Too thin? - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 30 Old 02-17-2009, 09:51 PM Thread Starter
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Too thin?

When I got Annie in early January, everyone kept telling me she was too thin. I thought it was because of her breed and age (TWH, 2 and 1/2). I have seen "gangly" ones at this age. However, my vet said she could do with a little weight...he said she's not neglected by any means, but just could use some weight to keep up with her growth. She still has her baby teeth, and my mom said she mainly just looks "coltish" (lol, not like a male...I think she just meant "not matured"). Also, she was exposed to a stallion last July, but I had her palped and it came up negative. So why the potbelly-ish look? (Mainly in the first pic). She's not wormy. I know occasionally false negatives happen in palps, but I don't think this is the case. My aunt suggested improper nutrition (enough food, but not the right nutrients) could cause it. What do you guys think? The pictures after the first are more recent...I have been feeding her quite a bit. However, I just don't see much difference. LoL, I need an outsider's point of view here. And I apologize for the poor pictures, but she won't let me take pictures of her very often, as she always wants to have her face touching mine.
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post #2 of 30 Old 02-17-2009, 09:58 PM
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Yee-ouchies.. scary thought that she is 2 1/2 and was exposed to a Stallion. I hope she isnt pregnant. She does look Pot bellied in that first pic, but normal in the second and third pictures.

As far as weight goes... I tend to keep my horses at a weight where you can -barely- see the very top of the last three ribs when their coat is completely shedded out. A lot of people would think that mine were underweight because of this. But their rears are rounded, chests are full, backs are flat.. so they are completely healthy! =) She looks like she needs some toning (around her neck), and I would make sure she is getting the -right- groceries because of her growing body.. but don't keep her too fat or else that will stress her joints out. Again, just make sure she is getting the right food.. not a lot of the wrong food =)

Also due to the weather changes in the winter, you should up the groceries a bit more because the horse needs the extra energy and fat to keep them warm during the nights.. I usually just up the amount of Coastal (Grass) hay I give since the hay churns in their gut and keeps them warm (sounds weird, but its true!).

Since she is a walking horse, she has a different build than a regular non gaited horse. Walkers arent supposed to have HYOOGE booties, and their haunches have a longer angle on them which could make them look untoned/weak/thin, but its really just the breed. If her rear looks like that of a Quarter Horse, that's when i'd be worried, LOL!

I kept my guys on Seminole's Mare and Foal until they were 3 because it was almost a complete feed. It was -perfect- for getting them what they needed without over supplimenting.

Beautiful mare, by the way =) My Dreamer is a Spotted Saddle Horse too!

**Edited to add**

I would like to see a front and back picture of her too. In that top picture it looks like I can almost make out her spine as it leads into the haunches. If that is true, she does need more weight. As I said above, make sure its the right weight.. you'll need to feed something that will specifically help her fill out up top (i usually give alfalfa pellets to help get the back weight). Also, do you have a picture of her from the butt and one from the front? Those are also tell tale pictures that could really show if she needs the weight or not.

-Skippy! The Wonder Horse!
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Last edited by Skippy!; 02-17-2009 at 10:03 PM.
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post #3 of 30 Old 02-17-2009, 10:11 PM Thread Starter
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Even scarier is that she was only 2 when exposed to him. I was really relieved to find that she isn't pregnant, especially since I read that TWH's really don't mature fully until 4 or 5. She is projected to reach nearly 16 hhs, so she may have a few inches to go yet. LoL, that's a good point about the haunches...I try to keep it in mind, as she is pastured with a quarter horse. When I look at the 14 hh QH next to Annie, she just looks so skinny and unfinished. I currently have her on alfalfa, timothy, and Lowe's Mare & Foal. Seems to be a good mix, but I don't want to go over-rich and cause health problems by overdoing it. I tend to overfatten my animals, if you ask my family. ;) That's why I wanted to get a second opinion. Dreamer is amazing, btw! I had to check him out on your profile...Thanks for the input!
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post #4 of 30 Old 02-17-2009, 10:22 PM
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Thank you for the compliments on Dreamer! He is seriously the best thing on four legs to happen to me. I love Skippy! And all, and Jasmine is irreplacable.. but Dreamer was the first horse that had SERIOUS mental issues that I, and only I, handled and had him come around. There aren't enough hours in the day for me to say how awesome he is. I lead him everywhere with 2 feet of slack. If I suddenly stop and take a step back, he sticks right with me with no pressure in the lead. AWESOME <3!

