How to build up muscle in an un-rideable shape? - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 40 Old 09-04-2010, 06:02 PM Thread Starter
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How to build up muscle in an un-rideable shape?

Recently, I bought a very out-of-shape horse. Smart choice, eh? Well, basicly, his owner was four months' behind on his board, and it was horrifying to see him wasting away till he was practicly only skin and bones. His owner hasn't been out in a year, so I contacted her and bought him and all of his tack and such.
Well, the only problem is he is un-ridable and un-lungable because of his horrid condition. I've started walking him in the arena, but even afterd 5-6 times around, his knees start shaking and he lowers his head real low. So how do I build up that muscle he so desprately needs??
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post #2 of 40 Old 09-04-2010, 06:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Micki221 View Post
Recently, I bought a very out-of-shape horse. Smart choice, eh? Well, basicly, his owner was four months' behind on his board, and it was horrifying to see him wasting away till he was practicly only skin and bones. His owner hasn't been out in a year, so I contacted her and bought him and all of his tack and such.
Well, the only problem is he is un-ridable and un-lungable because of his horrid condition. I've started walking him in the arena, but even afterd 5-6 times around, his knees start shaking and he lowers his head real low. So how do I build up that muscle he so desprately needs??
If he's really in that bad of a condition, my first stop would be a vet's work-up. As a recent purchase he ought to have that done anyway. Make sure that it's physically ok for him to be doing anything at all. He may just need to spend a few months turned out on appropriate pasture (he'll walk himself as much as he's comfortable ), and on an appropriate diet to bring his weight back up. If he's that thin that 5-6 laps of walk exhausts him, he'll need some groceries and vet attention before he can be expected to be anything more than a pasture ornament. Age is a factor as well - you didn't address his age in you post, but older horses just don't bounce back like younger ones do.

With a vet's OK, I would just do what you're doing. Start very slow and easy with short hand walks, hand grazing, and lots of turnout.

Best of luck, and kudos for taking him on!!

A stubborn horse walks behind you, an impatient one in front of you, but a noble companion walks beside you ~ Unknown
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post #3 of 40 Old 09-04-2010, 06:20 PM
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I agree. Get the vet involved and make sure he's healthy enough to start doing anything. He may need to get some good groceries first.

Unless it weighs a ton... it's just a horse. Draft horse motto.
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post #4 of 40 Old 09-04-2010, 06:29 PM Thread Starter
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sorry I left out so much :[
Age: about 15. Not too old, but he's getting up there.
The barn has occasional vet check-ups, and unfortunantly I couldn't make it out for mickies, but jodi (my trainer) said the vet said He was a normal wieght, he just is so lacking in muscle you can count his ribs. They had to tranqulize him for the farrier, he's that bad.
He's been turned out in the pasture for the last couple of month's, even before I bought him because I mowed a pasture that was previously un-horseable, and with alot of help got it refenced with electrobrand, so that's where he's been. He's gained mostly just enough wieght to be walking in the arena.

Thanks so much for the help :]
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post #5 of 40 Old 09-04-2010, 06:32 PM
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I'm confused. If you can count his ribs then he's not at the right weight.

Unless it weighs a ton... it's just a horse. Draft horse motto.
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post #6 of 40 Old 09-04-2010, 06:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Solon View Post
I'm confused. If you can count his ribs then he's not at the right weight.
Agreed. Muscle won't do much to cover ribs, even if he's the Arnold Schwarzenegger of horses. Can you estimate his body condition score??

http://www.thehorse.com/pdf/nutrition/bcs-poster.pdf

A stubborn horse walks behind you, an impatient one in front of you, but a noble companion walks beside you ~ Unknown
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post #7 of 40 Old 09-04-2010, 06:48 PM Thread Starter
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ack. Everything I say comes out wrong. He IS ribby, but that dosn't mean he is grossly underwieght. Yes, he is underwieght, but under the influence of my vet, I've been working on muscel more then wieght.
He has been on two scoops of safechoice for the last two and a half months, and he's been out in the pasture full time. Its just everywhere he needs muscle, it just caves in.
Yes, I've talked to my vet about his wieght. He says the only thin gI need to be working on for right now is his muscle build up. He didn't speicify how.
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post #8 of 40 Old 09-04-2010, 07:21 PM
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I don't know. Seems like you should get weight on him and then work on condition.

Unless it weighs a ton... it's just a horse. Draft horse motto.
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post #9 of 40 Old 09-04-2010, 09:31 PM
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I'm perplexed that a boarding stable owner would allow a horse to get in this condition. I know that it wasn't their horse, but I couldn't stand to see a horse that got in such horrible condition he couldn't *walk* around the arena without tiring out. This sounds much worse than just being under conditioned. Was he kept in a stall all this time?? If so, that seems soooo CRUEL to me.

I would worry about fattening him up a little first. Empower is a fantastic fat supplement that will yield results almost immediately! Not overly expensive, either.

But are you sure there isn't something more significantly wrong with him if he can't even be lunged around at a walk?? That sounds much, much worse than a horse who just hasn't been exercised. Sounds like he was confined in a small space to the point his muscles have begun to atrophy...and like I said...had I been the barn owner, I'd never have allowed this to happen. Ever. I wouldn't care if it wasn't my horse.

That being said, get the recommendations of a good vet. Have some blood work done. Take it slow and easy, but work with him every day.
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post #10 of 40 Old 09-04-2010, 10:21 PM
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I've heard a lot about adding beet pulp to help gain weight. I've never used it so maybe someone more knowledgeable could provide some better advice!

*Dreams are within reach, you just have to go that extra mile to catch them*
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