Getting her back into shape...? - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 5 Old 03-04-2014, 06:23 PM Thread Starter
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Getting her back into shape...?

So last November, as yall know, I rescued an emaciated senior TWH mare and have been working on getting her healthy again. Joyce was probably a mid-to-high-2 (possibly a low-3) on the Body Condition Scale (I use the 1-to-10 scale, where 1 is skin and bones and 10 is morbidly obese).

She has put on enough weight that I feel comfortable taking her out on short (3/4th a mile-to-1 mile) rides, and we went on our first ride the other day.

However, I realize that I'm in desperate need of a good riding plan for her. She is a sweetheart and doesn't have a bad bone in her body, and she was extremely happy to be out yesterday, but she's had so many bad riders on her that she's dead to leg pressure and is all over the road, weaving and swerving, and I had to constantly be in her mouth to keep her walking on a moderately straight line. I had to constantly keep on her with my heels, which I do not enjoy doing...

When a friend of mine owned her several, several years ago, Joyce was kid-broke/beginner-broke, walk/rack/running walk/canter all in a straight line, etc...

The other day, I did have her in a snaffle bit, where she has always been ridden in a mechanical hackamore (she was trained in a mechanical hackamore, I know the man who bred her and trained her).

Can anyone help me figure out a riding routine for Joyce and/or help me figure out how to get her back to where she once was...? I only feel comfy taking her out once a week for a mile or less right now, but I was thinking of starting off at a 'powerwalk' for half of each ride and letting her relax and 'cool down' for the last half of each ride for the first month or two. I'll be riding her probably every Sunday afternoon, after work.

Any advice?

Horseshoe Loop Farm: Home of Gypsie (22 y/o TWH mare), Dakota (10 y/o TWH gelding) & Codie (18 y/o Walkaloosa gelding)
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post #2 of 5 Old 03-07-2014, 09:22 PM
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Judging by recent pictures you posted I wouldn't ride her until she had at least another 100lbs on her. She is still very underweight.

BB ~ 2014 Trakehner Bratty Mare ~ 1993 CSHA Em ~ 2007 Standardbred
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post #3 of 5 Old 03-07-2014, 10:11 PM
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I think I would work on things I can do at a walk that don't involve much energy other than moving forward. Work at not needing to be in her mouth to keep her straight. Do circles. Spiral in, spiral out, figure 8's, etc. It's a shame she is dead sided. I think the first thing I would do is teach voice command or whistles or clicks and be consistant. It may be something she really likes. In your spirals, you may be teaching her that leg pressure means direction, not GO.

If she's getting close to her weight goal, a bit of exercise may get that weight on better if a horse feels happy or useful.
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post #4 of 5 Old 03-07-2014, 10:16 PM
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princess... she needs another 100lbs before someone should sit on her at all. Her spine is still sticking up, hip bones are still showing. She should not be carrying weight at all right now.
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BB ~ 2014 Trakehner Bratty Mare ~ 1993 CSHA Em ~ 2007 Standardbred
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post #5 of 5 Old 03-13-2014, 08:58 PM Thread Starter
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I'm inclined to disagree. She's at a weight now where I feel it's safe to do short rides once or twice a week (roughly 20 minutes once or twice a week).

She is gaining fat along her back and her hipbones aren't poking out like crazy anymore. She has some fat on her and is gaining more by the day.

Horseshoe Loop Farm: Home of Gypsie (22 y/o TWH mare), Dakota (10 y/o TWH gelding) & Codie (18 y/o Walkaloosa gelding)
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