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Shattered Dreams 08-15-2009 01:14 PM

My baby girl is fading away before me..
I have a pony who has just had her 25th birthday. She has always been a very well built horse and perhaps a little over weight but not in a dangerous way. She was born to jump and was still winning competitions about a year and a half ago.
Since I retired her she has lost her spark, she used to lead the heard and now she walks alone. It almost seems like she has lost her will to live. I still take her for a walk with a halter around the block, just leading her but that doesn't help much.
Recently she has lost a lot of weight in a short amount of time. We thought it was worms but she is still loosing even after we de-wormed her. All her muscle is completly gone and it looks like we dont feed her. I am petrified to take her out for her walks now because I'm scared she wont be able to support herself.:cry:
This pony means the world to me and I've been through a lot with her.
Please tell me how I can help her get back all that weight. I'm starting her on Barley tomorrow but any other ideas would be great!

RescueMe 08-15-2009 01:22 PM

Hi -
The very first thing I would do is get the vet to pull a CBC on your pony. You need to rule out any illness related issues first. I have had MANY older and retired horses and blood-work will tell you alot about whats going on inside the horse. A clean bill of health is the place to start - lots of things can be going on inside the older horse that have nothing to do with your good care of her - Good Luck and do keep us posted on how things are going
My heart is with you !

leapoffaithfarm 08-15-2009 02:18 PM

My daughters 33 year old was going down hill and was looking like she was ready to give up when we retired her. We had the vet out and medically there was nothing wrong. Grasping at straws we loaded her up and took her to a show with my daughters other show horse. Chrissy took her in one Walk/Trot class and it seemed to put that spark back in her life. Now we haul her to shows every now and then and show her in Walk/Trot - Jog. And now she is going to get used for beginner polocrosse. I think that with our old mare all she needed was her job back. I hope that your horse is feeling better and my prayers are with you.

riccil0ve 08-16-2009 11:52 AM

I agree with leapoffaithfarm. Maybe she simply wasn't ready to retire. She will need to gain some weight first before you start working with her again, obviously. It probably would be beneficial to bring her back into some light work, but enough work to make her feel like she has purpose in life. I'd definitely run this by a vet first though, because there could be something going on internally.

That being said, my mare is 17, and she gets pretty depressed if I don't ride her for a significant amount of time. So I don't plan on retiring her until she tells me she is ready. I'll simply lighten the work load as she ages.

Shattered Dreams 08-16-2009 12:50 PM

I would love to continue to work her, that why she only retired last year because she has a fractured splint bone. She had 2 years off and she was ruled fit to ride and thats when i carried on competing, but last year during inter regionals she broke down and completly rufused to jump or even just walk forward for the first time ever. We have since got the vet out and he said that it's enough and I decided along with him that it would be unfair to carry on riding. Since that day that i retired her her leg has got worse and worse and if we luckly, we can do a light hack once every 2 months. It would be a dream come true to ride her again, but it's not possible:(

Domino13011 08-16-2009 01:04 PM

Sounds like she lives to jump. Im sorry :(

Ryle 08-16-2009 01:31 PM

Ok, a vet exam is definitely warranted. Rather than just a CBC though you should have blood pulled for a resting serum insulin to help screen for metabolic diseases which are more common in senior horses. A dental exam is also a really good idea.

You also need to look at exactly what you are feeding. Senior horses' digestive tracts become less efficient with age and they simply can't make as good a use of feeds. It would be a good idea to go ahead and put her on a complete senior feed such as equine senior and feed it according to the label as though she was getting no other feed/forage. This will ensure that she is getting her nutritional requirements met irregardless of any dental issues. You can also add a bit of vegetable oil or other fat supplement for added easily digestible calories. I have maintained my senior horse this way and we have seen this work well for senior patients at the equine hospital.

Shattered Dreams 09-03-2009 05:43 AM

Hey everyone, Thank you all so much for the advice. She is already looking much better and behaving like her awsome, stubborn self.;) Its like she has a piece of her spark back:D Hope you all have a great day:)

charlene1985 09-03-2009 08:39 AM

I am personally a fan of rice bran oil being added to the food for an older horse. It helps with that little push that a lot of them need. We have a 36 year old mare who we started on it about 2 weeks ago (along with her 2X's a day feeding of course) and have noticed a dramatic change in her personality. And we believe she is starting to put on some weight. A gallon of it runs about $26 but you only need to feed 6-8 oz per day so it lasts almost 3 weeks. Its also good for horses that in their old age cant eat as much without getting full. And if you just want to try it, most grocery stores carry it in smaller containers. Good luck with your aged pony, its hard to watch your loyal spunky friend start to lose their spark. Also if it gives you some hope on the situation we had our pony until he was 43 (he was retired the last 6 years or so) but we just put him down last fall. so hopefully you have at least 10-15 more years with urs.

NorthernMama 09-03-2009 09:51 PM


Originally Posted by Shattered Dreams (Post 394409)
Hey everyone, Thank you all so much for the advice. She is already looking much better and behaving like her awsome, stubborn self.;) Its like she has a piece of her spark back:D Hope you all have a great day:)

So what did you do? What helped her?

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