After posting a thread in the training section (Weight Loss with Exercise Tips) I thought it a good idea to come here and ask if there is anything I can change to help my obese mare lose some much needed weight!
Before I get started, I'm aware it is down to poor management on my own behalf, and accept responsibility for not keeping on top of it. I have my excuses (permanently injured that has been recently troubling) but I try not to play on them when I know there can be more I can do to prevent. Out of sheer frustration I've turned here however, in hopes someone can guide me with how to slim my mare down.
Honey's basic situation is that due to my injury since Mar 09 she's been a pasture pony really. She gained weight that she lost over our last winter, but we had a killer of a spring, and she's the type to gain on the smell of grass. I have finally gotten my own electric unit, but of course, ran out of power to run it (board her at a DIY facility) and due to personal reasons have not had the money to power it back up until now. Penning her up is something I've always ran into problems with unless its electric, as she's a bit of a houdini or will break through when her eyes get the better of her. She's even been attacking the wooden posts lately, which I know is a sign of lacking fibre, but I'm not sure how to address this, when its one of those situations where you want her to lose weight, and only give her enough hay to keep her going daily, instead of giving her heaps and having her gain even more (which she does).
Since her exercise is limited to lunging at the moment, its not exactly the easiest situation to approach. I usually hard feed my horses year round as I like to get supplements and minerals into them, but I haven't for a few months, so could this be also down to the reason she's attacked the wooden posts? Normally she just gets chaff with her supplements and I'm thinking about changing her back to this rather than the hay which she normally only gets over winter as we have more than enough grass. She isn't in long grass at the moment and hasn't been for weeks now. She is wormed and has good teeth too.
Is there any thing I could be adding or changing to help her with her weight? She currently looks like this...
I'm trying to help her slim down so we can start riding work again, and after sitting up on her the other day and feeling like I was doing the splits, I've become very aware of how detrimental I've allowed her weight and health to reach.
Please help this guilty horse Mummy!
Thanks in advance!
I just sold my gelding because I cannot ride his large trot. Leasing her out is not an option I can take at the moment, and am working on myself to get stronger so I can ride her.
Having someone ride her now is sadly difficult as she's too fat for the saddle to sit correctly on her back and needs to lose a few kgs before its safe for her and a rider to be working together, which I hope to be that rider. I am however looking out for someone to exercise her when she's down to a level where the saddle isn't going to affect her poorly.
Thanks though, I'm not one to push blame onto others when it comes to my own doing. I believe that whilst mistakes are made, those who admit and try to rectify are the people to respect, and believe of myself to be that way haha.
Keep lunging her and get a grazing muzzle. Taking her on "walks" in hand would be good too, plus good bonding time and more "fun" than lunging.
To feed my fatties their supplements, I use some chopped hay (I assume similar to chaff). It's soft hay in a bag that's easy to scoop. I give just 1 lb (about a scoop) with their supplements. They think they're getting lots of good food, but it's not as calorie rich and they don't get so fat. She needs a good vitamin/mineral supplement, which should help decrease the wood chewing. I'd also make sure she has a salt block.
Also, if she's at your home by herself, she needs a friend. See if you can free lease a horse for her, or buy a small donkey or goat. Having a friend will help increase her activity level, which should help her lose a bit of weight.
Honey grazes on a farm with many other horses, and when Evo goes on Saturday, there is a horse in proximity of her to keep her interested.
Was planning on taking her for walks in hand actually! I thought it would be fun to teach her about the road some more and get out of the paddock, so will be doing that. Since it's summer, I'm hoping to get her to the beach to learn about that too but that will have to wait until I can hire a trailer.
Yes chaff is much like chopped hay and I plan to get some for her, along with a new salt block as hers has just finished last week.
Been there done that........when we first moved to our property.....our 15.1 clyde cross who is an easy keeper porked up over a couple years that I didn't notice (shame on me) until my instructor said she looks preggo!!!
I did blood work and found out she was IR.....she was on thyroid meds for about 4 months till she lost the worst of it.....but I fight with her weight every spring/summer as she goes out on pasture at that time......but only for a few hours am and pm with only one slim flake at 11:00 pm.
Each winter I manage to pull of a few more pounds off......I do a trace clip and don't blanket which helps her loose extra weight without cutting back to much on the hay.
She gets no grain......just a cup of wet beet pulp with supplements. I also feed low sugar hay....and she gets no more than 20 lbs unless the temps drop down below -5 on the celius scale.
Basically it is discipline on my part........this is the first winter her cresty neck is gone and we have no fat pockets on the shoulders and you can actually see a wither.
Exercise is a great tool even it it is only a 15 minute walk 3 times a week.
Could that horse lose a few pounds? Yes but she is not grossly fat. Obviously lunging if you say a saddle won't fit her or borrow one that does. When I lunge I do it in a large area so I move my circles around and get some exercise also. I suggest doing lots of leading and jogging with her it will help both of you slim down. It has helped me shed a few pounds and gives me some good training time with my horse.
could that horse lose a few pounds? Yes but she is not grossly fat. Obviously lunging if you say a saddle won't fit her or borrow one that does. When I lunge I do it in a large area so I move my circles around and get some exercise also. I suggest doing lots of leading and jogging with her it will help both of you slim down. It has helped me shed a few pounds and gives me some good training time with my horse.
I guess its all in the eye of the beholder but I would consider this horse really fat at least and 8 to 8.5.....maybe even a 9.....but can't see her neck or shoulders to make that determination........she is fat enough that she is at risk for health related problems......having said that she appears to carry her excess weight evenly distrubed over her body which is a good thing.....
After 17 years of being around horses and 10 years on my own.....I prefer to see a horse about a 6 but no more than 7........I have a few that are a work in progress.......I think we all tend to over feed to some extent......I also think we need to retrain our eye as to what looks healthy as too many of us think think fat is okay.
Supernova: I thank you for your input... this mare is fine when she's in work, but being a pasture pony hasn't done well for her... and admittedly, I should have kept on top of it. In New Zealand we predominantly graze our horses out year round, as stabling is only used for those who have such facilities or race farms. I find over winter I'm able to get the pounds off of her easily, but come spring unless she's penned up and closely monitored, it can get out of hand. I'm lucky that usually I'm able to ride my horses through that period the most and keep the weight down, but sadly it hasn't been the case this year.
I'm hoping that a few weeks of just lunging will be enough to help the saddle sit on her back, although I did realise that I placed my riser pad on her when I don't normally do so when they're on the porker side. Might try and take it off and evaluate the position of where the saddle sits then. Hopefully then I'll be able to manage the riding side and ride her on the days I don't lunge. I have the plan in my head, just for action! Can I please get the weight chart if you have the link? I've tried looking for it myself, but I can't seem to find it on my computer from when I saved it. I believe from memory she's close enough to an 8.5. Sigh.
churumbeque: Thanks for your input, she could do with losing quite a fair bit in my opinion, I'll get a pic from her in work, please excuse me in the picture.
This is the weight I'd like to get her back to. This was before my accident in 09 and she was just beginning to develop muscles under saddle. Re lunging, that's exactly how I do it, I move with my horse and use the entire space.
Thanks again to everyone who commented on this thread, but hopefully will have solved the problem, I guess I haven't had much faith in my riding ability or the time I can last in the saddle these days as I rode her today, and we trotted for the first time since our accident in March 2009, so I'm pretty much thrilled and hoping my leg will not keep me back from enjoying my mare.
Oh and the saddle sat well without the riser pad, a little forward than I liked, but the marks were even across her back when I was finished, so the weight wasn't distributed poorly.