Is This a Skinny Horse?

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Is This a Skinny Horse?

This is a discussion on Is This a Skinny Horse? within the Horse Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category

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    04-23-2012, 11:17 AM
Is This a Skinny Horse?

Before I start, the photo is a free-to-use stock photo, so I'm using it.

I had a rather long discussion/argument with someone who knew the horses in the picture. I said the mare on the right was unacceptably thin, while she said the horses are all well cared for. Her reasoning for the thin horse, was that she is a thoroughbred and was pregnant.

My reply? I said thoroughbreds are slender not skinny. And just because a horse is pregnant, definitely should not mean it is skinny. Thoroughbreds (and especially prego thoroughbreds) are hard keepers. If a horse owner does not have the means or knowledge to keep one, they shouldn't.

I even went to the trouble to look up how horses are scored, and the mare matches up with about a 2.5-3 on the body weight scoring guide.

The mare in question is the one on the right.

Here is an example of what has been scored 2.5:

"This horse would have a condition score of 2.5 to 3.0. The neck and withers are thin and accentuated. There is fat buildup halfway on the spinous processes, and the tailhead is prominent but individual vertebrae cannot be visually identified. The ribs are easily discernible with no fat being deposited behind the shoulder."

I have been around thoroughbreds, pregnant and not, and I do not believe they or any horse should be skinny.

So, have I made a fool of myself, or is this acceptable?
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    04-23-2012, 11:20 AM
Green Broke
Both horses I see look thin, the one on the right more than the other. I question weather she is pregnant because wouldn't that be her foal right next to her???
    04-23-2012, 11:20 AM
Was she in foal or already have one on her side? If foal on her side, it may be a case of baby dragging her down. However, in my book there's no reason for one to look so lacking, I can live with seeing a few ribs on a lactating mare but hip bones is a bit much.
    04-23-2012, 11:26 AM
Both mares are skinny/underweight. I'd add 200 lbs to them if I owned them. Mare on the right is worse then mare on the left, not by much though.
    04-23-2012, 11:30 AM
Yes, they are thin.

The foals look old enough to wean.
    04-23-2012, 11:48 AM
She is THIN. Both are. If that is her foal they need to wean it or use a milk replacer and get it off Mom. Good grief.

When they hit that low on the scale it doesn't take much for them to start processing what little muscle they have for food since no fat is available. Poor girl.
    04-23-2012, 11:50 AM
Green Broke
The one on the right is particularly thin.
    04-23-2012, 01:10 PM
Teen Forum Moderator
They are absolutely thin. The mare on the right is at about the same condition as our rescued broodmare (rescued four months ago) who has a 7 month old colt (weaned two months ago) and severe ulcers. We have spent large sums of money treating her and she's now gaining weight and muscle back, but there is no reason for a horse to be that thin. The mare on the left I wouldn't be too worried about, I'd just take her foal off of her and let her 'get back on her feet' sort of speak. But that other mare needs help, as she was most likely atleast 50 pounds underweight before she was even pregnate.
    04-23-2012, 01:31 PM
It appears that they bred the mare back after delivering her last foal which is depleting her fat and muscle. Poor horses. A breeder I know of - not a friend - breeds back his mares frequently. However his horses are well cared for and do not look like this.
    04-23-2012, 07:57 PM
I've seen LOTS of mares bred back on the foaling heat and they don't look like that. Foaling doesn't make them lose that much weight. These mares have been underweight for some time.
It takes just as long for a horse to lose weight as it does for them to gain it back.

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