Strength Training 3yr old TB
Hey all, back in October I bought young TB mare. I've had my Arabian for over 10 years now and have been riding/working with horses of all experience levels for about 14 years so I feel ready to start my own at this point. The mare I got is fantastic. You couldn't ask for a better study. She smart and agreeable and trusting, but we've hit a wall now...
When I bought her she was a perfectly healthy 2 1/2 year old (she's 3 by the registry standards now but her real bday is feb 23rd). However I got her from a woman who was going bankrupt and selling off her herd of 40 head because she couldnt afford them and recently found out that she may not have been wormed at all in her life. At first she was the picture of health, surprisingly good looking for a 2 year old, but she started to loose weight quickly. We went about the normal procedure, double worming her and adding beet pulp and a weight supplement (proven to work with fickle TBs) to her already generous load of grain and hay (plus relatively lush fields for a PA fall). Mid November, four things seemed to happened simultaneously: 1. She started a growth spurt 2. She (and most every other horse in the county) got a TERRIBLE bout of rain rot 3. She got an upper respiratory infection. 4. It got cold, REALLY cold. (triggering her to grow the wooliest coat I've ever seen, even with a thick blanket) She lost a lot of weight, really fast, and her immune system had gone to hell. With help from the vet, my barn manager and solid ran rot home remedies (hibiclens and Listerine is a GOD SEND) she's now much healthier and putting the weight back on steadily (yes, it really did take almost a month and a half to get this under control) However she's horribly out of shape. I don't want to push her, I'm still trying to get her to actively gain weight, but I want to start building up her physical strength again too. She has a solid walk, trot, whoa and back under saddle but i've been doing lots of ground work (long lining, free lounging mainly at walk and trot) with SHORT and easy rides interspersed to bring her back into shape. Anyone have any suggestions for getting her to continue to gain weight but also increase her muscle strength and bring her back into shape?
please help guys, I think this post may have slid through the cracks, so BUMP
Thoroughbreds are probably the hardest creatures to keep. i know mine's weight bounces all over the place. She was fat a month ago and is now showing ribs. But you shouldn't be in a great hurry with her if she is only 3. Lunging with side reins is a great tool for horses to build a topline and create ballence. Also this saves you the fight of getting her in the proper position. Lunging for like 10-15 minutes then getting on her for a light hack is a good start point. The lunging chills them out so you can ride more effectivly. As for the food, rice bran is good, it has a high fat content and horses love it. Stay away from things containing corn. Corn products can make a horse have way too much energy, especially with a young TB, too much energy can turn very rotten. But lunging is your best friend, i highly reccomend it for all young horses. If you could get the pessoa lunge system it helps even more. This uses a line under their rump to encourage the hind end to push under, making the horse ballenced. As for ballencing weight and work. Increase work slowly. As time goes on and she matures, she will be able to go for longer. But with a TB mare be patient and slow with training, but don't give up. im sure she will turn out to be a very nice horse. Things do get easier as time goes on. Good luck. If you have more questions please ask. I was once in your same boat with my mare.
Walk walk and more walk. Slow and steady wins the race. On a horse you are trying to maintain/gain weight on, work them til they are warm but not damp.
Walking builds muscle, trotting builds balance, cantering builds stamina. Let her get that muscle back and work in some trotting.
I know all about how rough PA winters are on the hard keepers. Slow, steady work and endless forage will keep her weight up. Good luck!
thanks guys! I appreciate any and all feedback, I will definitely continue to long line and lunge as a majority of her exercise and work short rides 80-90% at the walk until she is getting stronger.
@Equestrian-- when I got a young TB I was expecting flighty, nervous, and all together...a time bomb lol...but what I got instead was LITERALLY the most sane animal I have ever worked with. My 14 year old arabian mare will still spook a little at new stuff, meanwhile I've exposed my TB to anything and everything I can think of (motorcycles, tarps, power tools, dogs, big rig trucks with air brakes, screaming children...)and she just watches with little interest. Sometimes, she's almost boring to me haha but I have to say, she's amazingly intelligent and strives to please, two things I don't usually associate with young TBs but as it stands, she's still no easy keeper, true to her breed in that aspect.
As her health improves and she gets stronger, believe me, she will "perk up" significantly. you may even long for that "boring" mare again!:-P I agree with the walk, walk, walk advice. Lots of circles, up hills, figure eights. Lots of praise every time she does something right. My OTTB was exactly like yours, he lost weight immediately and it took a while to figure out how to keep it on. Then we decided to assume he has gastric ulcers, which was making him finicky. Since adding UGUARD pellets to his feed 2x per day, he has gained a lot of weight and kept it on. He enjoys eating more. His coat improved too.
My TB also had rain rot in the last couple months! Only on his cannon bones of his back legs. I found something called "Muck Itch" which cleared it up. First I scrubbed his legs with betadine and dried them. Then I sprayed the muck itch and massaged it into his legs. It has tea tree oil which helps the skin a lot. I have also found MTG to work well.
Just keep trying things with your TB and eventually you will get the right combo. And dont let that seemingly disinterested appearance fool you! ha ha
I agree with the lots of walking, walk for 10-15 minutes, doing circles and changes of direction, etc, so she stays interested, then start increasing the walking time, and add a little trot here and there as she seems fitter, add 5 minutes and increase. Free lunging, if you have the facilities can help, I wouldn't add side reins until she has some muscle already, they are a lot of work for an unfit horse. There are some good supplements that help with weight gain, they are all fat and not a lot of protein, so you don't get a fiesty tb! Good luck!
In terms of supplements, I recommend adding FAT CAT to her diet. My OTTB gained weight, didnt get "hot", and it made his coat shine. His hooves also improved. Its a powder
I have a young OTTB mare too (she's 5) and she recently lost a ton of weight too, mainly from cold and stall rest. I tried Weight Builder on her, it put on a bit of weight, but not near as much as I wanted. So I'm going to try out beet pulp to see if that works better. Thank goodness she eats anything put in her bucket! These are great tips though, I'm so glad I found this thread! Especially the tips about walk work, I think I work my horse wayyy too hard.
I have a 3yo TB also...
My Tb is also a hard keeper. At 17 hands he eats sooo much and because of that he is sort of a monster when not worked. Hang in there. I am not sure what the selenium levels are where you live but if they are low you can give them a selenium shot or feed it in a daily supplement. My mare looked terrible last year before I gave her some You could be amazed at the difference.
Check teeth, and check for Ulcers. Another thing you can do is give them a round of bio sponge
Hang in there, my TB looked terrible in his 2 yo year. He is way better now he ping ponged back and forth for about 2 years.
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