The Weight Issue
   

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The Weight Issue

This is a discussion on The Weight Issue within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category
  • Equine training weights
  • Rough weight of my yearling

 
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    06-15-2010, 08:48 PM
  #1
Yearling
The Weight Issue

Hey all,

I'm fitting up an old horse (23) who hasn't been used in a few years. He's a 15.1HH registered Morgan gelding. He is perfectly sound but just FAT and lazy. I'll attach a picture of him. I am very aware he is overweight.. but I just got home from university so there isn't much I could do about it until now.

Two questions:
1. When he is fit, do you think my boyfriend could ride him? They would only be walking really, in my big field. My boyfriend is 6'4" and 220lbs.
2. What do you suggest for getting him fit? Hill work is not an option :( I'm guessing lots of trot work.

Here's my boy!


     
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    06-15-2010, 08:56 PM
  #2
Banned
I don't think your boyfriend will be able to comfortably ride him. My guess is his feet would either be dragging the ground, or his knees would be up by his ears in a saddle. He would most definitely need something taller and heartier, maybe a hefty 16.2 or 16.3 QH.

Walking is actually the best thing to lose weight with, trotting builds muscle. So yes, walk walk walk walk.
     
    06-15-2010, 09:16 PM
  #3
Green Broke
^
Only if the walk is active. A relaxed walk will do nothing, much like humans. And lots of trotting is just as good for losing weight, probably better. It will eventually build muscle, but that's what you want for the horse to safely carry weight.

Can he carry him? Definitely. It may not look pretty, but my sister's 6'2" boyfriend rides our 15hh Mustang/Appy cross and looks just fine on her. Most rodeo QH's are only in the 15hh range and are being ridden by large cowboys - heck, look at reining horses, they look downright silly sometimes with cowboy toes hanging almost to their knees!

If you're only worried about functionality, you have a big solid boy and you're only doing light rides. I wouldn't worry.
     
    06-15-2010, 09:29 PM
  #4
Green Broke
I agree with MM. My husband is 6'3" and over 200lbs and when he is on T doesn't really look bad at all.

If hill work isn't an option, how about trotting poles? I like mixing up walking and trotting with my horses, and I do have wonderful gradual hills to use, but if I didn't, I'd use trotting poles.
     
    06-15-2010, 09:34 PM
  #5
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Walkamile    
I agree with MM. My husband is 6'3" and over 200lbs and when he is on T doesn't really look bad at all.

If hill work isn't an option, how about trotting poles? I like mixing up walking and trotting with my horses, and I do have wonderful gradual hills to use, but if I didn't, I'd use trotting poles.
You guys are making me happy because I figured everyone was going to say NO NO NO! Never!

And I have been doing trotting poles with him, he actually took to it quite well. First time through he was sluggish, but when I picked up my hands and had him impulsed from behind he went through six more times absolutely wonderfully.
     
    06-15-2010, 11:02 PM
  #6
Green Broke
I am of a firm belief that 15hh of stocky horse is TECHNICALLY ok for everyone. Unless you're 7'0" tall, you're not going to look freakish unless it's a tiny little Arab. A 6'4" 200+ man is likely to like MORE silly on a slender 16.2hh TB then he's going to on a big solid 15hh QH. I look way better on Flika who's only 14hh but a Quarab then I do on my own 14.3hh Arab mare. It's not about height, it's about the overall size of the horse itself.

Here's some pics of Ren riding Dove - he's obviously nowhere near 200lbs, but he's also over 6'0" tall and looks completely normal on her!





     
    06-16-2010, 11:12 AM
  #7
Yearling
Thanks MM,
My boy is the DEFINITION of stocky. Being 23, he is old style Morgan through and through.
I'll post some pics I took of him today :)




Cody "taking him" for a walk..




And for reference, this is my boyfriend.
     
    06-16-2010, 05:12 PM
  #8
Started
Mac, You mention the height of your man, you don't mention anything about his riding ability - is he a novice? You'll need to get him to do some exercising to strengthen his centre core muscles find a Pilates instructor.

Your Morgan looks as though once he was a stout fellow but his belly has dropped and his back looks hollow. I'd have his back checked out by a horse chiropodist. I'd also be careful with the saddle - make sure it fits well.
Padding alone is not enough please check width and very importantly length.

