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Please help- Horse losing weight, need advice

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    04-17-2013, 12:14 AM
  #41
Banned
Thank you Desert! I have never thought about depression before, and was unsure how to go about it with a horse. I didn't know if you could have "play days" like you would with a dog. Okay, that sounded stupid, but you know what I meant.

Now as far as not doing the weekly rides, Blaze's owner often brings him back to our original facility to school our barn's cross country course. Drifter can (and does) see him and has access to him whenever she does this. Is that just making things worse? Does Drifter need to be up somewhere when Blaze is on the farm visiting?
I'm not trying to sound like a moron and waste your time by asking dumb questions, so I am sorry if I am coming across that way. I am just totally mystified by the whole idea and don't know how to go about it.
     
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    04-17-2013, 12:29 AM
  #42
Banned
The more I look at how he was with them around, the more I am convinced that both of them leaving somehow contributed to the problem. The BO and barn hands always referred to them as the 3 stooges because they were always up to something. They also had a scheduled group nap every afternoon at 2pm. I know how sad I am when one of my friends here at school graduates and moves away, so you would think I would have had some consideration for him. I am incredibly thankful for all of the nutritional advice I have been given, and for every one who has stuck with me in my search for answers. I am also incredibly thankful for Greenback planting this idea in my head in the off chance it does indeed have something to do with his weight loss. I've said it before and I will say it again! HF is the best :)

Now for some more pics of happy, fat Drift with his herd of three.

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    04-17-2013, 12:55 AM
  #43
Weanling
Thank you so much for that very thoughtful set of replies! A lot of really great nutritional advice was given and it sounded like you were really on top of everything but there was just something nagging at me in his expression/appearance. I've seen it before when close bonded horses lose a mate and it just breaks my heart. They really can be lost and miserable. I'm not a horse but it sure looks as close to genuine grief as I can imagine.
It sounds like Drifter has gone through some tough times and a lot of changes. Some horses take it like no big deal and some feel it very acutely. I think it just messes with their sense of security and rightness with the world. Just like the rest of us no doubt.
I think your ideas about giving him back his job and "play dates" with his buddies is an excellent plan! He will miss his pals but he will also be able to see that they still exist in his world and if you can provide him a consistant routine he will bounce back quickly. For the horses I've been through this with consistency was the key. I wasn't able to bring their pals back but I did my best to refocus their anxious energy and provide them with a sense of safety and security. I spent as much time as I could just being there and actually "standing guard" for them while they ate or rested. You'd be amazed at how much comfort this can bring them. Poor guy's probably been feeling the stress of a being menu item for months now! A horse's brain sees the world as full of predators and he's likely been feeling completely exposed and alone.
He's really lucky to have you on his side! You clearly love him and are doing your very best for him. I bet he has a major turn around in no time.
     
    04-17-2013, 01:11 AM
  #44
Banned
I have a video on my phone I am trying to figure out how to upload ... but a previous poster said they disagreed with my vet about taking Drifter out of the pasture. The reason he did this was because we didn't know of a suitable horse to stick with him in a private paddock. As soon as we realized he and Cody would get along, he was put back on pasture.

The reason we took him out of the big herd is best illustrated in the video, but let me try to explain. The ranch Drifter is currently on backs up to the ranch that contains his old friend Blaze. There is a hayfield in between them, but when the horses call they can hear one another. Whenever Drifter was in his original giant pasture with the herd, he spent all of his time crying out in desperation for Blaze and getting more agitated by the second. He could hear Blaze answering him and could not figure out how to get to him. He runs in circles, letting out a distressed whinny until you go and get him and take him out. On the days that he would call and Blaze would not be out to answer back, there was no problem. However on the days that Blaze would answer it was pretty hard to watch. Drifter didn't want to graze or relax. He just wanted to keep calling. It's hard to listen to that desperate whinny over and over again.

Taking him out of the pasture until we were able to find him a suitable smaller paddock with a friend seems to have worked the best. It was not ideal I know, but it is the best I could do. In his other pasture he was burning off what fat he had left, and was not taking in any extra calories. He is content to graze with Cody now and seems to be settling back down.Hopefully in the weeks to come more progress will be made. He does not call for Blaze or mac. Except for today when he saw blaze unloading. I was expecting an ordeal when he left but my friend who was out there says Drifter simply watched them load Blaze back up and then went back to rolling around and playing with Cody. So maybe he is making his peace with it.
I will make sure I am giving him extra scratches and support to make up for me not catching it earlier. He has a giant heart that is easily broken. I have definitely noticed that about him.
     
