what to do with a mini in poor shape. - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 03-17-2014, 11:37 AM Thread Starter
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what to do with a mini in poor shape.

We have a 3yo mini who we bough in fairly rough condition, the winter was not good to him. he is gentle as can be, but he is a little out of our realm. obviously with a bigger horse we would ride/pony it to work it out, or we would road it behingsd the UTV. What is the best way to put one of these guys into good working shape. we just bought a harness and will be picking up a cart soon. We have essentially just kind of turned hm out and he is hanging out in the barn with our LGD but he seems very lathargic to me.

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post #2 of 12 Old 03-17-2014, 11:48 AM
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So what do you mean by in bad shape? Training wise? Too fat? Too thin? I originally thought you meant he was too thin, which is worrisome in a mini since they're usually air ferns. If he's too thin you don't want to be working him yet. If he's too fat, ponying him behind a quiet horse will be fine but be aware of his physical shape and know that his strides will be much smaller than your horse's.

If he's too thin, try giving him ad lib grass hay for a while. He can have some rice bran (2 cups or so) or wet alfalfa pellets (1 lb) daily if you think he needs something extra. Too fat, pull him off any pasture and cut down his hay.

If he's lethargic, have the vet run a blood test on him. He could be anemic, low on magnesium, or deficient in just about anything else and you'll need to supplement him.

Once he is at a better weight if he's too thin now, you can start ground driving, long lining, and/or lunging him in a 25'+ circle to get him in shape. Don't do too much lunging though as it is hard on their joints.
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post #3 of 12 Old 03-17-2014, 01:44 PM
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post #4 of 12 Old 03-17-2014, 03:04 PM
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I'm also concerned as to why you would want to work a horse in such bad condition it's lethargic.. I'm under the impression the horse is thin? Let him stand around and get fat. Hay, maybe a handful of alfalfa, if you need it grain, but probably not. They are pretty easy keepers, it's a little worrisome that he's in such bad shape already...they get fat on pretty close to nothing.
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post #5 of 12 Old 03-18-2014, 08:26 AM Thread Starter
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Im not overly concerned with working him, as far as putting him to work goes. I am more concerned with working him to help build up some lost muscle. He has basically had free choice hay (more than he could ever eat) for the last couple of weeks. Lathargic might have been the wrong word. Lazy and unmotivated would be more accurate. He has slowly but surely been putting on weight and getting limbered up, but no one has ever done anything with him. we have had him a little over a year, we have led him around he does great in hand, but I don't feel like we are giving him enough opportunity to build muscle and, left to his own devices he will stand and munch on hay to his hearts content and not get out and move much. I started him on a small amount of grain, and alfalfa pellets last night as well as the hay. Im just curiouse what types of things I should be thinking ahead to, to help him put that muscle back on.

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post #6 of 12 Old 03-18-2014, 08:27 AM Thread Starter
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Saddlebag, My photobucket acct has all but quit working and I have no Idea how else to post pics here.

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post #7 of 12 Old 03-18-2014, 11:47 AM
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I upload them to imgur and copy/paste.

Careful about giving him too much too soon, chances are he won't need that much. A lot of mini's do nothing but stand around and eat. You could do ground work, light lunging, set up jumps and stuff, take him for walks/jogs, teach him to drive. I wouldn't do anything except maybe a short walk until he's up to weight though.
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post #8 of 12 Old 03-27-2014, 09:09 AM
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If you truly want to rebuild muscle you are likely to have to exercise him in some way. Could you lunge him? But, wait, I do want to see what you are seeing, before I say I'd try that. Also, I would totally do a major physical with the vet. You could be missing something.
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post #9 of 12 Old 03-27-2014, 11:24 AM
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Make sure his teeth are looking good and he is up to date on his float. Make sure he's been wormed well as well.

Once you get those out of the way, make sure he has plenty of hay. You really shouldn't need grain for a mini - even putting weight on them. But do make sure he has a good mineral/vitamin supplement.

Once his weight is where it should be then you can start ground work with him. Lunging, ground driving, etc. are all great ways to work a mini befor they are ready for the cart.

All I pay my psychiatrist is cost of feed and hay, and he'll listen to me any day!

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post #10 of 12 Old 03-27-2014, 11:47 AM Thread Starter
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OK. We got his feet trimmed the other day and that seems to have helped him getting around, In addition, he has been given free choice hay as well as when we are home he is allowed to roam the yard and do as he pleases. This has allowed him to put some weight back on. I imagine he will be going to the vet. He has an odd stiffness in his right hip, that causes him to move in a stiff awkward manner.

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