I'm really not sure how taking her off of pasture is going to do any good for her at all. She needs exercise, not a diet. 1 flake a day is nothing. My mare could go through that in 5 minutes. Even 8hrs of pasture isn't much. If she really is getting super fat, I'd have the vet out to check her. She siimply isn't getting enough food to merit excessive weight gain. Unless you have emerald green pastures or something...
What do you plan on doing with her if she doesn't go in the pasture? Keep her in the stall? A little paddock? You know that's exactly the wrong thing tto do with an arthritic horse, right? Use it or lose it applies to horses as well. Why isn't she outside 24/7 if she's on your property? Think of all the extra exercise she'd be getting. Horses aren't really like us. They don't go to sleep when the sun goes down and sleep for 8 hours. They take cat naps all day long, and spend a couple of hours on the ground in deep sleep. They are actually awake for most of the night, walking around and grazing. It's not like they park themselves on the ground and don't move til morning, like we do.
Horses with arthritis become stiff if they're immobile for a long time. It is hard for them to turn in circles, so they do not move around much in a confined space. (ie: a stall).
She eats one flake in the morning, then she goes out on the pasture. Then when she comes in at night, she has the option of eating hay, but she doesn't because she is full. She actually makes grunting noises when she tries to eat some hay because she is so full. haha.
No, no, no, she is not in a stall. I would never keep my horses in a stall. It's not a little paddock she is kept in either. It is about a 1/2 acre in size, and it has enough grass to graze on as long as she wants without getting too much food.
Lately though, we are turning on the sprinklers in her 1/2 acre pasture and putting the new mare in a slightly smaller dirt lot during the day.
Today, I put the both of them in the dirt area and gave them 1 flake each this morning, and 1 flake each at lunch. I was thinking I would put her out for a couple hours in the evening, when the grass isn't as rich and sugary.
So, at night time, she is in a pasture that she shares with one other horse, and they walk around and nibble on the grass.
I know that exercise is very important, but there isn't much I can do if she doesn't want to go for walks or anything. On days she is really sore, she just walks in her big field, but on days she feels good she might go for a little canter and trot with the other horses.
I definetely wouldn't keep her in a stall, as I know that when they have arthritis it is good for them to move around even if it's slowly, all day. I wouldn't put any horse in a stall for the same reason that it is unnatural.
If I were to keep her out on the field for 8 hrs per day.. what should I do to help her lose weight? She is just going to get fatter and fatter until she's obese, and that will put wayy more pressure on her legs and affect her health.
Is she on a joint supplement for arthritis? Maybe a joint supplement would make her more willing to exercise. I have an arthritic horse and I know for him exercise and 24/7 turnout have really made a difference in his comfort. What about putting a grazing muzzle on for turnout? Also maybe check with the vet and see if there any kind of metabolic issue or something going on that is contributing to her being overweight.
No, she isn't on a supplement right now. I am going to start researching again and try to find one that works. We have tried Bio-Iso-G and corta-flx which both are glucosamine and the bio-iso-g had yucca and devils claw. We also tried Recovery Extra Strength and nothing really worked for her.
The thing is.. the pasture isn't really THAT lush. The grass is only like 5" tall or so and not that green.
She has always been overweight when she isn't being worked, so I don't think it could be a health issue that has just come up.
Obviously, she needs exercise. But it's hard when she doesn't want to do anything and I would feel cruel to make her do something when she might be hurting :[
Wow, you and I have/had a similar problem. I have a mare like yours. She has been tested an is, in fact, IR. Here are my suggestions for immediate relief:
1. Grazing muzzle, and a good one, like the Best Friend's muzzle. Any time in the pasture should be with the muzzle. A good muzzle will minimize rubbing and also be harder to take off.
2. Dry lot. If you have a dry lot, awesome. If not, go back to grazing muzzle and stalling. I put my mare out at night with her muzzle on because the starch in the grass is significantly less at night.
3. Chromium/Magnesium suppliment. I use Quiessence, but some people use Animed Remission. Either one will help and you can start her ASAP. Most horses eat both, but mine likes the Quiessence better because she's a pellet fan and not big on 'meal'.
4. Exercise. Even if you cannot ride, a 1/2 go in the round pen or arena will for sure be better than nothing. I began training my mare for endurance, which has helped a lot.
5. If all else fails, which did in my case ... go to the vet and have blood work drawn and ask to start on Thyro-L even if she's not immediately IR. You can get a 6 month prescription to 'jump start' her metabolism if you need.. When my mare wasn't losing any weight on all of the above until we started Thyro-L, which is surprisingly cheap and effective. One month after starting I could feel her ribs again finally.
I'm thinking this is what I will do from now on:
7am - feed 1 flake (while in 1/2 acre paddock with little grass)
12pm - feed 1 flake (while in smaller dirt lot, not much grass, weeds)
5-6pm - put out in large field
8pm - bring her in and feed 1 flake
Does this sound like a good plan? That way.. if she wants to run, she can go for a run with her buddies while she gets let out for a couple hours. Plus, she gets food throughout the day.
I will definetely start trying some more supplements for her. Hopefully we find one that works somewhat and makes her a bit more comfortable! Then she might be more willing to run and get some exercise.
Thanks very much everyone! :]