Canada
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I would try some trotting poles, walks, riding, and do you have a ramp? Ramps are not very big but its better then nothing

Horses are scared of two things. Things that move and things that don't
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post #3 of 6 Old 03-21-2013, 03:47 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2013
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I like the idea of a ramp. Wonder if I can talk my hubby into building something....what angle should it be at?

Last edited by dlpark2; 03-21-2013 at 03:53 PM.
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post #4 of 6 Old 03-21-2013, 03:56 PM
Join Date: Dec 2012
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Trotting consecutive poles will help a lot, I think. It takes more muscle than you think!

Also make sure that he's receiving adequate amounts of the amino acids that he can't synthesize (Lysine, Methionine, Threonine). He needs that protein to build muscle.
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post #5 of 6 Old 03-22-2013, 12:52 AM
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Location: California
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First off you are great to have saved this horse. I cannot imagine the suffering he endured. To rescue a starved horse is a huge job. Sounds like a job very well done by you!!

One of the vets I used told me that cantering builds a good topline. If it was me I would slowly start to work the canter into the lunging routine. I don't know if I would do much more than that to start off with. Does he seem well balanced at all?

How are his feet and teethe?
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post #6 of 6 Old 03-22-2013, 07:16 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Hephzibah, GA
Posts: 185
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When we first got him, his hooves were horrible but his teeth check out good by the vet. After 3 trimmings, the farrier said that the fourth oun should finally correct his feet. There is no way I could of left Chestnut in that yard. I can't sit back and watch something slowly die. Figured that in the long run, even if he was never able to be ridden at least he could be a pasture mate for our other horses. When we got him he looked like a worn out pack horse. Now, he has a shiny coat and a willing personality.
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