    04-17-2013, 11:04 AM
  #45
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by DriftingShadow    
I have a video on my phone I am trying to figure out how to upload ... but a previous poster said they disagreed with my vet about taking Drifter out of the pasture. The reason he did this was because we didn't know of a suitable horse to stick with him in a private paddock. As soon as we realized he and Cody would get along, he was put back on pasture.

The reason we took him out of the big herd is best illustrated in the video, but let me try to explain. The ranch Drifter is currently on backs up to the ranch that contains his old friend Blaze. There is a hayfield in between them, but when the horses call they can hear one another. Whenever Drifter was in his original giant pasture with the herd, he spent all of his time crying out in desperation for Blaze and getting more agitated by the second. He could hear Blaze answering him and could not figure out how to get to him. He runs in circles, letting out a distressed whinny until you go and get him and take him out. On the days that he would call and Blaze would not be out to answer back, there was no problem. However on the days that Blaze would answer it was pretty hard to watch. Drifter didn't want to graze or relax. He just wanted to keep calling. It's hard to listen to that desperate whinny over and over again.

Taking him out of the pasture until we were able to find him a suitable smaller paddock with a friend seems to have worked the best. It was not ideal I know, but it is the best I could do. In his other pasture he was burning off what fat he had left, and was not taking in any extra calories. He is content to graze with Cody now and seems to be settling back down.Hopefully in the weeks to come more progress will be made. He does not call for Blaze or mac. Except for today when he saw blaze unloading. I was expecting an ordeal when he left but my friend who was out there says Drifter simply watched them load Blaze back up and then went back to rolling around and playing with Cody. So maybe he is making his peace with it.
I will make sure I am giving him extra scratches and support to make up for me not catching it earlier. He has a giant heart that is easily broken. I have definitely noticed that about him.

Sounds like you might have it all nailed now. He'll become better friends with his new pal as t time goes on. It sounds like he has made peace with the fact his other friend left, and has started accepting his new friend as THE friend. I wouldn't put him back in the big pasture unless you have another alpha horse he can buddy up with first. If the alpha of the herd says he's ok, then everyone else says he's ok too and he won't get bullied.

From the last set of pics, he's looking a lot better, the coat thing may have just been the camera. In a couple of months, with all the high fat stuff he's being fed, he should start shining like a new penny.
     
    04-20-2013, 05:43 PM
  #46
Banned
Well I've been giving him extra scratches and attention and it actually seems to be helping. I let him hand graze for a while every day while I groom him. We have started getting back into a consistent work schedule and he seems very happy about that too. This morning was the third AM I have gone out to work with him before work and he trotted up to the gate happy to see me. I was shocked. He usually tolerates me, but has never seemed completely excited that I am there ha ha. I am including some pictures to show his progress. Steadily gaining. He needs to build up his top line and such again badly, but that will come with time. I am going to try and take my real camera out there another day. My phone just doesnt do justice to the way his coat is changing and starting to look so shiny! We have started working up and down the hills on our property at a walk and trot, and we are working on cavalettis again in the schooling ring. Those helped him build topline the most last year. When out on trails, we are working on maintaining a forward motion walk and a slow trot so that he really has to carry himself. He is doing great. I can only hope he keeps improving. He loves his Strategy and Ultium :)

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    04-20-2013, 06:57 PM
  #47
Trained
Yup, looking better
TB's like having a routine and work. I bet in another month he'll be bursting with beauty, since he is such a handsome fella already!
     
    04-20-2013, 11:10 PM
  #48
Weanling
YEA! I'm so happy to hear and see him doing better. Keep up all that you're doing, he'll be back on top in no time. Happy Horse Dance!
     
    04-21-2013, 08:09 PM
  #49
Banned
He got a bath and got clipped today! Finally was able to capture some of that Ultium/Strategy shine with my camera on my phone. Just had to share :) I feel like every day we are looking better and better

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    04-21-2013, 08:10 PM
  #50
Trained
Yup, he's going to get there!
     

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