Anyways, forgive my gushing, LOL! I agree with the sexual maturity thing. Im sure she couldnt be pregnant, but my mom gave me the philosophy of "Never say Never" LOL!

Your wise to not over-feed. It sounds like the feed you have is pretty good. If you look at Jasmine, Sweetie, and Skippy! In my "Barn" they are all fed -solely- alfalfa. No grain, minimal suppliments, etc. Alfalfa is a very good hay (also dangerous if you don't know how to feed it!) and I would be feeding it if I didnt live in South Carolina where its 20 dollars a 50 lb bale X______________________X!

Im sure she's still growing =) Its also hard to tell how bad/good the body condition is when they are covered in their winter coats, LOL! She is seriously so beautiful! I am way envious <3

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post #5 of 30 Old 02-18-2009, 05:26 PM Thread Starter
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$20 for a 50 lb. Bale??? LoL, my eyes popped out of my head. That's insane! I guess it doesn't grow well there?
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post #6 of 30 Old 02-18-2009, 06:06 PM
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Nope, not at all, LOL! They buy the bales from HallsHay.com or something like that (its on the bale wrap string stuff) and the bale is so darn small it looks like a BIG hay cube, LOL!

You live up north where and Alfalfa does very well there. That's why the dairy industries always tend to be up there because the alfalfa is apparently very important for lactating cows and quality of milk or something.

Yousa lucky one! =)

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post #7 of 30 Old 02-19-2009, 10:23 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skippy! View Post
**Edited to add**

I would like to see a front and back picture of her too. In that top picture it looks like I can almost make out her spine as it leads into the haunches. If that is true, she does need more weight. As I said above, make sure its the right weight.. you'll need to feed something that will specifically help her fill out up top (i usually give alfalfa pellets to help get the back weight). Also, do you have a picture of her from the butt and one from the front? Those are also tell tale pictures that could really show if she needs the weight or not.
Sorry Skippy, I just caught the edit...yes, when I got her, her spine was definitely at least somewhat visible. I will try to snap some front view/back view pictures this weekend. Thanks!
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post #8 of 30 Old 02-20-2009, 02:01 PM
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You may want to look at one of the horse body scoring systems to evaluate if she is too thin or not (they tell you different things to look at). An example of one is at Body Condition Scoring of Horses

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On the seventh day, he Painted the good ones.
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post #9 of 30 Old 02-20-2009, 07:02 PM
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I would try to get her on a higher protein diet and add some amino acids. She's lacking in muscle, not weight. The Alfalfa should be giving her enough protein. Instead of the mare & foal food, which she doesn't need at her age, I would give her 1-2 lbs of Triple Crown 30% ration balancer feed along with 1-2 lbs of stabilized race bran or 1 cup of milled flax.

If you'd rather feed "more" feed, then I'd go with Triple Crown Light, 3-4 lbs a day along with the rice bran or milled flax.

The 30% would be my choice though, along with more Timothy hay.

It looks like there are a lot of TC dealers in IN, so you should be able to find either one.
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post #10 of 30 Old 02-20-2009, 09:48 PM
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keep in mind that many times when you increase the nutrition that aids with the proper digestion and they won't NEED more. I have seen many thin or harder keepers become easy keepers and need to be on diets when the nutrition level was increased

Pick up a good ration balancer whichever is aval in your area offer her free choice hay and remember she is a baby you don't want too much weight on her .. I see lack of muscle NOT lack of weight


Can you feel her ribs?? How much pressure does it take??

I have been called the NSC Nazi more then once ... I hate traditional feed methods of loading our horses up on grains and junk food :)
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