I've been trying to get Berdi to lose weight as she is fairly heavy. She's a QH and according to the bodyscoring she is a 4.5 on the 0-5 scale. So she's chubby. I've been working her as much as possible but with working 3-4 days a week plus everything else I don't get as much time as I would like to ride her. I do try to at least lunge her every day.
I got her a grazing muzzle and she's doing well with that. And I'm stalling her at night. I don't want her going all night without something to eat so I'm wondering how much you think she should have. Is 1 flake enough or should I be giving more? I just put it in her slowfeeder so she would have stuff to munch on all night, she just wouldn't be given a lot. What do you guys think?
If I were you I would be giving her as much hay as she will eat - BUT - I would be soaking it first to get rid of as much sugar as you can.
Soaked hay will supply less sugar than grass, and the gut will be healthier - it is meant to have low quality forage moving through constantly.
Its hard to say if that will be enough because flake sizes differ depending on the bales size and how tightly they are packed. It is best to feed by weight rather than volume.
The best way to do it is figure out the weight you want your pony to be at. Then take that weight and figure out what 1-1.5% of that would be and you have your range of the proper amount of hay to feed per day. Then take that and divide it into 2 or more feedings (more the better). For example - if the horse's ideal weight is 1000 lbs, then that would be 10-15 lbs of hay. 10 would be the absolute minimum for gut health, so its best to feed a bit more than that and 15 would be the maintenance amount for your average horse of that size. A 800 lb horse would be 8-12 lbs per day.
Try to find low-glycemic hay as well, its better than the higher sugar stuff. If you are not sure what level your hay is at and can't test it - then soak it for an hour before feeding to take off the extra sugars.
Unfortunately I do not know how much grass they get using the grazing muzzle. I would assume that depends on how lush and long your pasture's grass is. If it was my horse and they were off pasture all night - I would take the formula above and feed 50% of the calculated amount. So for a 800 lb horse I would feed 4-6 lbs of soaked hay for the overnight feeding and then adjust it from there depending on how they do.
Thank-you so much for the advice! I will weigh the hay so I know how much to feed her. I'll soak it too. I'm sure with exercising her she'll do better too. When I got her she hadn't been ridden for about a year. She's around 1,282 lbs now so I'm hoping to get her to lose some weight. About a 1000lbs sounds right?
Edit: Also our pasture is very long and lush. That is part of why I'm using the muzzle and stalling her at nights.
A muzzle is a good idea. I had a fat quarter horse and because of school, i had to have someone ride him for me. Dieting is good and will help a lot, but I think that exercise is the best sure fire way to lose weight. it's the same with humans. my fat quarter horse was on an intense work out program and he is now a very pristine athlete. exercising is harder work, but it really pays off and has quicker and better results. maybe you have someone who can ride her. if not then i would stick to a strict diet and keep exercising her as much as your schedule would allow you to. good luck =)
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