Glyder, How does he look?
So many of you know I received a horse for free basically dropped off at my house, he was beaten by his old trainer and the day I got him he was soaked, shivering and covered in mud, manure and yes, in some areas, blood. I could count 4 ribs clearly from 50ft away and close up I could see his backbone and shoulder blade. He was terrified and untrusting of people. He also had the worse case of Rain Rot I had seen. I wasn't told much about him and later found out he was a Registered Appy that was 10yrs old. I did some research and found more information about him and that's when I found out about him being beaten.
Anyways, I am going to post a before picture and after picture and I wanna know what you guys think I could work on next with him, health-wise and physically. I think he needs more muscles but how and where should I concentrate on?
Glyder October '09 - 2wks after getting him
Glyder May '10
So What do you think? Improvement or not? What do you think I need to work on now?
He looks probably a good weight, tho I know pics can be deceptive. For eg. that original pic of him shows probs, but he doesn't look overly thin.
As with when you got him, his topline is still very prominent, and the point of his hip/croup area is very point & angular. This could be an innate conformational thing, but it is often due to injury, may be treated with a good equine bodyworker or such. Looks like he has some muscle tone to his thighs, and the underside of his neck looks 'developed'<TIC> so it may be to do with the way he carries - or was made to carry - himself.
Ensure he has a well balanced diet - I subscribe to FeedXL.com & find it fantastic. Lacking certain nutrients or being fed incorrectly can cause a horse to lose/not develop muscle. Extra protein, in the form of alfalfa hay or such may also be a good idea, depending on what he's already getting.
His withers and Hips are very pointy and maybe that's muscle or where he needs more weight? His backbone use to show but that has since leveled up and is smooth. I think that's thanks to the grass. He gets 2 acres of grass, sharing with only a mini mare, and they always have a round bale out there to eat, though they seem to be ignoring it lately because of the grass :) But they do eat it on occasion. I haven't grained him because I am not home on a daily basis and have no one that can feed him when I'm not there. But I was thinking of putting him on the Strategy but like I said, he wouldn't get it on a daily basis, maybe 3 times a week. So I don't know if grain is a good idea.
I do ride him but haven't pushed faster than a trot yet because I am working on my own fear issues.
Also his neck seems funny to me, like the top part doesn't come to his body smoothly, but he has high withers and I don't know if thats conformation or underweight or under-muscled.
He just looks very under muscled to me....about the same weight as my TB cross...could use fifty pounds but wont die without it lol Just lacks the muscle my gelding has.
I would personally go ahead and start him on some grain...if he has open access to grass and hay 24/7 but still looks a smidge thin then a little grain would be ok. Its ok for him to not get it everyday. Many people only grain the days they ride. Also does he have access to a salt and mineral lick? If not getting one might also help his over all condition.
Past that he needs muscle...His neck is developed on the underside instead of the top and his top line and hind need some work...he looks good in the chest legs and shoulders to me as far as muscle.
You can work on muscle in these areas while trotting is the good news since that where your comfortable. Trotting him long and low will help form a good topline and hill work can help with the hind end...proper collection while long and low will also help with his neck...if he doesn't collect properly you may be able to help teach him by lunging him with a surcingle and bridle, I would advise getting someone who knows how to use one well to assist you at first though to ensure you do it right...that's about the best advice I have...honestly the neck is going to be your biggest obstacle... I have been working on my geldings neck...when all else fails getting them to flex and break at the pole can help with neck muscles and you can do a lot of flexing just from the ground.
Ask around and I'm sure someone else will have better advice...He does look much improved though. His spine isn't obvious anymore and it looks as though he has filled out just a bit all over. Good job!
Yeah I wish I had a hill to work him on though, lol. I live in an area that is flat with the biggest hill being the ditch by the road, which I am not sure how he is with traffic and have yet to get to find out. We have a quiet backroad behind our house and my boyfriend has a huge Dodge Ram that he did some work to, added duels. So the truck is loud, which most around here are. So I am thinking of walking Glyder through the field and having him drive by quiet at first and see how it goes then get progressively louder and drive by like normal at the end of it all. Just see if he is okay with it. My old horse didn't even mind the 18-wheelers but he would side step into the road, we don't have alot of room on either side of the road for some parts of the ride, maybe 6ft. Most people are nice and slow and move to the other lane but other lovely people feel the need to ROAR past, some managed to honk thier lovely little horns. So right now, there is no hill work and no roads lol. I will have to invest in a surcingle, right now we are doing alot of ground driving because his steering seems rusty.
