Alright, so my mini mare tends to fluctuate weight very easily, and I'm having a hard time figuring out what the right weight for her is. She was too pudgy this time last year, then a little thin when she was lactating for her filly, then too pudgy again right after weaning the filly. I decreased her feed at that point since she was eating the amount that I would normally feed her when she is in moderate work, but now I'm wondering if she might getting a little thin o.o what do you guys think? Thin, or perfect weight?
She's getting a ration balancer, 1 lb of Purina Miniature Horse and Pony, and 2-3 flakes of jiggs costal hay daily. No grazing whatsoever due to foundering (no permanent damage thank goodness) before I bought her.
Excuse her coat, she took a dust bath before I brought her in from the paddock and is mid-shedding xD
Its so sad >.> she's lost almost all of her muscle that I built up because she's really just a pasture ornament right now, dispite being trained to drive. I just don't have time to work her!
Here is a picture of her a bit too overweight but with better muscle for reference:
Yeah, its hard for me to tell what is lack of muscle and what might be weight loss. She's due to be floated soon as well so I think I need to go ahead and schedual that, and maybe up her hay intake a little? Or should I up the grain?
She looks just slightly underweight. I think the lack of muscle also makes it a bit hard to tell. I would up the hay, but not the grain.
She is super adorable in the muscly, tubby picture!
Edit** Actually.. when I look at the picture labeled "Better Camera" I don't see weight loss, I just see a lack of muscle. Now I'm wondering, can you feed to build up some muscle.. or is that purely the benefit of work and exercise?
Yeah. Its really just hard for me to tell if its the muscle loss that I'm seeing or the weight loss xD either way, I think she looks aweful right now, personally. I really don't like the way you can see her hips, even if you can't see (or really feel) her ribs or spine or anything.
Those pictures, with the exception of one, are terrible quality with an old point and shoot camera, so sorry about that! Her coat really isnt THAT bad. LOL.
I'll give her an extra half flake of alfalfa hay with her jiggs costal hay, and see if that helps a little. In that 'chubby' picture she was being lunged for 30 minutes 4 days a week and driven for 45 minutes to an hour 3 days a week, so she was in top condition. She was also in her summer coat. I'm hoping to be able to start working her harder this summer again, but right now she's being exercised MAYBE once a week at most because its my junior year and I'm swamped with work and school. I feel bad, but its just how things are right now!
It's great to see a mini that doesn't look like a hippo! While many breeds are more stocky - shetlands for eg - they still should be pretty well horse-shaped & I think regular 'body condition scoring' applies. She looks to be a finer type. I agree that she doesn't look underweight, but under muscled in the hind end. Her hips have a look about them that I'd want to get checked out - poss pain or sacro probs contributing to the look.
Haha, I try very hard to keep her at a good weight, especially since she foundered before I got her. Because of her less than stellar conformation I don't want to put any unnecessary weight on her joints and muscles, but sometimes I micro-manage a bit too much and have to step back and ask for second opinions.
I agree that her hooves still need a lot of work, and I need to call the farrier out again for another trim. She was last trimmed 5 weeks ago but those things grow like crazy! Add to that the fact that Im having a terrible time findind someone that knows how to work on founder-prone miniature feet, and things are just aweful! They do look better than they did before I bought her six months ago with box feet, but they still need a lot of improvement :/
Just before I bought her: (yes, she was too fat xD)
Poor gal has had so many spine/hip problems in the past year or two, and she's only four (five this month)! I agree that I need to get someone out to see her...maybe a chiro. I've been noticing that its really hard for her to transition to a canter lately, especially on her right lead, and I'm sure that whatever is going on is the reason for that. Hopefully after I get our foster filly (who's been stealing all my money xD) on the road at the end of the month I can call a Chiro out and get her all sorted out. She might need a joint suppliment or something.
I'm actually guessing that she might have had a spine injury as a baby before she came to us, because she has white spots along her spine (you can see them in the pictures I think) that allude to a possible injury or something.
Hmpf! What happened to my reply?? Anyway... Sounds like you're doing well with her, tho if you're having a hard time finding a good farrier, perhaps it's time you learned yourself!? Regardless how fast or slow her feet grow, I'd want to be doing her feet more frequently than 5 weekly. Little & often is best anyway, but if you're trying to address problems, leaving them to become overgrown before trimming will mean you're chasing your tail at every trim.
Re her hind end, if she's only 4yo, her pelvis, sacrum, hocks are still a couple of years off maturity, so I wouldn't be doing much in the way of hard work with her yet, such as lunging, too much driving, other high impact stuff. But as her bones & joints haven't 'closed' yet in that region, there's a better chance a *good* chiro/osteo may be able to fix the prob.
She could have injured herself when younger, having a foal while immature would probably have exacerbated it, but I recently attended a lecture with a Dr Ian Bidstrup - veterinary chiro, osteo & acupuncturist who had some interesting stuff to say about s/i region probs. He asserted that it's commonly due to birth trauma - the way they're squished through the birth canal. Rib & wither fractures are also common during birth, but they tend to heal quickly of their own accord, but sacro-iliac injuries are neurological as well and tend to get worse with age if not treated.
Interesting that you mention the white spots. Dr Bidstrup explained the neurological side, that many major nerves exit the spine around the pelvis joints(obviously) & joint injuries cause pressure/injury to nerves too, which can manifest as 'incurable' rainscald over the croup, at the nerve points! So I wonder if white spots are a different sign of that??
I've actually considered doing them myself, but I don't have the money to invest in farrier schooling and even if one of my farriers were willing to teach me, if the whole reason I'm wanting to learn in the first place is that they arent good enough, there could be many issues with that xD I'd be terrified of messing up and hurting her as well. I already rasp her feet myself between trimmings, but I'm not so sure about the actual trimming!
She did have a foal last year (NOT by my choice but it was too late to give her the shot >.>) so its definitely possible. I've tried to keep her work fairly light, and I didn't start lunging her until she was almost three, at only a walk and some light trotting. She was hooked up to a cart for the first time as a 3 1/2 year old, but I've tried to only do walking and 10-15 minutes of trotting under cart, absolutely no cantering. I don't plan to canter her at all because I really only want her as a pleasure cart horse, but if I do, it will be well after she turns five, or closer to six. She was being lunged at a canter for 2-3 minutes at a time in a 25' circle though, until I started noticing that she was having problems. I'm definitely going to look into a chiro as soon as possible, now that I know someone else is noticing it too. I don't want her in any sort of pain!
That's very interesting about the rain scald. I suppose it could be possible! I think she has four of them, exactly along her spine in the middle of her back, and they're quarter to dime sized, depending on the spine. She's had them since I started working with her as a seven month old, and they haven't gotten any bigger or added in numbers, and I was always curious about what they were!