Walking is excellent exercise to fitten a horse up - preferably on tarmac but then he would have to be shod. How are his feet? Make sure his feet are in good nick and start to apply hoof oil daily. Also check his teeth - if your man is a novice then rough inexpert hands might cause the bit to jar the teeth or what is left of them.

An older horse can make a good horse for a novice. But they also know the tricks. What is his temperament like?
You say lazy but if the Boy is unfit - what do you expect?

The best thing for him is regular exercise on a daily basis. At the beginning start in half hour stints and then build up to say 1 hour to an hour and a half.
But watch his back - feel it daily with your hands where the saddle fits and make sure the saddle has not rubbed. If it has, then stop the riding.

You'll know if the Boy is under stress when working - he'll sweat a lot and his breathing will be heavy. If his breathing gets harsh, then get off.

The real issue is your man. He must sit upright in the saddle and must not slump. Neither can he use the reins to balance himself. Walking him mounted on the horse in circles on a lunge line will both strengthen the horse and build your man's confidence. Fit a neck strap or shoelace for him to hold onto until he starts to get his balance.

Mac, you are playing with the horse's health in old age. If you do it right then fine but at the beginning take it slowly, otherwise you'll break the horse and you'll be upset about that, were it to happen. Just take it steadily and easily. As the horse gets fitter he might need some extra feed but give nothing which will heat him up. Check with the feed store.

If I had a 23 yo horse that looked like your Boy, then I would be chuffed. Take care of him.

B G
     
    06-16-2010, 07:40 PM
  #9
Yearling
Hey Barry, I'm so happy you replied. I am being vague. Let me tell you more.

My boyfriend would be a novice ON a horse, but definitely not around them - he is quite capable of handling both my boys and understands that they are handled easily and naturally and that they both despise a rough hand. His core is relatively strong since he has a somewhat bad back (at age 19!) and must keep good posture or else face the consequences.

My boy's belly has dropped - we have no chiropractor here (I had my jumper seen by one 4 years ago that the local harness racing set flew in from Hollywood!) but the vet says just to watch his back, and the vet will regularly check him. Right now I am only riding him bareback, one because I hate western saddles and find they don't give me enough contact, two because I like the feeling of having loose limber legs after riding in my CC jumping saddle, and three because I'd question the fit of either of his western saddles.

Riding him on tarmac is not an option, besides the busy highway. He had bad feet at one time (a laminitis case) but my expert farrier (whom you can find more about here has given him the clean bill of health. My vet has also looked at his teeth, and besides usual gelding tartar, he is in good condition.

His temperament is second to none - but he does know one trick. When you ride him, he will circle the ring once or twice, then turn his head to the side and yawn and sigh like he is just completely exhausted. He has done this in the prime of shape and in the worst of shape, the dirty trickster.

Right now I am working him at about 40 minutes, mostly walk, save for 3 laps of the ring both ways at a steady trot :)

Quote:
Mac, you are playing with the horse's health in old age. If you do it right then fine but at the beginning take it slowly, otherwise you'll break the horse and you'll be upset about that, were it to happen. Just take it steadily and easily. As the horse gets fitter he might need some extra feed but give nothing which will heat him up. Check with the feed store.
I quite intend to do this correctly and consult completely with the opinions of this forum as well as the opinions of my vet and farrier. The last thing I want to do is harm this old boy in any way, as he is my pride & joy. Neither my boyfriend nor I have any intention of getting out of a walk, my real intention is to share such a huge part of my life with him. If he wants to do it at a walk or if he wants to do it at a halt, either is fine with me. There is something about being on a horse that you cannot replicate in any other way that I'd like for him to experience :)
     
    06-17-2010, 06:36 AM
  #10
Started
It sounds as though you know the risks.

Yes, the English saddle gives more feel, but the Western is easier for a novice to sit. It is extremely important that the English saddle fits properly but then you might have to buy new.

Think about a Mclellan Military saddle which is placed over a very thick woollen horseblanket. They still make them new in Sth AFrica but a good condition second hand one will also work - it is little more than a padded saddle tree. Your Man can ride English on one of those but his butt will have to harden up.

Enjoy and good luck with your project.
Barry
     

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