He also gaps his mouth open with the bit in his mouth alot, actually almost constantly. He chomps on it, even got the sides of the bit in his mouth while lunging. Is the bit too loose? He use to hate them and wouldn't allow me to put it in but after winter with doing a lot of trust exercises he allows me to put it in with a little persuasion. I wish I had a video of him when I got him,he was so scared and just absolutely pitiful. Wouldn't get in the barn, just shivered with his head low and tail tucked. But now he walks in the barn and snorts like he's showing off what he did lol
Anyways, I'm getting off track. So a little grain every few days wouldn't hurt but how soon will it show results? Also I heard Strategy doesn't make them hot, any agree?
It sounds like he is expecting the bit to hurt. I assume you're using a snaffle? If so, he should have the "snaffle smile". There should be one or two wrinkles in the corner of his mouth.
Pidge is right about working him long and low. I did this with my gelding to strengthen his back, and it did build muscle over the back and hip.
It looks like you've made quite an improvement, especially when looking at the side of his hip. He appears to have filled in quite a bit. I suggest you grain him on days you work with him. Strategy works well, but be aware that some horses don't like it. I use oats, unless I have to give a supplement my horse doesn't like, then I'll use a little sweet feed.
Pidge also had a good point about the salt/mineral block. I always leave one where my horses can lick on it if they want to, and they usually do. If you buy one, just make SURE it's formulated for horses and not cows.
Keep up the good work.
Including obstacles - poles, small jumps, weaving between stuff, etc is helpful for building horses in absence of hills & hard work.
I would just like to say that I understand horse digestion. Grain is a very broadly used term in my area...it goes for anything you feed that isnt hay or grass... I personally do not feed actual grain. I prefer alfalfa pellets and im about to start a complete feed. Both of which are healthier for a horse and easier on digestion.
I also was not telling the OP to feed her horse large amounts of grain once every three days or anything like that. I said a 'little' grain every now and then can be ok if not done consistantly. If nothing else a fortified grain will help with vitamin and minerals even if not given consistantly...grain should never be givin in large amounts if given at all...the key word to what i was saying was LITTLE...I figured the OP was smart enough to know to look into what would be healthiest for her horse...esspecially when taking online advice. A small scoop of "grain" (using that as a general term for feed) on the days he is worked will not hurt him and just help replace calories burned.
Im highly offended that you would jump to conclusions and nail me as incompitent without thinking first. That is rather rude and inconsiderate.
Whats sad is you didnt take the time to think if there was a possibility I might have meant something slightly different. Where Im from grain is anything in a bag that gets fed to a horse. Learn your cultural differences before labling someone as uneducated please. I hope you remember this and do not insult anyone else.
But assuming that grain actually means grain seems like a pretty reasonable assumption to me, so if in your area grain means whatever you want it to, it would be more helpful to actually tell what feeds you're meaning when talking to people who are outside of that area. That way, misunderstandings & potentially damaging feed advice can be lessened.
As for the OP being 'smart enough' to look into it before taking advice online, yes, I too like to assume - or hope at least - people are generally rather 'smart'. But I don't think this necessarily has anything to do with intelligence and I find people frequently do just follow 'experts' or otherwise advice somewhat blindly, be they smart or otherwise. It seems that we are kind of conditioned to do this, tho the tide's slowly changing. That's the biggest thing for me, is trying to get people to think for themselves and really analyse the whys & wherefores.
Its understandable... many people do not know or understand what is best for their horses...I just like to think that not everyone is hopeless and tend to give the benefit of the doubt. I can see where I may have come across as uninformed, I have a terrible habit of using local terms online without thinking though I have improved somewhat :oops: lol...and im sorry for snapping back so quickly...yesterday was a rough day...though i know that isnt a very good excuse....but its true...so my apologies as well. :D
Now that its been settled here is my more properly typed feed advice:
You say you get out about three days a week...I personally think your best bet to help add calories and nutrients to help him build muscle and possibly weight would be a senior complete feed of sorts. Even if he isnt old this will help.
A senior complete feed is designed to be easily digestible and to take place of hay/grass and forage in general. Thus it wont hurt to give him a scoop on the days he is worked, if your worried about it upsetting his digestion Probiotics can assist with that.
Also on a side note...if you don't have hills to work on obsicles such as loosie described will also help.
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