Help needed with my horse! - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 04-16-2014, 06:32 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2014
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Exclamation Help needed with my horse!

Just before i start i would just like to say that I am well aware that you should chose a title a little more descriptive but I wasn't sure what to call it as there are a few things I would like to know. I thought that I would just put that out there so that you know.

Anyway, I have two horses. One of them is an absolute angel and is worth her weight in gold. The other however is called Alfie. He is 15.2 hh and I rescued him after he was abandoned in a field and neglected for many years. He is seriously underweight and his hips and ribs stick out a lot and are clearly visible. He also has an eye infection and the eye is blocked with gunk. He is slowly on his long road to recovery and is improving more every day. However, there are some things which are a bit of a problem. I will start with his hooves. I am unable to pick them out as he doesn't know what to do when I run my hand down him legs and ask for his foot. Does anyone have any ideas of how I can get him to pick his feet up? I tried leaning on his shoulders but as he is a big horse it didn't really do anything.
The second thing is his tack. I have to tack him up in a stable because when I go to put his bridle on him he moves around and spins so I just have to wrestle him to get it on. He is broken and is lovely to ride and I don't want to have to have a wrestling match with him every time I ride and I would like to be able to tack him up out on the yard. I did try once but it just resulted in him escaping. Sorry to drag on put I would love some help if anyone has any advise.
Thank you!
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post #2 of 13 Old 04-16-2014, 06:38 PM
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For picking up feet, try squeezing his chestnuts, it makes most horses pick up their foot.

As to the other problem, why are you riding a horse who is underweight and has an eye infection?! You need to stop riding him or doing any real work until he is up to weight and the infection is cleared up. Only after that point should you attempt to train him out of this issue. Start with ground work, you are trying to jump to level 12 of training while skipping the levels before it and expecting him to behave. You might also find that his behavior is improved when he actually weighs enough to ride...
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post #3 of 13 Old 04-16-2014, 06:40 PM
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Also, get his teeth checked. If he has teeth problems then putting a bite in his mouth could be causing him a lot of pain which would cause him to fight you getting the bridle on.
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post #4 of 13 Old 04-16-2014, 06:45 PM
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This horse needs to be vetted first, eg - teeth checked, vitals checked, infections dealt with etc. Riding an underweight horse compromises their health even further, you are taking away valuable calories needed to repair his muscles and internal organs.
After the horse has been medically treated and is back to proper weight, ask again.

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post #5 of 13 Old 04-17-2014, 06:33 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you for your sarky comments. The vet has treated his eye and it's just a case of keeping it clean. And he is so skinny because there are areas where there is a lot of muscle wastage and no muscle. Just standing in a stable is not going to build this muscle up so that is why I ride him. Yes his teeth need doing, the dentist is coming soon.
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post #6 of 13 Old 04-17-2014, 07:12 AM
Join Date: Aug 2012
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Agree with the others, gain weight first.

Gaining muscle right now is going to her you no where besides the same spot he's in. You need to let his body absorb and use the calories he's putting into his body to help his body get better.
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post #7 of 13 Old 04-17-2014, 07:45 AM
Join Date: May 2013
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I don't think anyone was snarky in their responses, we are just concerned for the well being of your horse based on the info you gave. You gave no number of an estimated weight and no height to compare it to, no pics of his current condition so we could do our own mental body score to understand just how underweight he is. We are only trying to give advice to help, not hinder you.

As for the muscle build up- you could have an overweight horse that is all fat, but still no muscle tone. The more you work him the more calories he will burn, the more you'll have to feed him.

What does his diet consist of now? For the working, I'd stick to easy hand walking things you can do through groundwork. Still productive, just not as hard on his body when he really needs to just rest and absorb as much nutrition as possible. These things take time.

Good luck
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post #8 of 13 Old 04-17-2014, 08:01 AM
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Lighten up people. She came here for advice --- not a butt chewing.

We have rehabed many VERY thin horses. While I do not ride very thin horses, I certainly work on basic manners and ground schooling. [I said ground schooling -- not exercises.] I think it is totally counter-productive to not handle these horses until they are fat. You will create a monster that is 10X more difficult to handle and manner. When left alone until they are fat, I have seen many that were so difficult that they got a one-way trip to the sale barn. Handling them thin is a much better option.

Things like moving over and backing up (yielding to pressure), and picking up and trimming feet (never saw a neglected horse that did not need feet worked on immediately). These thin horses need to know how to yield to pressure, stand tied quietly, be groomed, etc.

I will start ground driving one as soon as its spine is not protruding and its teeth have been done, but long before the ribs and hips are covered up. I do not work one hard, but I want to see that it has good manners for saddleing and bridling, 'follows its nose' and obeys basic signals. I want to see that it gives to the bit by bending right and left and dropping its nose. I want to know very early on what I am going to need to work on. Soon after, I will start doing very light riding for the same reasons. I have just seen too many horses that became monsters when people let them get fat before they established good boundaries and good manners. This also lets me assess soundness issues that a horse might have.

All this being said, I never longe or round-pen one. They need manners and not exercise.

Next, thin horses do NOT need exercise to 'build' muscle back. They need high quality protein. If they do not show signs of previous founder in their feet or any other signs of insulin resistance or other metabolic problems, they need extra calories. Good, green grass this time of year will put a lot of weight on one without problems if they do not have pre-existing metabolic issues.

If good green grass is not available or a horse cannot tolerate a lot of it, then the horse should be gradually worked up to 1 to 1 1/2 pounds of soybean meal per day, preferable in 2 or 3 feedings. I do not like to feed more more than 1/2 pound at a feeding. This is in addition to the amount of grain or concentrate that the horse can tolerate well.

Since all neglected thin horses have Vitamin deficiencies and terrible hair coats (often with lice, rain rot and scruffy dry skin) a good Vitamin / mineral supplement with high levels of Vitamin A is also a must.

And -- even though your 'welcome' wasn't pretty wonderful, WELCOME to the Horse Forum. There are a lot of very helpful and knowledgeable people here. You can learn a lot here. Cherie
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post #9 of 13 Old 04-17-2014, 10:09 AM
Join Date: Apr 2014
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my mare Is currently in an eggbutt snaffle...she is broke but not the best...I'm riding her basically for just around the farm (trail) for right now because she doesn't respect the bit. I understand that half of it is probably my fault. She's stubborn...I'm stubborn,..the more I pull, the more she pulls, the more she goes above the bit, the more I pull, I know it's wrong but it's gotten's the only way I can almost get her to stop when she's in that kind of stubborn mood. Do any of you have any suggestions?
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post #10 of 13 Old 04-17-2014, 11:02 AM
Join Date: Apr 2014
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Please help...
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help needed! , please help me!

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